About CUSP

Contemporary Ukraine has been a focus of the research done by the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) since its very beginnings over 40 years ago. Socio-economic topics as well as the dissident movement, Ukraine's relationships with its neighbors, and religion and church in Soviet Ukraine were explored in depth by Bohdan Krawchenko, Peter Potichnyj, and Bohdan Bociurkiw. Meanwhile, a newer generation of scholars-David Marples, John-Paul Himka, Serhii Plokhii (publ. as Plokhy), and Serge Cipko-studied issues in contemporary politics, historical memory and policy, Ukrainian-Russian relations, and Ukrainian regionalism. Later, under the leadership of Zenon Kohut, CIUS played an important role in developing Ukrainian-Canadian relations and promoting academic studies in post-Soviet Ukraine.

Today, Ukrainian studies are established in the Western academe, with a strong reputation. The subject of Ukraine attracts many scholars dealing with issues of nationalism, post-Soviet transformation, Ukrainian-Russian relations, and the geopolitical role of Ukraine in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. The dramatic events surrounding the Russian annexation of Crimea and the current "hybrid war" in the Donbas contributed enormously to the growing interest in Ukrainian studies all over the world. And each step of the way, CIUS has adjusted its research priorities in order to meet new challenges.

The Contemporary Ukraine Studies Program (CUSP) was established by Volodymyr Kravchenko in 2012, when during his tenure as CIUS Director the institute underwent an administrative reorganization and updated its research agenda. The well-known scholars Bohdan Harasymiw and Taras Kuzio were invited to join CIUS, and in 2013-17 both of them contributed substantially to the identification of new directions and topics on contemporary Ukraine. From CIUS's Stasiuk Family Endowment Fund, the Stasiuk Research Fellowship was established in order to support the institute's new research agenda. To date, three post-doctoral fellowships have been offered to young scholars, Oksana Udovyk, Ivan Kozachenko, and Alex Melnyk. And thanks to the Michael and Daria Kowalsky Endowment Fund, the coordinator of the Kowalsky Program for the Study of Eastern Ukraine, based at the Karazin National University in Kharkiv and headed by Volodymyr Kulikov, has also contributed to the research and publishing on topics of contemporary Ukraine.

During the last six years, CIUS organized various international conferences, symposia, and round table events, including: the CIUS Fortieth Anniversary Conference "Ukrainian Studies in Canada: Texts and Contexts" (15-16 October 2016); a symposium dedicated to the first anniversary of the Euromaidan Revolution in Ukraine (9‒11 March 2015); the conference "Negotiating Borders: Comparing the Experience of Canada, Europe, and Ukraine" (15-16 October 2014); a round table on "Ukraine, Russia, and the West: On the Brink of War" (5 March 2014); the conference "Ukraine within Europe: Opportunities and Obstacles" (3-4 October 2013), held in collaboration with Grant MacEwan University; and a one-day forum, "Trafficking of Women in Ukraine: Governmental and Nongovernmental Responses" (22 March 2013).We are convinced that contemporary Ukraine studies at CIUS cannot continue to make good progress unless several important factors are carefully taken into account, including shifting paradigms and institutional changes in the humanities and social sciences at Canadian, and especially Albertan, academic institutions, as well as the Ukrainian-Canadian community's wishes and expectations, post-Soviet transformation and modernization processes in Ukraine, and last but not least, CIUS's limited resources. In order to secure this continuity, CUSP will incorporate under its umbrella the legacy of previous programs focusing on contemporary Ukraine-the Stasiuk Program for the Study of Contemporary Ukraine and the Kowalsky Program for the Study of Eastern Ukraine.

CUSP will be successful only if it manages to find its own scholarly profile, become innovative and interdisciplinary, apply comparative approaches, and extensively use new information technologies. Likewise, this newly established program's limitations should be recognized, particularly as there are presently no endowments to provide dedicated funding for its activity. That is why fundraising and establishing special endowments dedicated to contemporary topics are of primary importance for CUSP's sustainability.

CUSP will further its partnerships with the global academe as well as Canadian and Ukrainian governments and civil society institutions, including policymakers, journalists, and experts. CUSP aspires to build a capable scholarly community that strives to develop contemporary Ukraine studies in the national Canadian and global intellectual contexts through cross-disciplinary and collaborative research, publishing, community involvement, and other project initiatives.CUSP shall support research in the humanities and social sciences, including sociology, political science, human geography, and cultural anthropology, working also within the broader comparative context of European, Eurasian, Slavic, and post-Soviet studies. In terms of chronology, for our purposes "Contemporary Ukraine" is understood to encompass the 20th century as well as the current one, as the legacy of the 20th century has an important impact on the present.

In the nearest future, CUSP will be developing contemporary Ukraine studies in three main signature areas:

  • Ukraine in the world (Ukrainian-Polish and Ukrainian-Russian relationships; the geopolitical situation in the Black Sea region; Ukrainian diasporas throughout the world);
  • "Uсraina post-Sovietica" (identity politics; civil society; multiculturalism; historical legacy and memory; socio-cultural dimensions of the post-Communist transformation; urban, regional, and border studies);
  • State-of-the-art Ukrainian studies (main accomplishments, trends, and development prospects in Canada, USA, Russia, and other countries).

Currently, the CUSP budget is based on the following CIUS endowments: the Dr. Jeanette Bayduza Endowment Fund; the John Kolasky Memorial Endowment Fund; the Michael and Daria Kowalsky Endowment Fund; the Stasiuk Family Endowment Fund. CUSP has engaged the intellectual forces of Dr. Volodymyr Kravchenko as director (part-time), Dr. Viktoriya Yakovlyeva as coordinator (part-time), Dr. Olga Plakhotnik as the Bayduza post-doctoral research fellow, and Oleksandr Pankieiev as Editor-in-Chief of Forum for Ukrainians Studies. The CUSP office is located at CIUS in Edmonton.


CUSP intends to build a portfolio of research and publishing projects within the signature areas, in line with the institute's priorities. To support its prioritized areas of research, CUSP administers a program of grants, scholarships, and awards, and organizes conferences, seminars, and guest speakers, as well as sponsors selected publications. Our long-range aim is to establish a Centre for Contemporary Ukraine Studies at CIUS.