A Changing of the Guard at CIUS

02 July 2020

Canada Day 2020 was marked by a landmark event in the history of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. On 1 July 2020, Dr. Natalia Khanenko-Friesen officially became the sixth Director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies and the first woman to hold the position since CIUS’s founding in 1976.  In preparation for assuming her new duties, Natalia began participating in CIUS management meetings as well as other institute and University of Alberta activities in the weeks following the April announcement of her appointment. With more than two dozen members of staff, contract workers, research associates, and unit heads to oversee, and a complicated budget to manage, the institute’s directorship poses both challenges and opportunities that Natalia is eager to embrace. She is currently in the process of moving with her family to Edmonton from Saskatoon, where she was teaching at the University of Saskatchewan.

Of course, 30 June was the last day of the three-year directorship of Jars Balan, who is returning full-time to his former position and passion as the Coordinator of the Peter and Doris Kule Ukrainian Canadian Studies Centre at CIUS. Natalia is already working remotely as the new Director, but as the hand-over is taking place in the unusual circumstances of the COVID pandemic,  Jars will still be available to deal with some of the day-to-day administrative minutiae during this immediate transition period and supporting Natalia once she arrives in Edmonton later this month.

In the meantime, the CIUS offices in both Edmonton and Toronto remain closed to the public, and with only limited access to staff, until further notice.

Finally, Jars is hoping in the fall to spend some vacation time with his wife Lesia at his Chateau in France, helping with the harvest and taking relaxation therapy in his wine cellars, which regrettably remain off-limits to the general public.