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A major gift for the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium from Helen and Paul Baszucki

Dec 2, 2021 | Featured

New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

On November 30, the Temerty Foundation announced a gift of USD 700,000 from Helen and Paul Baszucki to support the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC) in promoting awareness of the 1932-33 Famine in Ukraine known as the Holodomor.

During the Holodomor, the Soviet Union intentionally caused the death by starvation of millions of Ukrainians while denying that people were dying of hunger. For more than 50 years, until its demise, the Soviet Union would deny that the Holodomor had taken place.

HREC was founded in 2013 by the Temerty Foundation as a project of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, with the aim of fostering research, teaching, and knowledge of the Holodomor.

With offices in Toronto and Edmonton, HREC has over the last eight years advanced the field of Holodomor studies through a range of programming, including grants to researchers and a publishing program. HREC’s education program works to ensure that the Holodomor is taught in schools through initiatives that include the development of teaching materials and training of educators. HREC works closely with the organization HREC in Ukraine, which is led by Liudmyla Hrynevych and which was also established through funding from the Temerty Foundation.

The gift from the Baszuckis will allow HREC to expand current outreach efforts, including the development of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free courses available to the general public online. According to HREC, the online course on the Holodomor will take about a year to develop. The University of Alberta offers online courses through a partnership with Coursera, the largest of the MOOC providers, offering more than 5,000 courses.

With the additional funding, HREC will be able to increase engagement with influencers, including through co-organization of international conferences in partnership with Cambridge University in the UK and Columbia University in New York City.

HREC will expand its support to students and young scholars to ensure they are prepared to further develop the field of Holodomor studies. HREC support will include research grants and stipends that cover costs of organizing and attending workshops and conferences.

The gift from the Baszuckis will also be used to make hundreds of testimonies of Holodomor survivors and witnesses accessible and searchable so that academics, students and the community can make use of these materials. Similar databases exist for other genocides, such as the Shoah Foundation collection of Holocaust survivor interviews.

Helen and Paul Baszucki’s ancestors immigrated to Canada from Western Ukraine in the early 20th century. Many of the family were farmers who homesteaded the land in Saskatchewan. Helen and Paul met at the University of Saskatchewan before moving to Eastern Canada and to the Chicago area in 1969. The family resided for more than 30 years In Minnesota, where Paul was CEO of a telecommunications company. Most of the family today resides in California.

Reflecting on the gift, Paul Baszucki said, “The Baszucki family is proud to support the work of HREC. It is our hope that by promoting greater understanding and public awareness of this genocidal famine, we can ensure that the history is widely known and help prevent future genocides.”

The Temerty Foundation, founded in 1997 by James and Louise Temerty, has a long history of support to healthcare, education, culture and interfaith dialogue.

“We are delighted to be joined by the Baszucki family in supporting HREC and in ensuring the widest possible awareness of the Holodomor and the lessons it can teach us,” said James Temerty.

“We at HREC are grateful to the Baszucki and Temerty families for their recognition of the work of HREC and their commitment to achieving Holodomor awareness. It is vitally important that we share the legacy of the Holodomor, particularly as we approach 2023, the 90th anniversary year of the Famine, when people the world over will commemorate the victims of this crime,” said Frank Sysyn, academic advisor to HREC.

With files from HREC

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