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Hayduk, Fedyna honored with President’s Award at Kyiv Konnection

Jun 3, 2024 | Featured, Community

Left to Right: Larisa Hayduk, Dr. Olenka Bilash, Ivan Fedyna. Photo: Nestor Makuch

NP-UN Western Bureau.

Two Ukrainian community activists were honored with the President’s Award at the 2024 Kyiv Konnection Banquet held at St. John’s Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Edmonton, May 14.

Dr. Olenka Bilash, President of the Ukrainian Foundation for College Education (UFCE), which is the beneficiary of this fundraising event, presented the awards to Ivan Fedyna and Larisa Hayduk.

Fedyna is the President and chorister of the Kappella Kyrie Chamber Choir under the direction of Dr. Melanie Turgeon of Kings University. He is also a chorister with the Edmonton Opera Chorus, Verkhovyna Song and Dance Ensemble and the St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral church choir under the direction of Denise Lucyshyn.

Fedyna has served as Past President and Past Vice-President of the Board of Directors for the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex (UYUC) in which he oversaw seven additional internal executive organizations including a youth group, a performance song/dance group, a dance school and community action groups.

Ivan’s additional past community roles include: Vice President of the Ukrainian Youth Association, Fundraising Chairperson for the Verkhovyna Song and Dance Ensemble, Parish Council Director for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church (Calgary) and Treasurer for the Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble (Calgary).

Since joining the Board of UFCE in 2021, he has served on the Finance Committee, the Golf Tournament Organizing Committee and represented UFCE on the Search and Selection Committee for the inaugural Eugene Zwozdesky Artist in Residence Program and for its second year as well. In this capacity he reviewed dozens of applications for these prestigious positions and adjudicated each according to criteria that reflect work in the academy and university.

Hayduk is the Director of the Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre (URDC) at Grant MacEwan University (GMU). Since assuming that position in 2015 she has cultivated relationships in arts, science, nursing, business, and fine arts, collaborated with the Kule Folklore Centre and Ukrainian Language Education Centre at the University of Alberta, with indigenous scholars around Alberta, and with many Ukrainian organizations including CUF, AFUES, the Ukrainian Commemorative Society and ACUA, to name a few. She has mentored the new Chair of International Health and Kule Chair of Ukrainian and International Community Development, championed projects such as the award-winning model United Nations, the Gene Zwozdesky Artist in Residence Program, the provision of ESL classes for recent evacuees, the exchanges with Ternopil National Medical University, the building of indigenous-Ukrainian relationships.

Hayduk has overseen the development of two video film projects as contributions to the local narratives project, including one on Dr. Roman Petryshyn and another on Canadian author Myrna Kostash….and many more significant contributions.

Originally from Ukraine, a former English language teacher, Larisa completed a Master’s degree at the University of Alberta with an award winning paper about the intercultural competency Canadian high school students acquired during an exchange program in Ukraine in 2014. and for her decades of innovative initiatives, received the Alberta Newcomer Recognition Award in the Newcomer Champion Award category from the Province of Alberta in 2023 as well as the EMCN RISE community Champion award in 2023.
Bringing greetings from GMU Dr. Melike Schalomon, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, noted that UFCE’s impact has incredible reach “in Edmonton, in this province and in Ukraine”.

“The five endowments at MacEwan University totalling more than $10 million make this work possible.

“Since its inception in 1994, UFCE and MacEwan have cultivated a unique and deep relationship, most notably through funds directed to the Ukrainian Resource Development Centre, or URDC, which supports students, scholars and the community in numerous ways:

“• UFCE supports many generous scholarships and awards – for projects with a Ukrainian focus – and grants that support academics from MacEwan’s partner universities in Ukraine, providing significant support so that students and scholars can have fewer financial worries while they study and do research,

“• UFCE supports academic initiatives (many of which I see happening in my own faculty) like the award-winning Canada-Ukraine Model UN Project, which brings together students from Ukraine and MacEwan to participate in Model UN activities

“• UFCE supports specific courses, such as those with Dr. Michael Gulayets – who, along with students, just returned from Poland and a sociological field school trip connecting MacEwan and Ukrainian students to study social issues relevant to them both – an incredible opportunity for each to share and contrast their individual perspectives,

“• UFCE supports scholars – including local scholars and those visiting from Ukraine, allowing them to undertake critical research, including work being done by professor Dr. Elizabeth Burgess-Pinto, who is the Chair for International Health, and Dr. Jeff Stepnisky, who is Kule Chair of Ukrainian Community and International Development,” she stated.

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