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Freedom Heart Ukraine

Mitacs Globalink intern from Ukraine participates in the ULEC project

Oct 1, 2019 | Featured

Ukrainian Language Education Centre, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Faculty of Arts.

From June to September 2019 ULEC hosted Nadiia Shapovalova, a student of the Oles Honchar National University in Dnipro city, as an intern sponsored by the Globalink Research Internship program run by the Canadian NGO Mitacs. For twenty years, this organization has been implementing educational and scientific research programs in Canada, in close cooperation with 70 universities, 6,000 companies, and the federal and provincial governments. The main objective of Mitacs Globalink is to build constructive partnerships that support industrial and social innovation both in Canada and abroad.

In 2017 Mitacs and the Ukrainian-Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko signed an agreement to strengthen scientific research links between Canada and Ukraine. This partnership has enabled postsecondary students from Ukraine to travel to Canada in order to work on projects under the supervision of Canadian faculty. This year, five such students came to the University of Alberta for internships. Shapovalova gained experience in reorganizing and cataloguing ULEC’s Ukrainian-language library, under the direction of the centre’s then director, Prof. Alla Nedashkivska (2013–19).

Prof. Nedashkivska provided further details about Shapovalova’s project:

– The ULEC library was founded back in the 1970s. For many years it received contributions from both public and private collections in New York, New Jersey, Toronto, and, of course, Edmonton. To date, our library has amassed nearly 8,000 publications and audiovisual materials, most of which are in the Ukrainian language. They include literature, criticism, and reference works, including textbooks for the humanities and the sciences. The collection also includes children’s books and periodicals, as well as DVDs with Ukrainian movies and foreign films with high-quality Ukrainian dubbing. Some of these materials are not to be found anywhere else in North America, and this makes our library unique! However, only a relatively small number of people know about it — U of A faculty in the area of Ukrainian studies and teachers in the Ukrainian bilingual and Saturday heritage language school programs. Therefore, we set ourselves the goal of making our materials accessible to a broader circle of users. We planned to integrate the ULEC catalogue with the University of Alberta Libraries system, and later possibly with that of the Edmonton Public Library, in order to allow not only local residents but readers across Canada and around the world to access our materials. This project was initiated several years ago with support from the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko, the Alberta Ukrainian Commemorative Society, and the Government of Alberta. Nadia’s role was to continue compiling the ULEC library catalogue in accordance with U of A Libraries standards.

Ms. Shapovalova provided further details about her work during the Mitacs Globalink internship:

– In the twelve weeks of my internship, I acquired new experience, skills, and abilities, primarily in the field of library science. I received valuable help from Sharon Farnel, a metadata coordinator in the bibliography department of the U of A Libraries. Also, thanks to this project I learned many interesting things about Ukrainians in Canada. I discovered that there is a Canadian dialect of the Ukrainian language—many features of which have been picked up by the newest version of the official Ukrainian orthography. But probably most exciting of all was the opportunity I had to work with materials that were published over one hundred years ago; it was like going back in history. I would very much like for as many people as possible to have access to these and other materials from the ULEC library. And I’m very proud of having made a contribution to this important project.

ULEC is greatly appreciative of Nadiia Shapovalova’s work on our library cataloguing project. We thank Mitacs and the Shevchenko Foundation for their financial support, the University of Alberta for organizational support, and CIUS for its logistical support of Nadiia’s internship. We also thank the bibliography department of the U of A Libraries, and especially Sharon Farnel, for consultative support, and we hope to continue our close co-operation on integrating the ULEC library catalogue with their system.

The Ukrainian Language Education Centre promotes and develops Ukrainian language education in Canada and abroad by: supporting bilingual programs and professional development of Ukrainian language teachers and instructors; creating learning and teaching resources at both the secondary and post-secondary levels; conducting research on topics related to Ukrainian-language education and related fields; and fostering international links and community engagement. For more information about ULEC, please visit our website and Facebook page or contact us by email.

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