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UNF holds its 41st National Convention in Toronto

Jun 16, 2024 | Ukrainian National Federation, Featured

Participants of UNF’s 41st National Convention. Photos: Yuri Bilinsky, NP-UN

Kateryna Ozerianska, LJI Reporter, for NP-UN.

From June 7-9, 2024, the 41st National Convention of the Ukrainian National Federation (UNF) of Canada was held at the UNF Trident Hall in Toronto. The theme of the Convention, ‘Preserving Our Legacy, Building Our Future | Зберігаємо Нашу Спадщину, Будуємо Наше Майбутнє | Préserver Notre Héritage, Construire Notre Avenir,’ was not just a slogan, but a powerful call to action. It served as a reminder of the shared responsibility to honour the past and work together to shape a future for all UNF members. The convention aimed at shaping the organization’s activities leading up to its centennial jubilee in 2032.

The convention was a true testament to the strength and diversity of our community. It was attended by delegates from the UNF as well as its Affiliated Organizations, including the Ukrainian War Veterans Association of Canada, the Ukrainian Women’s Organization of Canada, and the Ukrainian National Youth Federation of Canada. Each delegate’s presence was a valuable contribution to the convention’s success.

The first delegates arrived on Thursday, June 6, for an informal meeting at the UNO Bistro at 145 Evans Ave in Etobicoke, ON. The Convention itself began at 8 a.m. on Friday with the registration of participants. During the Opening Ceremony, a parade of flags of the organizations was held, and all participants sang the anthems of Canada and Ukraine and held a joint prayer. A minute of silence was held in memory of deceased members. This was followed by the traditional land recognition of the land of Indigenous peoples. A special moment of the opening was welcoming the new UNF branches, Avalon, Vancouver and Barrie and Simcoe County, greeted with applause by all participants.

Leaders of UNF and Affiliates with organization flags at the opening of the convention

The administrative session included the election of the Convention Executive Committee, and the Chair (Ivan Lypovyk), Deputy Chair (Michael Mychailyshyn), and Secretary (Zoriana Wankiewicz) were elected. After the report of the Verification Committee, the agenda and the minutes of the previous 40th National UNF Convention were approved, and the committees were appointed.

The National Executive Directorate worked on the preparation of the convention and communicated with each branch, which sent one voting delegate for every 15 members and registered alternates to replace a delegate during the convention. Delegates and their alternates were approved at the branch meetings of UNF and Affiliated Organizations. All delegates and alternates were nominated to work in the committees: Nominations, Finance, Audit, Resolutions, Verification, Bylaws, Culture and Education. Registered guests, members of UNF branches and Affiliated Organizations were invited to review all resolution reports and listen to all speeches.

UNF National President Jurij Klufas speaks at the convention

All delegates were part of the working committees of the convention. Before the convention, they prepared their reports, meeting in person or via teleconference. This allowed the committees to work productively and produce resolutions that fully addressed all aspects of the activities. The reports were presented before the assembly.

The Resolutions Committee facilitates the resolution process, and encourages the UNF Board and affiliated organizations to act on resolutions between conventions. Specifically, the committee reviews all proposed resolutions to ensure they align with the purposes and priorities of UNF and prepares final versions of resolutions for distribution at the convention. During the convention, the committee assisted in preparing amendments and consensus texts, working with staff to prepare a consensus document for distribution to delegates before the final voting session. There were several resolutions that came out the committee session after the initial report of the Resolutions Committee. These were forwarded for review by the National Board of Directors.

The work of the Bylaws Committee ensured the submission of proposed changes to the Bylaws and the Operations Policies and Procedures Manual. The changes were discussed and approved.

The Verification Committee’s task of ensuring the availability of the organization’s annual financial statements was also completed on time.

The Nomination Committee selected, presented, and submitted qualified candidates for positions on the UNF Board of Directors for the 2024-2027 term.

The Finance Committee reviewed the organization’s financial reports, developed a multi-year budget for the operations of the UNF Board of Directors, and revised the branch membership formula.

Finance/Budget Committee

The Audit Committee presented a report on the activities of the UNF Board of Directors for the current three-year period.

The Culture and Education Committee evaluated existing programs and proposed new long-term and short-term programs at national and branch levels that align with the organization’s objectives.

Education and Culture Committee

UNYF Committee facilitated by Kristin Glover and Slawko Borys

During the First Plenary Session, executive reports were presented, including those from the President of the Ukrainian War Veterans Association (UWVA) Andre Sochaniwsky CD, the President of the Ukrainian Women’s Organization of Canada (UWOC) Patricia Latyshko, the Interim Secretary of the Ukrainian National Youth Federation (UNYF) Anya Shyian, the Executive Director of UNF Bruce Lilly, the President of UNF Jurij R. Klufas, the Treasurer of UNF Michael Kalimin, and the UNF Audit Committee Taras Jackiw. Each participant had the opportunity to raise questions for discussion.

UNYF members with UNYF flag

At the Convention, the delegates paid particular attention to the ways to attract the Ukrainian newcomers to UNF and AO. The speakers and committees discussed experience of several UNF and AO branches in newcomer engagement which both enriches the organization and assists Ukrainians who have found safe heaven in Canada. The convention also celebrated the current revival of UNYF with new youth branches created and developing, namely Edmonton, Regina and Ottawa-Gatineau, in a large part thanks to the active participation of newcomer youth.

After adopting the financial report, delegates gathered for a group photo with all the flags, undeterred by the rain. After lunch, committee sessions took place at the Trident Hall, Salon B, the Bistro, and other rooms, where all delegates joined their committees for discussions.

During the Second Plenary Session, reports from the Verification Committee, Resolutions Committee, and Finance Committee were presented, and resolutions were adopted.

One of the highlights of the first day of the convention was an educational excursion to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Holodomor Memorial, organized with the support and assistance of the Temerty Foundation. Following the busy off-site program, it was decided to postpone the Third Plenary Session, hear the report of the Culture and Education Committee, conduct discussions, and adopt resolutions on the morning of the next working day of the convention.

The second working day began with reports from the Ukrainian National Youth Federation (UNYF), and, following the discussions, proposals were accepted.

During the Fourth Plenary Session, Paul Grod, President of the Ukrainian World Congress, addressed the convention. He outlined the key issues regarding the role of the Ukrainian National Federation in ensuring Ukraine’s victory, rebuilding Ukraine, and developing the global Ukrainian community. His address was received with great enthusiasm and sparked discussions. Paul Grod provided comprehensive answers to all the questions raised.

UWC President Paul Grod gives UWC honourary medal to UNF President Jurij Klufas

During the panel discussion on the topic of newcomer engagement, speakers included delegates from various branches: Bruce Lilly (Avalon), Roman Plawiuk (Barrie and Simcoe County), and Sviatoslav Lashkevych (Vancouver). Lydia Glavin (Toronto) moderated this discussion.

During the Fifth Plenary Session, the Ukrainian War Veterans Association (UWVA) President, Andre Sochaniwsky CD, delivered presentations on the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

UWVA President Andre Sochaniwsky CD

As part of the Fifth Plenary Session, Ivan Lypovyk presented on the topic “Preserving Our Legacy, Building Our Future,” while Olena Shyian spoke on the growth of Ridna Shkolas throughout Canada.

The working day concluded with a banquet. Before dinner, a communal prayer was led by Bryan Bayda, bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada. Maksym Stolyarevskyy hosted the evening program.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk, delivered an exiting address that provided a historical overview of the leadership roles played by UNF members over the years in the shaping of Ukrainian Community life in Canada.

Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk speaks at the convention

During the banquet, guests had the opportunity to listen to the performance of the UNF Toronto Boys’ Choir and watch the performance of the Kalyna Performing Arts Company.

UNF Toronto’s Kalyna Performing Arts Company

The last day of the convention, Sunday, began with a moleben in the Trident Hall, followed by the Sixth Plenary Session. Yuriy Nesvit (Hamilton) presented the UNF’s financial report and spoke on the branch management. Olena Shyian, the head of the UNF Foundation, also delivered a report.

UNF Foundation President Olena Shyian

As a guest, Oleh Nikolenko, Consul General of Ukraine in Toronto, presented on Global Communication Strategy. The relevance of the topic spurred discussions and debates.

Consul general of Ukraine in Toronto Oleh Nikolenko

During the convention, the new president of UNF was elected. As a result of the voting, Jurij R. Klufas was re-elected as President. After the voting and all necessary procedures, the delegates and participants of the convention greeted the newly elected president with applause. Jurij R. Klufas thanked the delegates for their trust. He assured those present of his readiness to continue fulfilling his duties as president, ensuring the effective operation of the Ukrainian National Federation. He emphasized the importance of collective efforts in achieving the organization’s mission and promised to strengthen unity and support the Ukrainian community to ensure its prosperity and development leading to UNF centennial jubilee celebrations in 2032.

During the convention’s closing, after the words of the newly elected president, the anthems of Canada and Ukraine were sung, a final prayer was held, and the organizational flags were ceremonially retired.

Mr. Adamowich being conferred Honorary Member of the UNF

Vicki Karpiak being congratulated upon being conferred Honorary Member of the UNF. Photo: Myron Doroniuk

On behalf of all UNF members, Jurij R. Klufas expressed sincere gratitude to Olya Grod for her tireless work in organizing the triennial convention, noting that this event would not have taken place without her invaluable contribution.

Olya Grod receives thanks for her role in organizing the convention

On behalf of UNF and New Pathway – Ukrainian News, Jurij R. Klufas and Yuri Bilinsky expressed appreciation for Walter Kish’s tireless 24-year service for the newspaper and the whole Ukrainian Canadian community as a prominent media personality.

Walter Kish receives a UNF Honour for his 24-year service at New Pathway – Ukrainian News

The collective efforts of the convention’s organizers and participants ensured a smooth four-day event, fostering effective interaction and discussions on important issues related to UNF activities and support for Ukraine.

 

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