At the Tryzub Awards Gala 2019, NP-UN spoke to the President of Shevchenko Foundation, Andriy Hladyshevsky, about the Awards’ history and future.
NP-UN: Is this going to be an annual award?
Hladyshevsky: We created the Award committee three years ago and would like it to be an annual award but we will see if this is going to be annual or bi-annual. Every time, we would like to single out three leaders of our community and thank them for their community work, business endeavours and advocacy for Ukraine. Our people have trust in what the Shevchenko Foundation does and these three awards carry a lot of weight, there is sincerity in them. We should be thanking people while they are still alive and to encourage other people to do what those role models do for the community.
NP-UN: The first three recipients look like natural choices for the inaugural Tryzub Awards.
Hladyshevsky: James and Louise Temerty would be the first ones to say, “give the award to somebody else because we don’t want so much attention.” But it’s because of their humility that they deserve this award. They have been immense supporters of so many community-related events, festivals and conferences, raising the awareness in Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian community, enabling large masses of people to celebrate the culture. That’s very important. Ian Ihnatowycz is a spectacular businessman, but he has not only raised a lot of money on the financial and investment market, he also supports major cultural and community organizations, like the Royal Conservatory of Music, Ivey School of Business, with the Shevchenko Foundation he created the Reach Mentorship program that allows our youngest and brightest talents to get world-class mentorship. Diane Francis – it’s important for the world to understand that we value people who speak truth about and bring attention to Ukraine. About 20 years ago the world probably was not that interested in Ukraine and did not understand who Ukrainians are. Journalists like Diane and others have raised Ukraine’s profile so that the world understands why we are different from those Russians. Having someone do that from the outside of our community is very important.
NP-UN: This ceremony showed that the community has responded very well to the idea of Tryzub Awards.
Hladyshevsky: Think about this, it’s $1,000 a plate, there are no free seats in this hall. And we have a fantastic turn-out, over 300 people. Why did all these people come? To honour the recipients, but the recipients also wanted something to come out of this and there will be an endowment fund from the proceeds within the Shevchenko Foundation for community development and for the activities of Ukrainian Canadian Congress and Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association of Toronto. What’s interesting is that about 40% of people in this room are not Ukrainian. They understand what these Awards are for and they have found out more about our community and what we mean by being Canadian citizens and supporting the Ukrainian culture which is a part of Canadian culture.