Victoria Chumenko, CUPP 2019 Coordinator and Intern to Borys J Wrzesnewskyj, MP for
Etobicoke Centre, ON.
Traditionally each year Vyshyvanka Day unites Canadian parliamentarians, Senators, diplomats, Ukrainian community representatives and all the friends of Ukraine throughout the world in wearing authentic embroidered Vyshyvanka shirts. This year Interns of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program (CUPP) joined this initiative to celebrate and preserve Ukraine ancestral traditions and to pay homage to its vibrant heritage. Interns were also honored to share their Vyshyvanka Day’s celebration with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, leader of the Conservative Party Andrew Scheer, leader of the NDP Jagmeet Singh, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada Andriy Shevchenko, members of parliament, as well as members of the Canada Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group and members of the Ukrainian community (UCC and UNF).
The same day the interns of the 2019 CUPP organized a Prayer for Peace in Ukraine and throughout the world, as well as a parliamentary reception, usually held in the Macdonald Building but because of the extensive renovations on Parliament Hill, held in the Services Building of Parliament. This annual event, organized by CUPP Interns since 2014, is known as Ukrainian Day on Parliament Hill and attracts a large number of MPs and senators.
This year the special guest of Ukrainian Day on Parliament Hill was Mustafa Dzhemilev, Member of the Ukrainian Parliament, Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for the Affairs of Crimean Tatars, and former Chairman of the Mejlis (assembly) of the Crimean Tatars. Other notable guests were Akhtem Chyihoz, Deputy of the Head of the Mejlis (Assembly) of the Crimean Tatar People, Nariman Ustaiev, advisor to Dzhemilev and Chyihoz and former head of state service on Crimean affairs, as well as members of parliament, representatives of the Estonian, Croatian and Ukrainian Embassies, Canadian leader of the Crimean Tatar National Movement and members of the Ukrainian Canadian community and media press.
The evening program was masterfully chaired by CUPP Interns Maryna Larina and Maksym Dvorovyi. Greetings were delivered by members of the Canada Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group, MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj and MP Linda Duncan. Dzhemilev delivered the keynote address to mark the 75th anniversary of the forced deportation of Crimean Tatars by the Soviet Government. Additional remarks were delivered by Anatoliy Shatkovskyy, the President of the Ukrainian National Federation’s Ottawa-Gatineau Branch, Yuri Kushnir, President of the CUPP Alumni Association, and Dr. Antin Kushnir, Director of the Anna Mazurenko Children’s Health Centre in Lviv, a CUPP-sponsored project.
Earlier that day, CUPP interns Pavlo Bryliak and Mykola Antoniuk organized inter-faith Prayer for Peace in Ukraine and throughout the world at the Peacekeeping Monument, nearby Parliament Hill. Imam Ali Masjid, Reverend Elina Salonen (Lutheran Church of Canada), Reverend James Scheer (Catholic Church), Father Petro Tsenov (Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada) participated in the prayer. The choir of the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of Ottawa accompanied the prayer service.
CUPP was established in 1991 by Toronto jurist Ihor Bardyn, as an internship program for Ukrainian university students in Canada’s Parliament. It is intended to give the Ukrainian students an opportunity to observe and understand the Westminster model of government and to interact with students from Canada, the USA, France, Israel, the Philippines, Poland and other countries. The program strives to prepare Ukraine’s future leaders in the art of the operation of a parliamentary democracy.
Over the last 29 years, more than 1,000 young Ukrainians have had a life-changing experience at the House of Commons and afterwards have moved on to become change-makers in Ukraine.