SUSK Holds 2018 Congress

2018 Congress Delegates at Castle Mountain Internment Monument

SUSK/NPUN Western Bureau.

The Ukrainian Canadian Students’ Union (SUSK) has successfully completed of the 2018 National SUSK Congress: Rediscovering the Past held in Banff, Alberta from May to 6.

Over 60 student delegates and alumni gathered for this year’s National Congress, titled Rediscovering the Past. This year’s Congress focused on the themes of the First World War Internment Operations and Human Rights. The conference was generously supported by the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World Fund (CFWWIRF) and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation (UCCLF) and featured guests from other communities affected by the First World War Internment Operations – including the Armenian and Bulgarian communities.

“’Rediscovering the Past’ marks one of the largest SUSK Congresses in recent memory,” said SUSK President Stephanie Nedoshytko. “We are honoured to have been able to host our conference at the prestigious Banff Centre, have representation from other ethnocultural communities, and learn about the Internment Operations from the First World War in the backdrop of Canada’s Rocky Mountains.”

The 4-day event was dedicated to encouraging and challenging student leaders to come together, discuss and deliberate relevant questions and issues, and spearhead the future of youth leadership and involvement in Canada while also learning about the First World War Internment Operations on site. The 2018 National SUSK Congress included the following program elements:

– No Free Man, Canada, the Great War, and the Enemy Alien Experience, by Dr. Bohdan Kordan;

– The Redress Campaign, by Andrew Hladyshevsky Q.C., Shevchenko Foundation and Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk, Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation;

– Panel: New Research on Canada’s First World War Internment Operations, including Dr Rhonda Hinther (Moderator), Kassandra Luciuk, Doctoral Candidate: “A Ukrainian Internee Remembers: A Kapuskasing Camp Diary”, Dr Mikhail Bjorge: “From Internee to Inmate: New Research on the Prisoners of Kingston Penitentiary, 1917-1920” and Sarah Beaulieu: “Remembering the Forgotten: Archaeology at the Morrissey WWI Internment Camp”;

– The Shevchenko Foundation and Grant-writing, by Andrew Hladyshevsky Q.C., Shevchenko Foundation and Connor Moen, SUSK National Coordinator;

– Constitution 101, Stephanie Nedoshytko, SUSK President;

– Advocacy 101, by Paul Grod, UCC President and Ihor Michalchyshyn, UCC CEO;

– Excursion: Castle Mountain Internment Site and Cave and Basin, led by Dr. Bohdan Kordan;

– Panel: Understanding Through the Arts: Recognizing an Historic Injustice, including Warren Woytuck (Moderator), Critical Thinking Consortium, Kerri Parnell: National Internment Art Exhibit, John Boxtel, Internment Statues Legacy and Ryan Boyko, Armistice Films – The Camps Webseries.

The 2018 Congress opened at the Banff Centre with Vice President Michael Code, who spoke about how the Banff Centre strives to inspire artists and leaders to make their unique contribution to society. The welcoming address was followed by icebreakers, Ukrainian Student Organizations (USOs) presentations, and SUSK executive reports. Each USO spoke for a few minutes about their fall and winter events that were held on their respective campuses. USOs were assessed according to three categories: Best New Up-and-Coming USO, Best Event, and Best Story. Three awards were given to USOs who made outstanding contributions: The Ukrainian Student Club of Barrie (New USO), Western Ukrainian Students’ Club (Best Story) and the University of Saskatchewan Ukrainian Students’ Association (Best Event).

New participants were truly impressed with the size, scope, and professionalism of the conference and Congress. “Immediately upon commencing the SUSK Congress, I was struck by the professionalism, organization and dedication of the Ukrainian Canadian students,” remarked Bulgarian Canadian student Nicole Minkova. “To see so many young leaders keenly interested in the history of internment in Canada was humbling. The commitment to maintaining culture and heritage was also truly inspiring, and I am thrilled to have been a part of it!”

The formal programming concluded with a Banquet & Zabava event on Saturday evening, which featured over 120 guests including SUSK alumni and representatives from the Ukrainian Canadian community. The banquet featured keynote speaker Mark O’Neill of the Canadian History Museum and the Canadian War Museum, who spoke about current and future initiatives to commemorate the Internment Operations of the First World War.

“The Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund (CFWWIRF) is pleased to provide funding to SUSK. This is the first student conference in Canada focusing on Canada’s first national internment operations from 1914 to 1920. The Endowment Council of the CFWWIRF is working hard on shedding light on this tragic yet little known chapter in our Canadian history,” expressed CFWWIRF Program Manager Andrea Malysh.

The New Executive is as follows: President: Stephanie Nedoshytko Stephanie Nedoshytko, University of Ottawa; Vice-President National: Mattay Dubczak, Western University; Vice-President Finance: Roman Grod, Wilfrid Laurier University; Vice-President West: Devon Goldie, University of Victoria; Vice-President Central: Vacant; Vice-President East: Maxym Dubczak, Queen’s University; Secretary: Natalia Blysniuk, Western University; External Relations Director: Raya Dzulynsky, Western University; Internal Relations Director: Andriy Katyukha, Queen’s University; Project Director: Nykole Dovgyy, University of Saskatchewan; Media Director: Vacant; Student Editor (New Position): Vacant; Alumni: Vacant; Immediate Past President: Cassian Soltykevych, University of Alberta.