Turning the pages back...
August 21, 1992
Five years ago, the first World Forum of Ukrainians was held in Kyiv amid celebrations of the first anniversary of Ukraine's independence. As the second World Forum of Ukrainians is due to begin in the next fews days, it is worthwhile to take a look back at the first such gathering. Following are excerpts from the report filed in 1992 by our Kyiv correspondent at the time, Marta Kolomayets.
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"Today is significant," Ivan Dzyuba emphasized to the thousands assembled at the Ukraina Palace for the opening session of the World Forum of Ukrainians on Friday morning, August 21. "It marks the end of an era in our history when Ukrainians were divided - not only by borders - but by mutual misunderstandings and suspicions incited by enemies."
"And it is the beginning of another era, a time when we can not only hold discussions and get to know one another, but also together determine our political, social and cultural direction, and jointly work toward the formation of a new identity for Ukraine," he said.
And so, for three full days, delegates from the Western and Eastern diaspora, representing more than 10 million Ukrainians scattered throughout the world, as well as delegates from Ukraine representing this fledgling nation of 52 million, exchanged ideas, trying to find mutual agreement on how to build an independent and democratic Ukrainian state.
The forum, which was nine months and over 17 million kupony in the planning, was opened by the chairman of the organizing committee, Mykola Zhulynsky, a member of President Leonid Kravchuk's State Duma (specializing in humanitarian affairs). He noted that the forum was gathered to utilize the full potential of the Ukrainian nation and to paint a picture for the rest of the world of independent Ukraine.
President Kravchuk delivered opening remarks, during which he called for a coalition government and unity among democratic forces for the purpose of building an independent Ukraine. But, he also spoke harshly of opposition leaders such as Vyacheslav Chornovil, accusing him of splitting Rukh, the Popular Movement of Ukraine, and causing disunity.
The forum continued for two more days. It was highlighted by presentations of delegates from both the diaspora and Ukraine, including the president of the World Congress of Free Ukrainians, Yuri Shymko, as well as Ukraine's political leaders.
Source: "Ukraine celebrates first anniversary of independence; Worldwide forum attracts delegates from East and West," The Ukrainian Weekly, August 30, 1992 (Vol. LX, No. 35).
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, August 17, 1997, No. 33, Vol. LXV
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