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Ukrainians in Canada



October 31st 2017

Ottawa, Ontario  

      At 11:00 AM the Interns held a Prayer for Peace in Ukraine and Throughout the World at the Reconciliation: The Peacekeeping Monument. Fr. Okhrimtchouk, Rabbi Michael Goldstein, Mackenzie Esson and Kyrylo Korol read the prayers for peace.

      Former Ambassador for Religious Freedom Andrew Bennett delivered the closing prayer.

      Ukrainian Day on Parliament Hill, organised by Canada Ukraine Parliamentary Program 2017 Interns took place on October 31st, 2017. The evening reception took place at Sir John A. Macdonald Building, featuring many distinguished guests and speakers. Among the speakers were:

              His Excellency Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada Andriy Shevchenko;

              Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman;

              The Honorable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness;

              MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Chair of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group;

              MP James Bezan, deputy Head of the National Defence Committee;

              Mr. Ihor Bardyn, Director of Canada Ukraine Parliamentary Program;

              Mr. Taras Pidzamecky, President of Ukrainian National Federation of Canada;

              Roman Polischuk, CUPP 2017 Intern

      Many distinguished guests were present during the event:

              The Honorable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence;

              The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism;

              The Honourable Geoff Regan, Speaker of the House of Commons;

              Roman Waschuk, Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine;

              MPs Peter Fonseka, Julie Dzerowich, Terry Duguid, Jim Eglinski

              During the event the signing of Memorandum took place.

      “When you speak to CUPP interns there is a natural temptation to speak about the future, but I think this is not quite right because I know what a great impact these folks have already been doing.” – Ambassador Andriy Shevchenko.

      At the core of the event were Canada-Ukraine multidimensional relations facilitated by the CUPP interns working at the Members of Parliament offices, organizing meetings and even helping in the constituencies. Under the motto “Ukraine unites” the organizers are aiming to present a contemporary image of Ukraine through the lens of proactive youth, innovations, entrepreneurship, and creativity.

      Setting free the fusty image of Ukraine in a complicated humanitarian situation, the CUPP interns are seeking to show the country as the mecca of tourism and realization of brave ideas.

      Prime Minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman addressed all present in the room, spoke about Canada-Ukraine long and thriving relationship that goes back over 125 years, with Canada being the first country to recognize Ukraine’s independence in 1991 to being one of Ukraine’s strongest allies and partners on international arena now, in Ukraine’s historic current times.                  While describing Canada-Ukraine relationship, PM Volodymyr Groysman said: “Every day in Canadian history has had a part of Ukrainian day in it.”

      Opening remarks were delivered by Andriy Shevchenko, where he spoke about Canada Ukraine Parliamentary Program and the interns, introduced Prime Minster Volodymyr Groysman, mentioned that it is the first trip for Ukraine’s youngest Prime Minister Groysman to Canada, and he has been well received. His Excellency expressed gratitude for a strong partnership that Ukraine and Canada have.



Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman [Excerpts from the Speech]:



      “I am proud that it was Canada who first recognised the Independence of Ukraine back in 1991. I have a special feeling listening to national anthems of Canada and Ukraine. We have a wonderful history. During this first visit to Canada I’ve discovered the wonderful country and we are proud that Ukrainians made their contribution. I want to stress that in this difficult time Canada plays an important role in protecting territorial integrity. Canada plays an important role in protecting the territorial integrity of our country. Canada demonstrates an outstanding leadership. We heavily appreciate the demonstration of leadership by Canada. Every day in Canadian history has had a part of Ukrainian day in it.

      All decisions related to Ukraine unite Canadian Parliament. I would like to make a special mention of the Canada Ukraine Parliamentary Program which is the internship of young Ukrainians in the Parliament. I could not even imagine that the coordinator Ihor Bardyn would make this project for 27 years hosting Ukrainians in Parliament. More than 1000 people went through it and pursued their career in politics. Ukraine needs young and active professionals. Among the reforms done in Ukraine the reform of civil service is crucial one. Canada can be an example on this matter. That is why I want to tell the participants of the Program: Ukraine needs you. We have started the reform of the civil service and announced 1200 vacancies for young people for the changes in the country and for success of our European country. I am glad that we are signing the Memorandum between out governments on the reform of Ukrainian civil service. It’s 150 years of Canada and 125 since Ukrainians started coming to Canada. I am sure that we have to continue to write our history of success together. I wish you all the best in this endeavour.”



Roman Polishchuk, CUPP student:


      “The second thing that impressed me is the work of the Parliament of Canada. I think that the parliamentary system that exists here is truly working - the system of checks and balances. The famous question period, the caucuses, the parliamentary groups - they all work for the good of not only every Canadian, but of the world itself. We, interns, have already met with several MPs and senators and discovered that many of them come from different cultural and professional backgrounds.

      There are lawyers, policeman, diplomats, human rights activists but all of them have the same goal - to make life of their constituents better. Moreover they try to support countries around the world on their way to democracy. Ukraine is one of them. Providing police and military training to Ukraine’s troops, sponsoring and passing the Magnitsky law (that of course applies to many  countries and  greatly influences the situation in Ukraine), and taking  a leading role in UN peacekeeping missions. All of these initiatives demonstrate how much Canada and its parliament are mindful about the world and its problems.

      All of our actions have impact on others and if every person truly did all they can do, the world would be a better place. So keep doing what you are doing. If there is a chance to do more, please do. Ukraine is a country full of potential and it is definitely worth fighting for.”

      CUPP Media Relations:

Sasha Kovalenko



      Canada and Ukraine have a long history of friendship forged through generations of family ties and shared values. I look forward to meeting with Prime Minister Groysman to discuss how we can work together to build a more prosperous and secure future for both of our countries.


- The Rt. Hon. Justin TRUDEAU, Prime Minister of Canada


President Petro POROSHENKO about CUPP


      I cannot help but mention one particular program that has played a significant role in enhancing our people-to-people contact. I am talking about the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program.

      During the years of independence, CUPP has hosted over a thousand students from Ukraine who were able to work as interns right here in the Canadian Parliament, helping us build Ukrainian democracy. Welcome back, dear colleagues.

      I also want to thank the Canadian Parliament and the Ukrainian diaspora for helping us breed a new generation of democratic and free Ukrainian leaders.


Excerpt from Hansard, September 17, 2014

Listening to the address in the visitors’ gallery were 46 CUPP Interns and Alumni.

President Poroshenko greeted them in the House of Commons for the 24th CUPP Program



      What is CUPP’s legacy? I think you started the program at the right time in history in the right place. Its legacy is all the participants with their productive lives and the work they do and will   continue to do for a better world.


- Nina HAWRYLOW, CUPP 2013


      CUPP had a huge impact on my life. The 1998 and 1999 programs were an eye opener for me. I learned many new things about accountability, responsibility and setting goals. I learned how democratic countries like Canada work, how critical adherence to the Rule of Law is and how successful relationships can be built. And on top of it all I met so many new friends with whom I have stayed in touch.

      CUPP gives young Ukrainians a fantastic opportunity to learn the best practices of Canadian institutions, namely Parliament, and provides valuable experience and expands our horizons.

      CUPP alumni are motivated to reach for the top!


- Ihor KOLESNIKOV, CUPP 1998 & 1999



      CUPP created a strong community of passionate, smart and absolutely amazing Ukrainians, who care about their community and their country. Every time, when I meet a CUPP Alumna, I see that they are a decent and respected person.


- Svitlana KISILOVA, CUPP 2016


      CUPP helped me to understand that Ukraine is a nice country to live in. My trip as a CUPP winner in 2004 opened my eyes on Ukraine. CUPP was an excellent experience to look at Ukraine from abroad. I understand that I can be happy living in Ukraine, I can be successful as a lawyer, I can be proud that I am Ukrainian. Thanks that CUPP became part of my life.


- Artem SEREDA, CUPP 2004


      The opportunity to live in another country at a young age is invaluable. But the opportunity to absorb and make decisions independently and take ownership of your life in the global village is life changing. CUPP enriched lives, broadened horizons and empowered hundreds of young Ukrainians (and thousands in their immediate circles) willing to see their country free and modern, which is in distinct contrast to the shtetl way of thinking from the communist past. In my view, for a generation CUPP has educated and empowered young Ukrainians to irrevocably change mentality, have a point of view and see beyond propaganda, and become leaders in their communities despite the challenges and limitations of our homeland. It is the legacy I am very proud to be a living part of.


  • Andriy PANASENKO, CUPP 1998












On July 16, 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR adopted the Declaration of Sovereignty, which declared that Parliament recognized the need to build the Ukrainian state based on the Rule of Law.

      On August 24, 1991, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted the Declaration of Independence, which the citizens of Ukraine endorsed in the referendum of December 1, 1991. Also in 1991, Canadians celebrated the Centennial of Ukrainian group immigration to Canada. To mark the Centennial, Canadian organizations planned programs and projects to celebrate this milestone in Canada’s history.

      The Chair of Ukrainian Studies Foundation of Toronto marked the Centennial by establishing the CANADA UKRAINE PARLIAMENTARY PROGRAM (CUPP) for university students from Ukraine. CUPP gives Ukrainian students an opportunity to work and study in Canada’s Parliament, and gain experience from which generations of Canadian, American and West European students have benefited.

      On the basis of academic excellence, knowledge of the English or French and Ukrainian languages, and on interest in the Westminster model of parliamentary government, university students from Ukrainian and foreign universities, can apply for the CUPP internship program. It is the goal of CUPP to contribute to the education of future leaders of Ukraine.

      Since 1991 almost one thousand Interns, have completed the CUPP internship program and returned to their homeland. Two have become Cabinet Ministers, while others have been elected to Ukraine’s Parliament.

      They have helped establish three important projects, namely: Professional Government Association of Ukraine, established in 2014 as a resource centre to help the Ukrainian Government to identify and prioritize programs, motivate government to carry out the projects, assist in getting resources and tools required to complete the projects/programs and measure and publish the results.

      Teach For Ukraine, a unique two year leadership development program. Participants work in rural schools to create opportunities for children and      mentor children in continuing education towardsprofessions and trades.

      Teach For Ukraine NGO is associated with Teach For All, which operates in forty-two countries.

      Anna Mazurenko Children’s Health Centre of Lviv, a first of its kind health/medical centre focused on children and families.

      In 2017, 17 students from universities in Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, and Ukraine will complete a two-month internship in the House of Commons. Concurrently, Canadian university students from the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Toronto and York University will complete an internship as part of the Macdonald-Laurier Program.

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