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Ukraine's flag is shown on Fort Garry campus in March 2022. // Photo from Catherine-Grace Peters

Ukrainian scholars find new community at UM

Welcome event provides opportunity to connect with Ukrainian scholars

November 30, 2022 — 

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, the University of Manitoba committed $1,755,000 to support scholars and students from Ukraine to come to Manitoba and continue their work or studies that have been disrupted by the war.

This week, the Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies is hosting a welcome event for the Ukrainian scholars within the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Law, Max Rady College of Medicine and other units.

Scholar Olga Khamedova, whose research explores the Ukrainian Press of Canada through gender optics, arrived in Canada with her daughter this past August. 

Formerly an Associate Professor of the Department of Journalism and New Media at Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University in Ukraine, Khamedova’s life, like that of many Ukrainians, has been forever changed by the war.

Living in constant fear since the invasion began, Khamedova often spent nights huddled in bomb shelters for her and her daughter’s safety before being forced to flee to the west of Ukraine. Not knowing what to do next, she searched online and learned about the Canadian government’s CUAET program, which has helped many Ukrainians who are seeking safety in Canada.

As she continued her search, Khamedova came across the University of Manitoba’s Scholars at Risk program, where she found a place that could not only provide her family with safety, but also a supportive community and an opportunity to expand her research.  

“It was a lot of stress, but we were met by volunteers at the Winnipeg airport and immediately felt the support of Manitoba.” Khamedova says. “The support of newly arrived Ukrainians by the Congress of Ukrainians of Canada was unprecedented. I am touched by the help that the government of Manitoba provides to Ukrainians.”

Through the University of Manitoba’s Scholars at Risk program, each Ukrainian scholar will be funded for one-year of teaching or research up to $50,000 a year. In addition to 20 scholars, the UM waived all application fees for international students who are Ukrainian citizens and provided wrap-around supports for students.

After reaching out to see whether she qualified to come to Manitoba, she said she was encouraged by the attention and support she received from those working at UM who helped her with her transition.

An instructor in the history of Ukrainian journalism, Khamedova says she is immensely grateful and excited to explore all Ukrainian history that Winnipeg has to offer.

“I realized that Winnipeg has always been the center of the Ukrainian diaspora and the Ukrainian press in exile,” says Khamedova.  “I once dreamed of working here in the archives.”

“Thanks to the Ukrainian Scholars program, I have the opportunity to work with the unique collections of periodicals of Canadian Ukrainians, which are stored in Winnipeg libraries,” Khamedova says. “Now I can better study the history of Ukrainian emigration to Canada.”

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend the welcome event to meet the scholars and welcome them to the UM community.

The Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies is hoping the event will stimulate collaboration between academia and community and encourage interdisciplinary research, says Yuliia Ivaniuk, coordinator at the Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies. CUCS, which is located in the Faculty of Arts, is excited to share more information about the Centre, their offerings and to serve as a resource for scholars in these difficult times.

“This event is an opportunity not only to exchange professional experience and join in scientific cooperation, but as the war in Ukraine rages on, it is, without exaggeration, a chance for a new life for me and my daughter,” says Khamedova.

Scholars from Ukraine Welcome Event

Thursday, December 1, 2022
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
St. Andrew’s College Cafeteria

About the Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies

The Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies’ mission is to create, preserve and communicate knowledge related to Ukrainian Canadiana. They offer a Bachelor of Arts degree program as well as interdisciplinary courses in Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Studies, coordinate research, serve as a resource centre for those interested in Ukrainian Canadiana, and work to enhance collaboration between UM and the community. They have recently launched a new Letter of Participation program in Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Studies which includes monthly lecture series and bimonthly book club meetings that are available to anyone who is interested in knowledge of the area.

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