XXV Congress of Ukrainian Canadians (2016) Shevchenko Medal, UCC Leadership & Youth Leadership Award Recipients

Tanya Dzulynsky – (Education)
Born in Kholm in 1940, Tanya Dzulynsky came to Canada in 1954. She has a B.A. in Political Science and Economics (1961) and MBA (1985) from the University of Toronto. She was active in the Ukrainian Students Club; later helped establish and headed a Ukrainian co-operative nursery school (1964-1972) and initiated and headed the Tsiopa Palijiw Ukrainian Co-operative School (1972-76).

From 1957 to 2013 Tanya has been a leader at all levels of Plast, Ukrainian Youth Association of Canada, including president of the National Plast Executive, Council Chair of the Conference of (world-wide) Plast Organizations, chair of program committees at Plast International Jamborees in 1987 and 2007. In 1974 she co-initiated a leadership program “Zolota Bulava”, and for years organized Plast leadership seminars for counsellors. From 1990 she has helped with the rebirth of Plast in Ukraine.

Tanya has authored several series of short stories, several books, in particular Plastovyi Dovidnyk, various Plast materials, a documentary film and served for ten years as editor of the magazine Hotuis. Since 2008 Tanya has been on the Board of Directors of the Shevchenko Society of Canada and from 2013 a representative to the Board of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

Olya Odynsky-Grod (Community Development)
Olya’s enthusiasm and commitment for her community is deeply rooted.  Olya was born in Toronto where she took full advantage of the vibrant Ukrainian Canadian community that nurtured her community activism.  Olya is a graduate of the Univerity of Toronto, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts & Science.  Her early leadership abilities were demonstrated by her work with the Ukrainian Youth Association (SUM), Dibrova Choir, Baturyn Band and as a volunteer for the Saskatoon Branch of the UCC as well as the Saskatchewan Arts Council.

As First Vice President  of  UCC -Toronto Branch she distinguished herself as a member of the organizing committee for the XXIV Triennial Congress in Toronto and as a key member of the Euromaidan Committee in leading rallies and organizing fund raising events.  Olya is a constant presence at almost every major banquet and event in Toronto.  But her work is not restricted to Canadian soil:  she has organized multi-year UCC and government-sponsored Election Observer Missions in Ukraine.

Olya is a founding member of the Bloor West Village Ukrainian Festival where she has served for 20 years, including 17 years as vice-president.  From 2010 to 2015, Olya served as a board member of the Canada First World War Internment Recognition Fund  (CFWWIRF) and Chair of the UCC Internment Committee. Olya currently serves as a volunteer on the UNF Library Digitization Project.

For over a decade (1997 to 2010) Olya was consumed with the defence of her father, Wasyl Odynsky, who the Canadian government sought to denaturalize and deport.  He was spared this fate by an Order-in-Council. Olya fiercely defended her father in the face of insurmountable odds and ensured that he would end his days, with his family, in Canada.

Irene Jendzjowsky (Education)
Irene was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta where she grew up in a household where issues affecting Ukraine were discussed, Ukrainian history and culture cherished as well as an importance placed on positive involvement in the Ukrainian community in the diaspora. Irene studied Ukrainian Language (BA, MA) and Library & Information Studies (MLIS) at the University of Alberta. Throughout her studies, she has applied the knowledge and perspective she has acquired to her work with Ukrainian organizations.

In both her professional and volunteer work Irene has encouraged those she works with to bring about positive, lasting change in their work together for Ukrainians around the world. As an example of this, one can see the impact of her work with the Ukrainian Youth Association at the branch, national and international levels. Through her volunteer work Irene has earned the highest level of recognition in the category ‘Educator’ from the Ukrainian Youth Association for her development of several key programs that have been used for nearly twenty years.

Using her academic and professional background in archival preservation, Irene has helped several Ukrainian organizations in Edmonton to organize and develop their archives to protect and preserve their information for generations to come. Her involvement and passion for the work of the Canadian Foundation of Ukrainian Studies, Alberta Council for Ukrainian Arts, and the Ukrainian Canada Archives and Museum in Edmonton comes from her love of Ukrainian history, and its preservation for all Canadians.

Hon. Ken Krawetz (Public Service)
Ken was born and raised in the Invermay area. He has been an educator and school administrator, a business owner and a part-time farmer, as well as the MLA for the Canora-Pelly constituency for 21 years.

In 1995 he was elected as the MLA for Canora-Pelly and two years later, with a group of MLAs, formed the Saskatchewan Party. After the Saskatchewan Party won the provincial election in 2007, he served as Minister of Education and then Minister of Finance, as well as Deputy Premier. He ensured the passage of the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day Act (Bill 40), making Saskatchewan the first jurisdiction in North America to recognize and commemorate the Holodomor genocide. Ken assisted in placing a statue near the Legislative Building to recognize this human tragedy and was instrumental in developing strong working relationships with Ukraine.

For his dedicated volunteer work, Ken has received many awards which include: the Canada 125 Award, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, the Centennial Medal, the Award of Excellence from the Ukrainian Self-Reliance League of Canada, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the UCC – Saskatchewan Provincial Council’s Nation Builders Award. In 2009, the President of Ukraine presented Ken with Ukraine’s highest honour – the Order of Kniaz (King) Yaroslav the Wise.

Ken is now retired and enjoying life on the family farm along with his wife Gail. They enjoy travelling and spending time with their family: son Bryce and his wife Olivia and their daughters Willow and Scarlett, and daughter Lindsay and her husband Barney.

Daria Vera Luciw (Community Development)

Daria Luciw was born in Smoky Lake, Alberta in 1958 to parents Kateryna (Melnychuk) and Il’ko Luciw.  Her family arrived in Canada as immigrant settlers from Western Ukraine in 1905.  She is a mother to 4 children – Gregory, Olexandra, Zenon and Roman – all of whom are educated in the Ukrainian bilingual program and are active members of the Ukrainian community in Edmonton.

Daria has always been active in the Ukrainian community with numerous organizations and in several leadership roles. Currently active with the UCC Alberta Provincial Council as a member of the board for 12 years and counting, Daria was Vice-President prior to taking on the role of President, a position she held for 6 years.  She lead a team in developing and implementing – in 2 weeks – a successful series of events with major media coverage in Edmonton to raise funds to support election observers going to Ukraine in December 2004, and helped organize Albertans and raise funds for several subsequent observer missions. Other community involvement has been as Vice President for UCC National, member and volunteer with the Ukrainian Parents for Bilingual Education, Plast, several cultural and educational organizations including President of the Dnipro Choir and a member of the production team of several major stage productions. Daria is a graduate of the University of Alberta in Political Science and Slavic Studies.  She is currently Past President of UCC APC, President of the Ukrainian Bilingual Language Association and the Viter Ukrainian Dancers and Folk Choir.

Daria has much community and non-profit sector experience as she has dedicated her career to working in and for the non-profit sector and is currently a member of the Executive Team and Director of Fund Development and Communication with St. Michael’s Health Group in Edmonton.

Paul Migus (Community Development)
Paul Migus has been active in the Ukrainian Canadian community in Toronto and Ottawa for over 50 years. He has occupied leadership roles in the Ukrainian National Youth Federation, and the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada. As a director of the UNF Paul Yuzyk Institute for Youth Leadership he delivers the “Canada’s Parliament Education Forum” about how the government in Ottawa works.  Having served as one of the highest ranking Ukrainian Canadians in the federal Public Service, including serving two Cabinet Ministers of Multiculturalism, Paul continues to assist the Ukrainian Canadian Congress as Director, Government Relations.  Paul also provides leadership to the UCC Canada-Ukraine Advisory Committee which shares advice with the Government of Canada through meetings with Ministers of Cabinet and Senior Public Service Executives.

Paul has been a member of Plast, SUSK, the Kalyna Dance Ensemble, the Ukrainian Professional and Business Association, and the Ukrainian Catholic Church.  He is the author of “Ukrainian Canadian Youth: A History of Organizational Life in Canada”; a founder of the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association, and editor of “Sounds Canadian: Languages and Culture in Multi-ethnic Society”.

Paul has worked on many legislative and governance projects to ensure a Ukrainian Canadian leadership role within a multicultural Canada, as well to support Cabinet Ministers in the Government of Ukraine with recent public administration reforms. Whether in government, academia, or the community, he has strived to build the Ukrainian community in Canada.

Nestor Olynyk (Culture & Arts)

Nestor was born in Hamilton, Ontario on November 26, 1930.  He grew up in an environment that was centred around the church; he sang in the church choir and was an active member of C.Y.M.K. along with his 5 brothers and sisters. His father was a cantor, and served many years on parish council.

When the family moved to Toronto, in 1938, they became members of St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral. Nestor, at age 15, began singing in the church choir and conducted the C.Y.M.K choir.

As a teenager, he attended Harbord Collegiate where he played in the bugle band. Upon completion of high school, Nestor first attended The University of Toronto, where he received a degree in the Arts, and then at the Ontario College of Education for his Teaching Qualifications in Music, Mathematics and Science. During his studies there, he conducted the Ukrainian Club Students Choir for 2 years and performed Gilbert and Sullivan at OCE.

Upon graduation, in the 1950s and 1960s, he taught instrumental music, vocal and mathematics in Port Colbourne, North Bay, Hamilton and King City. During this time, he was very active in the Ukrainian communities.  Nestor began conducting church choirs in 1952 at St. Andrew’s and went on to conduct in Welland ‘55-’57, Hamilton ‘59-‘61, Oshawa ’61-’63 and in Toronto parishes – St. Demetrius ‘63-‘73, St. Andrew’s ‘81-‘88 and St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral ’74-’79 and ’88-’03.

During the five decades from 1960 to 2006, Nestor brought together, literally, hundreds of people to sing in various vocal ensembles including: 50th Anniversary (Ilarion) Youth Choir (a 150 voice youth choir and folk ensemble); The Ukrainian Orthodox Liturgical Singers; The Millennium 654 voice choir consisting of singers from across Canada culminating in a Liturgy and concert at Vic Copps Arena in Hamilton; The St. Andrew’s Mini Millennium 40 voice choir performing throughout British Columbia; Annual Eastern Eparchy Celebrations joint choirs in liturgies and concerts at the St.  Volodymyr Cultural Centre in Oakville; taught vocal and orchestra at Camp Kiev in Oakville; taught four church cantor’s courses; taught aspiring conductors the art of Orthodox liturgical singing techniques and conducting.

While working with the different choirs that he formed and conducted and recorded, Nestor found the time to: write 2 liturgies, psalms, chants, kondaks, many folk songs, in particular, from Shevchenko’s poem “Село” a vocal and orchestral composition entitled “ Чернобольська Мати” to name but a few.

In closing, Nestor Olynyk has worked with hundreds, if not thousands, of singers in both Church choirs and folk choirs throughout Eastern Canada and parts of Western Canada for over six decades. He has touched the hearts of many Ukrainian Canadians and others through his infectious enthusiasm and inspirational leadership, vision and love of singing for which many people are grateful. He has passed on his legacy to others to carry the torch of the beauty and great traditions of singing both Ukrainian Orthodox Liturgical a cappella singing and folk music.


Myroslava Pidhirna (Education)
Enrolled in the Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM) at a young age, Myroslava has remained an active member throughout her life; assuming progressively more challenging and responsible positions as youth counsellor, Camp Komendant, Head of the Youth Section and President of Winnipeg’s CYM Branch and its representative for 9 years to the National CYM Executive. From 2003 to 2011, Myroslava was president of the World Executive of CYM.

In addition, Myroslava has been a prominent member of many community boards and organizations, including: president of the Ukrainian Club at the University of Manitoba, board member of the Ukrainian Professional and Business Club of Toronto, member of local and national boards of the League of Ukrainian Canadians (LYK), board of the Canadian Ukrainian Institute Prosvita (Winnipeg) and for many years on local and national boards of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, where she was instrumental in establishing the joint Canada-Ukraine Advisory Council and was its first co-chair.

Myroslava is currently Vice President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress-Manitoba Provincial Council (UCC-MPC) and chaired its Shevchenko 200 Commemoration Committee.

Mary Howika-Pidkowich (Culture & Arts)
Mary Howika Pidkowich was born in Ukraine and arrived in Canada in 1938. She was raised and educated in Winnipeg, MB. Under John Waterhouse, Mary completed her AMM (1948) and ARCT (1949) diplomas in Violin, received many awards including the Silver Medal for Grade III Examination and was a violinist in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. She earned her Bachelor of Arts (1953) and Bachelor of Paedagogy (1954) degrees from the University of Manitoba. She hold numerous teaching certificates, including Kindergarten, ESL and Ukrainian School (Ridna Shkola) and became a Supervisor of Music from the Toronto Board of Education, specializing in vocal music, where she developed music programs taught in over 20 schools and lead music workshops for teachers.Mary taught for 25 years in Dauphin, MB and Toronto area school boards.

Since 1944, she became a member and held leadership positions in the Ukrainian National Youth Organization (MYNO), Ukrainian Canadian Women’s Council – Toronto Branch (President), Ukrainian Women’s Organization of Canada (UWO) [President],  1st Vice President of World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations (WFUWO) and was the first woman elected as National President of Ukrainian National Federation of Canada (UNF) and the Olzhych Foundation in Canada. She was a member of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA), Genocide Museum for All Canadians and many non-Ukrainian groups such as the Kiwanis Music Festival and President of Ladies Auxiliary to the Academy of Dentistry, University of Toronto.

Mary received awards from the City of Toronto and Government of Ontario for many years of volunteer community service and has writtem many articles (English and Ukrainian) on the importance and significance of Ukrainian culture and

She believes in the adage “cultural heritage is the soul of the people”. She hopes that all her efforts in organizing cultural activities, especially in educating young children and youth to learn about Ukrainian culture, played some part in shaping future generations to continue and develop respect for their Ukrainian cultural heritage. In 1958, Mary married Dr. Peter G. Pidkowich and together raised two children John and Anne and now enjoys two grandchildren William and Ivanka.

Markian Shwec (Community Development)
Markian Shwec has been a community leader for 30 years in Toronto and formerly in Montreal, and currently chairs EuroMaidan, and is also an Executive Member of UCC National and UCC Toronto.  Over the years, he has held numerous positions most notably in CYM and the UCC, where he has been at the forefront of supporting Ukraine.  Prior to Independence, he traveled to Ukraine to support fledgling democratic organizations. During the Orange Revolution, he led large scale rallies and initiated fundraising, which ultimately raised $1.5M.  Later, he was part of a small team of dedicated leaders that led and developed the early Election Observer Missions to Ukraine.  In recent years, Markian led EuroMaidan in Toronto, raising the profile of Ukraine’s Dignity Revolution at the Toronto and National levels and raising $1.3M in support for Ukraine. He has been recognized with several community awards, including the EuroMaidan Hetman Medal, The Award of Merit, and CYM’s 4th (highest) Level “Vychovnyk” Award.  Markian holds a Mechanical Engineering degree, an MBA and a CMA, and today is an executive at one of Canada’s leading software companies.  Along with his wife Lida Kulish, and their two sons Andriko and Mateyko, they are all actively involved in the Ukrainian Community in Toronto.

Yuri Shymko (Community Development)
Yuri Shymko is a former Canadian parliamentarian who served as both a federal Member of Parliament and Member of the Ontario Legislature. During his years in government, he initiated and coordinated the historic campaign for the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union, presenting “A Resolution for the Decolonization of the USSR” to the President of the U.N. General Assembly and all U.N. member states.

His 1986 Private Member’s Bill in the Ontario Legislature changed the infamously-named “Stalin Township” to “Hansen Township” in honour of Canadian Paralympian Rick Hansen and with his Private Members Resolution, Ontario became the first legislative body in Canada to issue an official proclamation on the Anniversary of the Independence Day of Ukraine. As President of the Ukrainian World Congress during the formative years of Ukraine’s independence, Mr. Shymko helped lead the Ukrainian community’s efforts to urge the Mulroney government to recognize the newly independent Ukrainian state. He served as Chair of the Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism, Member of the Immigration and Refugee Board, and Chair of the federal Board of Referees.

He is the recipient of many international awards, including The Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise from the President of Ukraine, the Medal of Gratitude bestowed by the Republic of Poland on behalf of the European Solidarity Centre, and inducted as Officier de L’Ordre de la Pléiade from the International Assembly of French Speaking Parliamentarians.

Mr. Shymko is currently President of the International Council in Support of Ukraine, an international NGO which promotes Ukraine’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic political, economic, military and defence sphere.

Orysia Paszczak Tracz (Culture & Arts)
Born in Germany after World War II. She grew up in New Jersey and  graduated in Political Science from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She has lived in Winnipeg since 1968.

Orysia is a writer, translator, consultant, and speaker on things Ukrainian, especially culture and ethnology. She has lectured across North America, Australia, and Ukraine. She has translated ten books from Ukrainian into English, and has written numerous articles for Canadian and American publications. She was the researcher for the internationally award-winning film Pysanka by Slavko Nowytski. Her book First Star I See Tonight: Ukrainian Christmas Traditions was published in December 2015. It is the first comprehensive English-language book on the subject.

Orysia’s column “The Things We Do” appears in The Ukrainian Weekly (Parsippany, NJ).  She leads an annual folk art and culture tour to Ukraine. She is retired from the University of Manitoba Libraries, and presents lectures at the McNally-Robinson Booksellers Community Classrooms in Winnipeg.

She was accepted into the Humber College Creative Writing Course in October 2014, and was awarded the Kobzar Scholarship through the Shevchenko Foundation. She received the Osvita Foundation 2013 Award (Manitoba).

Halya Lyps’ka Wilson (Community Development)
Halya Lyps’ka Wilson, has been active in the Calgary Ukrainian community in many roles. Her influence has extended to ACUA, the Ukrainian Radio Show “Radiyo Kalgari” on CJSW, Echoes of Ukraine TV, Calgary’s 3 parishes and their choirs for the annual Festival of Carols, Ukrainian Schools, CYM, Plast, the Ukrainian Canadian Professional & Business Association and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

As Past President of Calgary UCC she continues organizing cultural events, the Holodomor Commemorations, Shevchenko Concerts, Independence Day Celebrations, rallies and fundraisers for Calgary’s joint organization,”Support for Ukraine.” Halya has written articles for Ukrainian News and ACUA Vitae about events and artists in Calgary and maintains a regular email blast out of Calgary’s Community Calendar.

Her dedication to “Strength in Unity -В Єдності Наша Сила,” UCC’s vision statement, has awarded her the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal, the APC Hetman Award, the UCPBA Lifetime Achievement Award and CYM’s Years of Service Hramota. Organizing many city-wide initiatives, she has become known and respected by a broad spectrum of Calgarians across many generations, including recent Ukrainian immigrants. By nurturing leadership in others, Halya’s community building influence will be felt for years to come.

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