Event series to promote, strengthen relationship between Penn State and Ukraine

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A series of lectures and performances, hosted by the College of Agricultural Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts at Penn State, will commemorate the 25th anniversary of both Ukrainian independence and the University's partnership with Ukraine in 2016 and 2017.

Titled "Ukraine: A Celebration of Nation," the series will include lectures, roundtables, readings and performances from Ukrainian scholars, artists and writers from the United States, Ukraine and several other countries. A full schedule can be found on the series website.

The first event took place on Sept. 14, when Solomiya Ivakhiv, a violin and viola professor at the University of Connecticut, performed "Ukraine — Journey to Freedom: A Century of Classical Music for Violin and Piano." The recital and an accompanying masterclass were co-sponsored by the Penn State School of Music and the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literature in the College of Liberal Arts.

On Oct. 28, Sergiy Zibtsev, laureate of the GCI/UNEP/OCHA Green Star Award and head of the Regional Eastern European Fire Monitoring Center at the Institute of Forestry and Landscape-Park Management, National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine in Kyiv, will deliver a lecture, "The Risk of Catastrophic Fire in the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone of Ukraine," from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in 118 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building. The presentation will be followed by a roundtable discussion.

Also on Oct. 28, Serhii Plokhii, Mykhailo S. Hrushevs'kyi Professor of Ukrainian History and director at the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University, will give a distinguished lecture, "What's Past is Prologue: The Ukraine Crisis in the Historical Perspective," from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in 124 Sparks Building.

The series culmination will be a performance by DakhaBrakha, a world music quartet from Kyiv, at 7:30 p.m. on April 4, 2017, in Schwab Auditorium.

The College of Agricultural Sciences has had a long-standing relationship with partners in Ukraine, thanks in large part to the generosity of real estate developers Helen and Alex Woskob of State College. The relationship dates back to 1992, when the Woskobs established the Ukrainian Agricultural Exchange Program, enabling collaboration between the College of Agricultural Sciences and partners in Ukraine.

Since, the Woskobs have made multiple contributions to Penn State, including the Woskob New Century Fund and the Woskob International Research in Agriculture Scholar Program in the College of Agricultural Sciences, and the Woskob Family Endowment in Ukrainian Studies in the College of Liberal Arts.

Funds also support a variety of programs focused on the exchange of faculty, researchers and scientists between the two universities; joint seminars and academic meetings; cultural exchange activities; joint international training courses, programs and projects; joint consultation; and collaborative education, research and extension activities.

The goal of Penn State's Ukraine programs is to promote awareness at the University and among Americans about Ukraine's contributions to the arts and sciences and the success of the nation's partnership in the quarter century since independence was declared.

In October 2016, Rick Roush, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, traveled to Ukraine with Yurij Bihun, Ukraine program adviser, and members of the Woskob family to meet with U.S. Embassy officials and key partners and conduct site visits. He also visited the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine in Kyiv and issued an invitation to the university's president to visit Penn State.

"Ukraine has been a strong ally for the College of Ag Sciences since 1992. We commend the Woskob family for their invaluable contributions to international agriculture, to our community, to the arts and to Ukrainian studies at Penn State," Roush said.

"The opportunity to promote joint research in the agricultural sciences with Ukraine partners is a wonderful opportunity for us," said Deanna Behring, director of international programs for the college. "As the breadbasket of Europe, Ukraine has always played an important role, and its climate is similar to Pennsylvania, which makes it an ideal place to study how soil quality, weather and other factors impact agriculture in a way that is especially useful at home."

For more information, contact Behring at 814-863-0249 or dmb37@psu.edu.

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Last Updated October 25, 2016