June 11, 2018
(Chicago) Two fundraising events in Chicago and New York raised $100,000 on May 5 and 6 to support National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”. Funds were raised for the budget of the next stage of development of the Digital University Project – a unified, integrated university information environment that services educational, research, and administrative activities using contemporary technology and systems.
Young leaders inspired audiences
The Ukrainian Cultural Center in Chicago and the Ukrainian Institute of America co-hosted the gala events providing their impressive venues. Audiences and donors reinforced community support for the goals and work of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in educating a new generation of leaders that believe in the values and reforms needed for building Ukraine as a European nation.
The roster of speakers included a group of young leaders who inspired the audience with their TED-style talks. Special guest, Dr. Ulana Suprun, Ukraine’s Acting Minister of Health, flew to the United States to support the university and national reforms. She spoke of the need to reform medical education for doctors, nurses, and public health providers, and of the necessary anticorruption reforms for the health industry as a whole. The guests greeted Ms. Suprun with standing ovations and lengthy periods of applause.
In acknowledgement of the university’s far-reaching impact, all the other speakers were alumni of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, and represent a new generation of leaders of Ukraine.
The list of speakers included Olexandr Starodubtsev (KMBS MBA 2007), co-founder of ProZorro, the national public e-procurement system and head of the Department of Public Procurement Regulation of Ukraine, who is now at Stanford University and returning to Ukraine to continue his work in national reforms;
Ruslan Petrychka, (Political Science 1999, Journalism 2003), TV producer, News Anchor at Voice of America, member of the board of Kyiv-Mohyla Foundation;
Lyuba Shipovych (Information Technology 2007), co-founder of Razom for Ukraine, former director of the Investment Department and chief of IT at Odesa Oblast Administration;
Maria Berlinska (History, Judaica 2015), volunteer in Ukraine’s Armed Forces, producer of the film “Invisible Battalion” about women in Ukraine’s military, leader on the use of drones in the military conflict in eastern Ukraine; Oksana Ivantsiv (KMA School of Law 2010) – executive producer of the film “Invisible Battalion”;
Lubomyr Boychuk (Information Technology 2005) – vice-president of sales and corporate development of the InfoPulse (ІнфоПульс), who travelled from Ukraine especially to attend the fundraisers in the U.S.
All the speakers emphasized how Kyiv-Mohyla Academy determined the course of their lives, instilled the values of unity, and helped define their identity and unique purpose in life. Without previous coordination, they all emphasized the long-term value of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy for development of Ukraine, and the need to invest in the university’s growth and education programs.
The speakers shared deeply moving and personal accounts on what it is like to lead change in Ukraine, whether it be greater transparency in public procurement thanks to ProZorro, or the leading role of the internationally recognized StopFake project in debunking fake news and misinformation all around the world, or the humanitarian aid that reaches the farthest corners of Ukraine through the efforts of RAZOM.
Maria Berlinska and Oksana Ivantsiv were joined by their colleagues from the Ukrainian military Yulia Matvienko, an active sniper, and Andriana Susak, a veteran. The four women toured Canada and the United States with the premier of their new film “Invisible Battalion”, that has initiated legislative change on the status of women in the military to guarantee equal rights of women serving their country in the war between Russia and Ukraine. The stories of their personal journeys from student-life to soldier-volunteers, evoked overwhelming applause and support.
Julian Hayda, producer of the major radio program “Worldview” on WBEZ public radio, hosted the Chicago event as master of ceremonies. As a radio journalist, Julian visited Kyiv-Mohyla School of Journalism on numerous occasions. Today he keeps his listeners well informed about Ukraine, Russia and international relations.
The events had a music component as well. In Chicago, the exceptional Chamber Quartet KAIA, musicians in residence at WFMT, Chicago’s classical music station, opened the program with three compositions. The singer Anastasia Prikhodko ended the New York program with her unique performance underscored by her strong low alto voice. In 2007, Prikhodko won the Russian song contest “Factory of Stars”, but since the beginning of the Russian military aggression in Ukraine in 2014, she stopped touring in Russia, and performs for the Ukrainian soldiers in the Donbas area of hostilities.
In the spirit of support and fundraising, Turkish Airlines donated two round-trip tickets Chicago-Kyiv for the Chicago event, and in New York artist Ola Rondyak donated a painting titled “From Berlin to Kyiv”. Each generous gift was sold at a raffle conducted during the events. The enthusiasm and generosity of these donors, and the major donations of Chicago’s Heritage Foundation and Selfreliance Foundation, along with the generosity of Selfreliance (NY) Federal Credit Union, anonymous donors and all the individuals who generously purchased tickets, contributed their time and made further gifts, provided optimism for the future.
The combination of captivating speakers, professional unique musicians, and appealing settings created a warm ambience and produced a distinct sense of unity between the speakers and the guests. Each fundraiser captured the excitement, camaraderie, and that special bond of the Kyiv-Mohyla family, known to all the alumni, students, administration, and friends as “Mohyliantsi”. At the same time, and once again, we have witnessed the power of the community that is the Ukrainian diaspora and friends. Truly, great things can be achieved when we gather our ideas and our passion and drive forward to a shared purpose.
President, Kyiv-Mohyla Foundation