The Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre (URDC)
The Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre (URDC) was launched on April 21, 1988 under the leadership of Dr. Roman Petryshyn at what was formerly Grant MacEwan Community College, currently MacEwan University. Dr. Petryshyn established URDC to advocate for and support the unique needs of the Ukrainian Canadian community at the post-secondary level. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and declaration of Ukrainian independence in 1991, it became clear to Dr. Petryshyn that URDC could now further connect MacEwan University with Ukraine. Dr. Petryshyn initiated a wide range of multidisciplinary projects that spanned the arts, business, agriculture, nursing, and inclusive education fostering partnerships between Canada and Ukraine that exist to this day. Learn more about Dr. Petryshyn’s work with URDC in Chapter 1 of Local Narratives.
URDC has continued this trajectory under the current director Larisa Hayduk by fostering initiatives that promote community development, intercultural dialogue, and relationship building. Our main Ukrainian partners include: Ternopil National Medical University, Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv, National University Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Kyiv, and Mykola Lysenko Music Academy, Lviv. Relationships with institutions and organizations in Ukraine are further strengthened by the work of MacEwan faculty, including in the positions of two endowed chairs within URDC: The Peter and Doris Kule Chair in Ukrainian Community and International Development and The Chair of International Health.
URDC initiatives span from academic courses and research, faculty and student exchanges, student-led projects, and presentations. Many are interdisciplinary in nature and engage scholars from MacEwan, other Canadian, and Ukrainian universities. Major projects include: the Canada Ukraine Model UN between MacEwan, UCU, and NaUKMA and the Indigenous Ukrainian Relationship Building Initiative--a collaboration with The Kule Folklore Centre, University of Alberta, and local authors and scholars Myrna Kostash, Chelsea Vowel, and Leah Hrycun.
We regularly collaborate with the local Ukrainian Canadian community to organize events, programming, and provide appropriate support. Notable examples include:
- A collaboration with The Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts for Threads that Connect: A Year-long Celebration of Ukrainian Textiles and Embroidery
- A collaboration with The Alberta Local and International Education Association (ALIEA)to co-produce the documentary Mentoring Eternal Optimism: Dr. Ehor William Gauk.This project is featured on Chapter three of the Local Narratives website.
- A collaboration with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Alberta Provincial Council to create a website for people fleeing the war in Ukraine. To compose the content for the website in an uncertain and unstable time, URDC worked closely with several community stakeholders. The website is available here.
Our Primary Investigator: Kalyna Somchynsky
Local Narratives is led by URDC’s newest staff member—researcher Kalyna Somchynsky. Somchynsky completed her Master of Arts in the History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture from the University of Alberta in 2020. She has a background in Ukrainian studies and has researched contemporary feminist art in Ukraine and how artists explore the body, labour, and conflict within their work. Somchynsky is passionate about finding innovative ways to bring academic research to public audiences and has done so in the past by organizing lectures on feminist art in collaboration with Ukrainian Canadian community organizations such as the Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts and Oseredok Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre.
Somchynsky brings her experience conducting interviews with artists both in Ukraine and Canada to the Local Narratives project. She has conducted all the interviews that were organized under the leadership of URDC, researched the history of Ukrainian Canadians in Edmonton and their respective contributions, and composed the narrative text included on this website. Somchynsky is working as a liaison with community organizations conducting similar research projects to lend her expertise, feature their projects on the Local Narratives website, and facilitate the preservation of research materials at The MacEwan University Archives.
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