In Their Own Words: Stories About Dr. Roman Petryshyn
In order to build a multi-dimensional picture of Dr. Petryshyn's impact on the local and global Ukrainian community, we interviewed a selection of his friends and colleagues. The recorded interviews are available below.
Dr. Oleksandr Pankieiev
Research Co-ordinator and Editor-in-Chief, Forum for Ukrainian Studies, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies
President, Alberta Society for the Advancement of Ukrainian Studies (ASAUS)
Vice President, Alberta Local and International Education Association (ALIEA)
Dr. Oleksandr Pankieiev situates himself as a member of the fifth wave of immigration to Canada while reflecting on the impact of Dr. Roman Petryshyn’s work in the local and global Ukrainian community. He discusses Dr. Petryshyn’s collaborative and project-oriented approach to community building by providing an overview of the projects Dr. Petryshyn has undertaken in collaboration with Ukrainian universities and institutions throughout the 2000s.
Dr. Pankieiev describes in detail the first project he worked on with Dr. Petryshyn—The Contemporary Ukraine Research Forum. This project was initiated in response to the everchanging events and needs of the Ukrainian community during and following the Revolution of Dignity in 2013-2014. The interview highlights the breadth of Dr. Petryshyn’s work and his commitment to solidarity and capacity building in Ukraine.
Dr. Bohdan Krawchenko
Current Dean of The Graduate School of Development, University of Central Asia, Kyrgyz Republic
Former director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies 1986-1991
Dr. Bohdan Krawchenko provides an overview of the history of Ukrainian Canadian student activism in the 1960s-70s through his intertwined experiences with Dr. Petryshyn. He discusses how this group of progressive, liberal-minded, and left leaning students exemplified a dedication both to the development of the Ukrainian Canadian community and the fate of Ukraine both during the Soviet period and following Independence in 1991.
During the interview, Dr. Krawchenko reflects on the ongoing significance and pertinence of Dr. Petryshyn’s work on multiculturalism. For example, he suggests that Dr. Petryshyn advocates for a model of multiculturalism whereby ethnic groups should not conform to the culture of a host country, but rather argues that nations are inherently composed of diverse ethnic groups and the presence and contributions of these groups are integral to what the nation is at any given moment.
Dr. Krawchenko celebrates Dr. Petryshyn’s commitment and community-development approach to the Ukrainian Canadian community. He particularly emphasizes how Dr. Petryshyn recognized the Ukrainian Canadian community as a contemporary, vibrant, and dynamic entity and a worthy area of study.
Esteemed Ukrainian Canadian creative non-fiction writer
Myrna Kostash paints a picture of Dr. Roman Petryshyn as a gentle, yet determined and persistent individual who never hesitated to make an idea a reality. She reflects upon meeting Dr. Petryshyn and a group of like minded Ukrainian Canadian individuals in the late 1970s—people who she describes as her “soul-mates”. Together, these individuals formed the Hromada Cultural Group, which went on to form the socialist, feminist Hromada Ukrainian Housing Co-op with the support of Dr. Petryshyn and his wife Marusia.
During the interview, Kostash reads aloud excerpts from an interview she conducted with Petryshyn in 1977 for Chatelaine Magazine. The 1977 interview exemplifies Dr. Petryshyn’s position on multiculturalism as it developed in response to Quebec separatism. This article can be found online through MacEwan Library databases. See the citation on the following page of this website.
Kostash and Petryshyn have found intellectual synergy in their most recent work: reflection on Indigenous-Ukrainian relations in the past, present, and future. Kostash explores how they have approached this topic in their respective disciplines and the work they hope to complete in collaboration with younger generations.
Dr. Ihor Kobel
Chair of Services for Students with Disabilities, Associate Professor Department of Social Work, Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv, Ukraine
Research in Special Education and Deaf Studies
Dr. Ihor Kobel illustrates how Dr. Roman Petryshyn has worked as a facilitator of diverse, multidisciplinary projects in Ukraine in an interview coloured with short anecdotes, fond recollections, and funny stories. He provides an overview of Dr. Petryshyn’s foray into deaf studies and inclusive education—projects initiated after Dr. Petryshyn and Dr. Kobel met in the late 1990s. Dr. Kobel describes how Dr. Petryshyn facilitated the exchange of professionals and technology from Canada to Ukraine and helped build a team of specialists to work with Ukrainian educational centres. Through this process, Dr. Petryshyn established The Canada-Ukraine Alliance for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (CUADHHP), currently known as the Alberta Local and International Education Association (ALIEA). Dr. Kobel explores the wide-ranging impact of both the CUADHHP and the Inclusive Education in Ukraine project at the social and legislative levels.
Dr. Kobel emphasizes how Dr. Petryshyn always strove to work with educational institutions in Ukraine to help them achieve their goals and build capacity in the local context. Dr. Petryshyn never imposed Western systems and methods on his Ukrainian counterparts, but rather fostered partnership, understanding, and support. He states that Dr. Petryshyn always led with his heart. Dr. Kobel continued working with URDC even after Dr. Petryshyn’s retirement and emphasizes the importance of contemporary URDC projects to both the deaf community and higher education in Ukraine.