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Day at The Ukrainian Museum and Archives

On Tuesday, March 21st, we went to the Ukrainian Museum and Archives on Kenilworth in Tremont to attend at reception put on by the Museum and "Global Ties Akron" to welcome a delegation of five Ukrainian women who were visiting Northeast Ohio as participants of Congress' Open World Leadership Center. All of these women were involved in humanitarian activities to assist the internally displaced persons (IDP's) who had to leave those homes in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine as a result of Russian intervention in the homelands.

We have nothing but respect for these women who were Ms. Yana Yevhenivna Liubymova, Ms. Vira Myhailivna Lebedieva, Ms. Alisa Andriivna Vienievtseva, Ms. Olena Valentynivna Lunova, and Ms. Mariia Volodymyrivna Putskova because they were doing the best that they could to deal with a extremely tough set of circumstances mostly relying on volunteer assistance.

We talked with Ms. Michelle Wilson, Executive Director of "Global Ties Akron" who was very kind and shared with us her notes about the project whose official purpose is:

"Due to Russia's annexation of Crimea and the hostilities in the South and East of Ukraine, there has been a significant increase in the number of refugees and IDP's (more than 1.3 million with a significant number of these IDP's being Crimean Tatars) that are in great need of relocation strategies, sustenance, and psychological support. The Open World host for this programming will demonstrate U.S. policy toward refugees and IDP's, and will openly discuss the debate in this country regarding policy and implementation issues, with the goal of sharing the best practices and finding commonality in response to this issue in both countries."

The delegation arrived in Northeast Ohio on Friday, March 17th and is scheduled to leave on Friday, March 24th. While they are here they will meet/or have already met with representatives from such organizations as the International Institute of Akron, the Refugee Empowerment Agricultural Program (REAP) an initiative of the Refugee Response, Building Hope in the City, Asian Services in Action, and the Immigration Legal Clinic at the University of Akron.

We were pleased that Mr. Richard Drucker of "Margaret W. Wong and Associates" took time out of his busy schedule to come to the Museum on Tuesday evening to see if his knowledge of immigration law could be of help. Also attending was Ms. Leah Jones from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown's office who shared with us a letter of welcome from the Senator. We visited for a few minutes with Ms. Debbie Kroupa, Assistant Director of Programs for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio, who told us of the very successful meeting that the delegation had with several of the Scouts and a video conference that the U.S. Scouts had had with their counterparts in Eastern Europe.

We were very honored when Mr. Andy Fedynsky, who presided over the program that night at the Museum, acknowledged that "Margaret W. Wong and Associates" had sent representatives. We then talked for a long time with Mr. Pete Fedynsky, Andy's brother, who had lived in Russia for a several years about the internal politics of Russia and the Ukraine and the circumstances that were fueling the conflict.

Above all, as Ms. Wilson told us, the delegation was here to learn from us as to how we help refugees get adjusted to their surroundings and to start life anew. They sought to do a compare and contrast; both sides would learn from each other and all programs would be strengthened.

By:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC