AUGB CHAIR'S BLOG - AS WE MOVE TOWARDS THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

29.06.18


Well it seems I have broken my New Year’s resolution! It has been longer than a month since my last blog. That is not to say there has been nothing to report. On the contrary we have been very busy. 

 

Firstly. I would like to thank all those who commented/liked our FB post on my re-election as Chair of AUGB for another term. I am very humbled by your support and kind messages. 

 

Since our last blog a number of things have happened. GDPR has kicked in and we have survived! All branches are now using their AUGB email address with most of the membership completing our compliance survey on how or if they wish to be notified on AUGB matters at branch and national levels. At head office, work continues on the database, calendar and other essential reforms needed to keep our organisation compliant. 

 

Our CEO Fedir had the pleasure of greeting a group of students from University College London’s Global Citizenship Programme. They were particularly keen to learn more about the AUGB and its history and activities. Other visitors and speakers included Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, and Olena Osmolovska, who together with her colleagues is doing some pioneering work in promoting Ukrainian inclusive literature for children.

 

Mr Andiry Parubiy, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada visited the UK and we had the opportunity to hear him speak at Portcullis House on how Ukraine is changing, in particular the new anti-corruption bill and the team tasked in cleaning up this long standing problem. Mr Parubiy also visited the Scottish parliament, finding time to visit the Ukrainian community in Edinburgh and lay flowers at the Holodomor memorial just off Royal Terrace. 

 

Plans for this year’s 85th Anniversary of the Holodomor are progressing with events being organised thoughout the country. The Essay completion is still running so those eligible who have not yet entered please do so before the closing date (20th July 2018). Full information is on the AUGB website under ‘Holodomor Essay Prize 2018’

 

Our AGM took place on 16 June 2018 hosted by AUGB Leeds Branch. There were some good debates and constructive suggestions put forward for the newly elected board to consider. We thank Branch Chair Olya Callaghan and all her team for their kind hospitality and making us all feel very welcome. For most delegates and myself this was our first visit to AUGB Leeds Branch but I am sure not our last. This was the first year that the AUGB produced its Annual Report in yearbook form, which included reports not just by central office but also by branches and fellow organisations, Association of Ukrainian Women and Association of Ukrainian Teachers. Copies were given to all delegates at the AGM and should be available for everyone to see at their local branch, but if you would like a copy of this very detailed and informative report, it is available to buy from our gift shop www.augb.co.uk. We intend to develop this format for the future so that the annual report is a real showcase and historical printed record of the work done by all our community volunteers all over the country, as well as highlighting the work that goes on, often unseen, behind the scenes at AUGB HQ. As always, your feedback is welcome. 

 

The World Cup has commenced! What I have noticed is that the word Russia has been missed out by some reporters/commentators who only refer to it as the FIFA World Cup. We have all seen and shared cover photos in various forms showing the other side of this propaganda circus, including a big surge in highlighting the number of political prisoners Mr Putin has incarcerated on trumped up charges with the aid of kangaroo courts. We can only continue to push the message out there in any way we can until this charade comes to an end in July when Mr Putin’s normal agenda of business will resume.  The Red Card Campaign has come late and has not had the impact anticipated but there has been little help from Ukraine itself who has openly advertised the event on TV and on bill boards. To quote the Ukrainian Minister for Sport “you cannot mix politics and sport”. Did anyone advise Mr Putin of this? Mr Parubiy also missed a window of opportunity on his visit to the UK to highlight this. We can and should keep the pressure on right up to the final, leaving our mark to further discredit Mr Putin and those who support his corrupt autocracy.

 

Most recently, it has been announced that Presidents Trump and Putin will meet in Helsinki – ironically on the anniversary of the shooting down of MH17 by Russian forces. While the EU has extended sanctions against Russia, this is nevertheless a worrying time, as right wing governments in the EU appear to be supporting a rapprochment with Russia – which makes it even more important that we continue to play our part in reminding politicians of the consequences of the Russian government’s continued war against Ukraine.

 

This weekend I will be in Bradford to join their celebrations of 70 years of the Ukrainian community, ‘Proud to be BD’, which promises to be a great event. 

 

I will try to resume normal service and blog more regularly. There is much going on and much planned, so there will be plenty to talk about! 

 

Petro Rewko

AUGB Chair




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