UCU Grad Speaks at Wesleyan about Rebuilding

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
On February 20th, Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) alumnus Yurko Didula was invited to be a featured speaker at a public forum commemorating the 4th Anniversary of the Euromaidan Revolution of Dignity, held at the Memorial Chapel on the campus of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.   The program, entitled “This side of the Curtain: Ukrainian Resistance in Uncertain Times,” began with a panel discussion that reviewed the impact of the Revolution, and the invasion of eastern Ukraine by Russian forces.   In 2014, shortly after graduating from UCU, Yurko worked with his friends to launch a campaign entitled “Building Ukraine Together” (Будуймо Україну Разом – БУР/BUR) that has mobilized hundreds of volunteers across Ukraine to rebuild homes in Slaviansk and Kramatorsk that were damaged in the fighting between Russian mercenaries and Ukrainian government forces.  BUR has now expanded to thirteen cities where in addition to reconstruction programs the volunteers are creating community centers and “Freedom Houses” to promote civil society, community development and reconciliation.  
 
Two days later, on February 22nd, Didula also addressed an audience of young activists hosted by “Razom for Ukraine” at the Taras Shevchenko Scientific Society in New York City.  In each of these presentations, Yurko gave recognition to his alma mater for providing him with some of the key training and strategic planning skills that enabled him to take on such an ambitious program.  He also thanked Bishop Borys Gudziak, President and co-founder of UCU, for developing the student exchange program entitled “Easter Together” that brought together students from eastern and western Ukrainian universities, to help build understanding and counter  regional stereotypes.  “This program helped us to create lasting friendships that later enabled us to maintain solidarity during the Maidan Revolution, to dispel disinformation and rumors, and to promote interfaith and inter-ethnic harmony.”  
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