ISSUE 2 - JANUARY 9, 2019
Ukrainian Christmas Traditions
Among the many treasured Ukrainian Christmas traditions observed at this time of year, are those associated with the Christmas Eve Supper, known as Sviatiy Vechir (Holy Evening Supper), which brings us together to partake in special foods and begin the holiday with many customs that reach back to antiquity. The Ukrainian rituals of Christmas Eve are dedicated to God, to the welfare of the family, and to the remembrance of those we have lost. This includes the preparation of 12 dishes representing the 12 Apostles of Christ, excluding meat and dairy products. Likewise, it is customary to place wheat (known as didukh), garlic and coins under the table cloth to represent, respectively, a good harvest, health and prosperity. After fasting throughout the day, we anxiously await the first star to appear in the night sky, which symbolizes the Star of the Nativity, to invite us all to sit down to dinner. As we gather to break bread, we symbolically set an empty plate at an empty chair at the table to honor and remember those that are our dearly departed.
In this spirit, we recall some of the dear friends, colleagues, and others who passed in 2018, who were important to us, to the Foundation's work, Ukraine and U.S. - Ukraine relations.


April 12, 1945 - June 11, 2018 
Maria was an extraordinary woman. Quoting from the family obituary, "Maria lived a rewarding life devoted to family and friends, community service, intellectual interests, career, the arts and adventure."   Indeed she did all of that and I urge that you read the family's letter.   Another wonderful example of how many of our families fleeing from the Soviets, landed in the US, lived the American dream all the while honoring our heritage and roots in Ukraine.   

Our lives briefly intersected while in elementary school at Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic School in Chicago. I say briefly because while I ended up going to Josephinum High School still within the boundaries of the Ukrainian 'ghetto', Maria's adventurous spirit, intellectual curiosity took her to the very prestigious Immaculata High School near Lake Michigan. This I believe was the first step of her spreading her wings on her way to a very accomplished life. 
After high school my family and I moved to Arizona and so Maria's and my paths did not cross for some time.  But then Robert and I moved to Washington and for the time Maria, Lamar, daughter Nina and Maria's mother lived in Washington and connection was made again, especially when Nina interned at the Foundation. While I was aware of some of Maria's activities especially the fundraising efforts to save Saint Nicholas School, Saint Nicholas Cathedral, I would learn of other activities from their annual Christmas letter and now the family's letter.   
Daughter Nina, son-in-law Olivier, Maria and
husband Lamar (l to r)

Throughout the years our paths crossed no more than half a dozen times, we would see each other, catch up a bit but I always had the sense that I could never keep up with all that Maria undertook. Besides her time with family, career and community accomplishments, Maria and Lamar visited over 40 countries, and just a few months before her death they went hiking in Patagonia. Who does that? A woman who lived life to the fullest in every way. 
While I am sorry that we didn't get to spend much time together throughout the years, I always will remember her spirit, her distinctive voice and that wonderful contagious laugh. 
While the loss of any life is tragic, it seems a bit more so when it is the life of someone who lives a balanced life to the very fullest.  
So many causes, organizations benefited from her passionate support, including important Ukrainian institutions, that is why I was truly humbled and honored that the Brantley Family chose the US-Ukraine Foundation as the sole beneficiary of gifts in Maria's memory.
The Foundation is grateful for contributions made in Maria's memory which included those from: the Brantley Family, Reid Nagle, Halyna Traversa, Kasia's Deli, Victor B. Lebedovych, K.D. & E.H. Morrison Jr., Bohdan Balko & Christine Lucyk, Ihor & O. Jackiw, Richard & Marcia Welcome, Eugene & Maria Kovalsky, Kenneth Reich & Kathleen Kershek, and Monica McCue Hansen.
Nadia K. McConnell

IVAN DRACH , October 17, 1936 - June 19, 2018 

USUF President Nadia K. McConnell, Ivan Drach and USUF Board Chairman Roman Popadiuk
December 3, 2011

For previous remembrances by Robert McConnell, Marta Farion, 
Eleanor Fishel, Nadia McConnell, and Roman Popadiuk:  


Tatiana Lydia Demchuk, August 29, 1940 - July 26, 2018
The daughter of an architect and artist who escaped from war ravaged Ukraine in World War II, Tanya went on to become an award-winning journalist for leading U.S. publications, notably including The Washington Post, and a public relations specialist on Capitol Hill. During their time in Washington, Tanya and Walter were very involved in the Ukrainian American community, supporting the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church and other community organizations in many ways.  

But first and foremost she was devoted to Walter and to their daughters Luba and Tatiana.
Once a friend or colleague, one remained in her circle. Always thoughtful, one of her hobbies was to go to garage sales early Saturday mornings, focusing on jewelry. She had some wonderful finds but she also remembered others, our daughter Deanna was a beneficiary of some special  antique cat items.
In 1986, one of her former colleagues at US News and World Report alerted her that the editor David Gergen, despite knowing it was an error, made the decision that the cover would refer to the Chornobyl accident, as "Nightmare in Russia." A protest was organized in front of the news organizations building and David Gergen felt compelled to meet with the protesters.
Orest Deychakiwsky, Tanya Demchuk, Senator Dominici, Marta Cehelska, Eugene Ivanciw, and Nadia McConnell (l to r) 

She was a brilliant writer as well as a savvy lobbyist. As 2018, was the 85th  Commemoration of the Holodomor, it is fitting to recall and honor her contribution to the successful passage of the first Resolution passed by any government to acknowledge the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine. A resolution that led to other Congressional actions, establishing the Famine Commission, the authorization of the Holodomor monument and finally the resolutions recognizing the Holodomor as a genocide. 
In 1982, Washington Committee to Commemorate the Famine had a government relations subcommittee to work on   introducing a resolution in Congress to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Holodomor Famine in Ukraine.
Eugene Iwanciw,  Nadia McConnell, Senator Hollings, Marta Cehelska, Tanya Demchuk (l to r) 
That subcommittee morphed into the Ukraine Caucus, a nongovernmental entity. The Ukraine Caucus was comprised of Tanya Demchuk, Public Relation Specialist for the National Association of Independent Insurers, Marta Cehelska from the NSF who was detailed to Senator Hollings Office, Eugene Ivanciw, Director of UNA Washington, Orest Deychakiwsky of the Helsinki Commission, Robert McConnell, Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs and Nadia K. McConnell Director of Congressional Relations for FEMA. Our office and meeting place was the Monocle Restaurant. We even held a conference committee to reconcile the Resolution sponsored by Rep. Hamilton Fish (R-NY) and the one UCCA had helped to pass in the House.
Robert McConnell, Peter Rodina, (D-NJ), Jack Brooks (D-TX), Hamilton Fish (R- NY) and Robert Taft (R-OH) (l to r)
The resolution enjoyed bi-partisan support by being sponsored by Senators Hollings (D-SC) and Dominici (R-NM) in the Senate and as well as the one in the House by Rep. Hamilton Fish IV, whose father Rep. Hamilton Fish III first tried to gain recognition for the people of Ukraine during the famine with a resolution in the 1930s.  In 2013 the Foundation's Ukraine in Washington honored the contribution of Hamilton Fish III (click here).  
She will forever be remembered as a very generous friend and great mentor who helped me to become acclimated to Washington. I will always recall with fondness the experiences we shared since I came to Washington in 1981 to join FEMA. Her sweet, kind, loving nature that made her the truest of friends, along with her devilish sense of humor and abundance of curiosity that fueled her passion for life, will forever be missed. An essay she wrote at age 18 for her high school magazine she declared, "My greatest gift to society will be a brilliant essay on the folly of essay writing."
Oh, no, my friend, you are remembered for oh so much more.

Nadia K. McConnell

POWELL MOORE, January 5, 1938 - August 13, 2018
The Honorable Powell Moore, was from the beginning a friend of independent Ukraine and the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, always available to support and counsel. The Foundation's work with his alma mater University of Georgia in Athens since the late 90s provided multiple opportunities for his engagement with the Foundation. At the time of his death at age 80 Moore served on the National Security Task Force of the Foundation's Friends of Ukraine Network

During his long and respected career Moore knew and worked with the well-known and powerful but never became full of himself as he accomplished much without taking or seeking credit and without compromising his principles. I met Powell in very early 1981 as we both entered the Reagan Administration. Powell was the head of the President's Senate Liaison team and I was the head of the Department of Justice's Legislative Affairs office. As we managed the Senate confirmation of Justice O'Connor together, I soon learned Powell was a source of great wisdom, insights, and always willing to share.

Over the years since I cherished his friendship and was always reminded of his low-key and principled, behind the scenes way. We know of at least one instance when in private practice his principles related to a Ukrainian matter. The firm he was working with took on representation of a particularly odious Ukrainian oligarch and expected Moore to work the matter. He refused.

Powell Moore came to Washington from a small town in Georgia. After receiving his degree in journalism from the University of Georgia he joined the Army and, among other things, h e was stationed in West Germany and was present when the Berlin Wall was erected. After his tour in the Army he joined the United States Department of Justice as Deputy Director of Public Information and then in 1966 became press secretary for Senator Richard Russell (D-GA). In 1973 and 1974 Moore was Senior White House Legislative Aide under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. After a stint in the private sector Moore returned to the White House as Assistant to the President and head of President Reagan's Senate Liaison team. Later President Reagan nominated Moore to be Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs where he served through 1983. From 1998 to 2001 he was chief of staff to Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN). In 2001 President George W. Bush nominated Moore as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. Moore left the Department at the end of 2004 joining McKenna, Long & Aldridge but returned to public service in 2006 when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld named him as his representative to the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe. Finally in 2009 he again left government, joining Venable LLP.

Powell was a dear friend, a mentor and cherished colleague, and was always interested in the Foundation's work.

Bob McConnell

John Sidney McCain III
August 29, 1936 - August 25, 2018

John McCain was a lot of things-father, husband, senator, presidential candidate, fighter pilot, prisoner of war, and also, a friend of the people of Ukraine.
More importantly, he was also a champion of people around the world fighting for their freedom. That includes the people of Ukraine, who've endured a revolution and are fighting a war to achieve the liberty to chart their own future as a sovereign, democratic nation. 
As a sitting U.S. Senator for Arizona (R), John McCain was probably the most vocal supporter of the people of Ukraine during the Revolution of Dignity, addressing crowds on the Maidan in 2013 to affirm the United States' support for their cause. He continued to lead the charge well after, in the halls of Congress, for the U.S. to provide military assistance to Ukraine to fend off Russian oppression. 
Senator McCain visits with troops on the front lines in Ukraine.

John McCain's support for Ukraine went as far as visiting the front lines in the conflict in Donbass, which prompted Ukrainian troops to take action to honor him just days after his death by naming a street after him in the town of Krymske, Ukraine in recognition of his solidarity. Apparently, John McCain translates to "hero," so much so that Ukraine's president has taken steps to formalize the naming of "John McCain Street" in Kyiv.
Senator McCain, the people of the U.S. and the people of Ukraine salute you. The memory of your invaluable contribution to freedom will forever live in our hearts as the torch of liberty burns ever brighter for Ukraine because of you. 

John McCain addresses Ukrainian protesters in Kiev
John McCain addresses People of Ukraine during the Revolution of Dignity


Ukraine's 20th Anniversary of Independence Gala - President George H. W. Bush Video Greeting
USUF's Gala on the 20th Anniversary of Ukraine's Independence

GEORE H.W. BUSH, June 12, 1924 - November 30, 2018 

The Board of Directors and staff of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation conveyed their sympathy and condolences to the Bush family on the passing of President George H. W. Bush. President Bush distinguished himself with his strength of character, decency and dedication to public service. He stands as an inspiration to all Americans.

Presidents Bush and Kravchuk in the East Room of the White House  

His leadership helped liberate Kuwait, bring an end to the Cold War, led to the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union, the unification of Germany and a Europe whole and free. His recognition of the independence of Ukraine highlighted the historic aspirations of the Ukrainian people for freedom and membership in the community of nations and firmly placed the United States as a staunch supporter of Ukraine. After leaving office, President Bush continued to be a strong supporter of Ukraine as seen by his support of Foundation activities. His legacy of strong leadership at home and abroad is well recognized and greatly appreciated.

Presidents Bush and Kravchuk meet in Ukraine

Contact Information

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