Finding a Way Forward in Ukraine: Reform Vs Inertia in Democratizing Government and Society

DAY 1 November 15


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 Keynote I

 8:10- 9:10

Ammon Cheskin  (University of Glasgow)

Studying Ukraine without emotional baggage: reflections of a cognitively and emotionally biased scholar


 Panel 1

9:10 – 9:50

Innovations and Challenges in Higher Education

Peter Szyszlo (University of Ottawa)

“Mapping the Borderland of the Knowledge Society: Strategic Global Partnerships and Organizational Responses of Universities in Transition.”

Tamara Martsenyuk (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy)

“Internationalization of Ukrainian higher education? Choices and motivation of Ukrainians to study abroad.”

9:50 – 10:00 Discussant: Dr. Jeff Stepnisky (MacEwan University)

 Panel 2

 10:00 – 11:00

Transformations and Reform in Higher Education


Roman Petryshyn (University of Alberta)

“The Impact of Geopolitical and Military Parameters on Inclusive Education in Crimea.”

Anna Vorobyova  (Lviv School of Public Health, Ukrainian Catholic University)

“Democratizing Public Health Education in Ukraine.”

Svitlana Oksamytna (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy)

“Educational Inequality in Ukraine: Social Determinants of Transitions to Higher Education”

11:00 – 11:10 Discussant: Dr. Jerry Kachur (University of Alberta)


Panel 3


Democratic Developments and Reform

Bohdan Harasymiw (University of Alberta)

“Anticorruption Policy Meets Patronal Politics: The Case of Ukraine.”

 Alexandra Novitchkova (Political Science Department, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy )

“Civil society as an actor in the process of democratic development in Ukraine.”

Oleh Orlov (Institute of Special Education of the National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine)

“Ukrainian Health Care and Education Trends After the Revolution  of 2014: an Analysis of Parliamentary Discourse and Policy Change.”

 12:10 – 12:20 Discussant: Dr. Jerry Kachur (University of Alberta)


12:20-12:50 Volodymyr Kulyk (Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine)

“Language Trends in Ukraine”




Closing comments

12:50 -1:05


 DAY 2 November 16



 Presentation of 3MT and White Paper awards


  Keynote II



Curt Woolhiser (Brandeis University)

Reversing Language Shift in Belarus and Ukraine: Social Identities, Ideological Stances and Language Practices of “New Speakers” of Belarusian and Ukrainian


  Panel 4


Language Practices, Attitudes and Identities


Marieke Droogsma (Leiden University)

“Recent developments in the use of and attitudes towards the Ukrainian and Russian languages in Ukraine.”

Alla Nedashkivska (University of Alberta)

“Language Transformations and Attitudes in the Newest Ukrainian Diaspora in Canada: Identity in Interaction.”

Oleksii Shestakovskii (Independent Researcher) and Olenka Bilash (University of Alberta)

“Between Official Ukrainian and Resistant Russian.”

Stephen Bahry (University of Toronto)

“Ukrainian Language External Independent Test Scores in Provinces with Significant Non-Ukrainian Mother Tongue Populations.”

10:55-11:10 Discussant: Dr. Olena Morozova




Panel 5

11:10– 12:10

Human Rights

Linda Reif (University of Alberta)

Comparing National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in Post-Soviet Ukraine, Estonia, Poland, Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina.” 

Brandyn Rodgerson (University of Alberta)

“A Comparative Analysis between Ukraine’s Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights and the Alberta Human Rights Commission.”

Anastasia Salnykova (Lviv School of Public Health, Ukrainian Catholic University)

“Negative Human Rights in Public Health: the Case of Ukraine.”

12:10 – 12:20 Discussant: Ms. Ruby Swanson


Closing comments





 (in alphabetical order)


Stephen Bahry

University of Toronto

“Ukrainian Language External Independent Test Scores in Provinces with Significant Non-Ukrainian Mother Tongue Populations:  A Comparative Case Study of Zakarpats’ka (Hungarian), Chernivets’ka (Moldavian/Romanian); Donets’ka & Luhans’ka (Russian) Provinces.”

Abstract: This paper builds on Bahry (2016) which examined readiness of secondary graduates in Ukraine for Ukrainian-medium post-secondary study based on scores on the compulsory secondary school graduation exams known as External Independent Tests (EIT), which also serve as university entrance examinations. This paper focuses on EIT scores in Ukrainian Language and Literature in four Provinces with large Non-Ukrainian Mother Tongue populations. The paper builds on several previous studies: Kulyk (2013), a detailed study of several schools with large numbers of Hungarian-speaking students in Transcarpathia and with important numbers of Crimean Tatar students in Crimea; Goodman (2009) on the ecology of languages in Ukraine; and Bahry 2016), which compared oblast level EIT data on Ukrainian Language and Literature Test results for 2012. Bahry identified provinces whose students performed above, below or at the national mean and noted that three of the provinces with the lowest performance on the Ukrainian language and literature EIT, had significant non-Ukrainian-mother tongue and/or preferred language: Zakarpats’ka (Hungarian), Chernivets’ka (Moldavian/Romanian); Luhans’ka (Russian) Provinces.

The purpose of this paper is to examine these four oblasts in detail town by town; raion by raion to determine whether the trend of scores is consistent across the province or localized by town and/or raion. Research on monolingual minority language education, and submersive versus additive bilingual education models suggests that language minority students educated in the mother tongue alone, or receiving subversive second language education with no mother tongue-medium education are relatively unlikely to develop strong proficiency in the second language. At the same time, a weaker form of bilingual education, mixed bilingual education, whereby second language instruction is supplemented by first language oral explanation should produce more second language proficiency than second language submersion. In addition, arguments have been made that strongly developed academic literacy in the mother tongue supports transfer of academic proficiency to a second language (Cummins, 2008; May, 2008; Thomas & Collier, 2002). Thus, where students in minority language districts exhibit scores above or at the national mean, one might infer that they have developed strong first language academic proficiency which during Ukrainian-medium instruction supported development of Ukrainian academic proficiency. Similarly, where students in minority language districts exhibit scores below the national mean, one might infer that they had either been instructed monolingually in the mother tongue with little or no use of Ukrainian-medium instruction besides language as a subject, or to have been submersed in Ukrainian from with little or no development of mother tongue academic literacy in early grades to support development of second language academic literacy in Ukrainian. Preliminary analysis at the raion level of Chernivets’ka province finds no simple relationship of significant numbers of non-Ukrainian language groups with performance on Ukrainian language EIT scores with some Moldavian/Romanian dominant raions showing below mean performance with one raion at the national mean, suggesting differences in curriculum & pedagogy and family literacy practices among raions. A similar analysis of results in Zakarpats’ka province can be checked against Kulyk’s account of schools in that province, while below mean results in Luhans’ka oblast will be checked against at mean scores in Donets’ka oblast, both of which are predominantly Russian-speaking provinces.

The paper concludes with arguments for implementation of strong models of minority-Ukrainian bilingual education both on the grounds of assuring minority language rights and identity development and also on the grounds of supporting stronger learning of the state language, Ukrainian, supportive of participation in Ukrainian-medium higher education and of ability to participate in public life in the Ukrainian language.

Biography: Stephen Bahry became biliterate at a Maple Leafs-Moscow Red Army exhibition game when his father wrote out on the program the visiting players’ names in Ukrainian. His doctoral dissertation from OISE, University of Toronto, Perspectives on quality in minority education in China: The case of Sunan Yughur Autonomous County, Gansu, China examined perspectives of stakeholders’ quality education and inclusion of minority language and culture in education in a minority district facing language endangerment. He has published on issues of equity, diversity, language and quality in education in Afghanistan, Central Asia, Iran and northwest China.  Recent publications include “Development of what, for what, and for whom? Deweyan perspectives on education for minority nationalities in western China”, “­Language Ecology: Understanding Central Asian Multilingualism”, and “Multilingual Education in China and Central Asia and its relevance to Iran”. He is currently working on globalization of language and education in Central Asia and the geography of literacy in Toronto.


Olenka Bilash

University of Alberta

Biography: Olenka Bilash is the Principal Investigator of the Research Initiative on Democratic Reforms in Ukraine (RIDRU) and a Professor of Secondary Education in the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta. Dr. Bilash also serves as Senior Advisor to the Ukrainian Language Education Centre (ULEC), Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS), and was Co-Director of the Contemporary Ukraine Research Forum (CURF, 2014). Dr. Bilash is the North American representative to Linguapax, an organization that examines and advocates for plurilingualism, multilingual policies and language-use around the globe. A former Associate Dean for the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, she has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowship and the Stephen A. Freeman Award for Best Published Article in second language education.  As a methodologist and innovative developer of learning resources she has been acknowledged by indigenous and local communities and in Japan for her work with the Hokkaido Teachers of English Program (HTEP).


Ammon Cheskin

University of Glasgow

Keynote I: “Studying Ukraine without emotional baggage: reflections of a cognitively and emotionally biased scholar.”

Abstract: This paper attempts to reflect critically on how we study Ukraine and how our emotional biases impact the way we approach scholarly investigation. Of particular importance here are our emotional affinities and animosities towards a number of key areas such as Russia, ‘Europe’ and the EU as well as our personal conceptualization of what Ukraine means to us. Conscious of my position as an outsider, lacking cultural knowledge, and biased by my own pre-existing cognitive and emotional assumptions, I tentatively offer insights and pose questions into how our knowledge of Ukraine is constructed and negotiated. Inevitably, certain Ukrainian scholars have demonstrated strong emotional and personal responses to the events of recent years. However, I also consider the emotional biases of scholars who lack historical ties to the country: although seemingly detached from Ukraine’s highly emotional developments, we cannot claim to be any less emotionally divested from such biases. Summing up, the paper engages with sociology of knowledge approaches and discusses how scholars often form epistemic communities which can be heavily informed by emotional processes.

Biography: Dr. Ammon Cheskin is Lecturer in Central and East European Studies, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow. He completed a first class degree in Russian and Politics, followed by a Master’s MA in Interpreting and Translating at the University of Bath in the U.K.  and then earned a PhD in Russian, Central and East European Studies, including an MRes course, from the University of Glasgow. His research interests include Russian soft power in Ukraine, memory and memory politics in the former Soviet Union, Russian foreign policy, and Minority discourses and identities. He aims his research to help inform politicians in a range of different countries about why certain policies will work and others probably will not and hopes that his enthusiasm for the subject might inspire others in some small way. Dr. Cheskin positions himself in the tension between insider-outsider and will today offer insights about the role that emotions play in our work as academics, particularly working on issues relating to Ukraine.


Marieke Droogsma

Department of Linguistics, Leiden University

“Recent developments in the use of and attitudes towards the Ukrainian and Russian languages in Ukraine.”

Abstract: The current conflict in Ukraine has a strong impact on the Ukrainian society, including the self-identification of Ukrainians (Kulyk, 2016), and their language use and language attitudes. For example, Bilaniuk (2016) points out that now a dichotomy between people who do and those who do not think language matters has arisen. This, as well as other recent developments, will be discussed in this presentation drawing on the results of an online survey on the language use and attitudes of Ukrainians held in February 2017. A theoretical framework was developed on the basis of the following concepts: divergence (as developed within Accommodation Theory (Giles, 1973)), intentional language change (Thomason, 2006), and indexicality (Johnstone, Andrus, & Danielson, 2006). This theoretical framework predicts that since the beginning of the war between Russia and Ukraine, Ukrainians will want to diverge from Russia and thus from the Russian language. Furthermore it is predicted that they will intentionally change their language use to create more distance between them and Russia.  The results of the survey indicate that there is indeed a group of Ukrainians that follow this pattern: there is a shift towards more use of Ukrainian and an increased symbolic significance of the language with regards to identity and politics. The increase in the use of Ukrainian is accompanied by a decline in the use of Russian, and, moreover, the language has little significance for the respondents. A small group even developed very hostile attitudes towards the Russian language. These results support the hypothesis that Ukrainians would want to stress they are different from their (Russian) opponents.

Biography: Marieke is a graduate student of the Research Master Linguistics program at Leiden University. Her thesis focuses on the influence of the current conflict on the language situation in Ukraine. She has completed two BA degrees with distinction: Comparative Indo-European Linguistics and Russian Studies, both at Leiden University.


Bohdan Harasymiw

Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Calgary; and Senior Advisor on Contemporary Ukraine, CIUS, University of Alberta

“Anticorruption Policy Meets Patronal Politics: The Case of Ukraine”

Abstract: Political corruption was one of the major grievances propelling the 2014 Revolution of Dignity, yet Ukraine has made little visible progress in reducing it since then. Despite passage of appropriate laws and establishment of a standard set of dedicated anticorruption institutions, the country continues to languish near the very bottom of international rankings such as Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index; it remains among the most corrupt countries of the world. Why was it possible to curb political corruption significantly in other jurisdiction—Singapore, Hong Kong, Georgia, and Romania—but not yet in Ukraine? Taking a comparative approach, the paper examines the institutional and political factors responsible for successful versus failed efforts to combat political corruption. Besides the successful cases noted above, the paper undertakes to examine also unsuccessful ones: Communist China, where reliance on sporadic campaigns rather than consistent application of law and institutional change has allowed political corruption to endanger the state’s very survival; and Peru, where the return of patrimonial politics wiped out a brief interlude of clean government. There is no single model of anticorruption drive applicable in all instances; anticorruption mechanisms must be tailored to the particular patterns of political corruption found in a given country. On the basis of the specific forms of political corruption existing in Ukraine, as well as the experience of other countries it is possible to develop an appropriate model. Such a model can then be compared with the functioning of anticorruption institutions and policy in Ukraine to determine the key discrepancies which account for its unimpressive efforts to date. The culprit in this case is likely to be the unreformed patronal pattern of politics, and the lesson is that the politics of anticorruption must always be taken into account—which seems not to have been followed by the international backers of Ukraine’s anticorruption measures. Whether Ukrainian efforts to combat political corruption can succeed without broader measures aimed at democratic reform is open to question.

Biography: Bohdan Harasymiw attended the Royal Military College and Queen’s University as well as the Universities of Alberta and Toronto.  He taught at the University of Calgary from 1969 until retirement in 2005.  His publications include Post-Communist Ukraine (CIUS Press, 2002). He is also a Past President of the Canadian Association of Slavists.

Jerry Kachur

Professor, University of Alberta


Biography: Dr. Kachur is a Professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Alberta and specializes in comparative political theology and social theory of education and its intersection with the global political economy. His key interests include 1) globalization, Empire, and the politics of knowledge; 2) Liberalism and socioeconomic inequality; 3) intellectual property rights, and the commercialization of higher education; 4) religion, violence and public pedagogy; and 5) the history and philosophy of critical social science. He has co-edited with Trevor Harrison Contested Classrooms: Education, Globalization and Democracy in Alberta (1999)and with Carlos Torres et al. Educational Reform and the Role of Teachers’ Unions: A Comparison of the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Argentina (2000) and been recognized for “The Liberal Virus in Critical Pedagogy: Beyond ‘Anti-This-and-That’ Postmodernism and Three Problems in the Idea of Communism” in Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 2012.


Volodymyr Kulyk

Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

“The dynamics of ethnonational identifications in post-Euromaidan Ukraine.”

Abstract: Euromaidan protests and the Russian agression brought about a perceptible change in ethnonational identities of Ukrainian citizens as many people felt stronger attachment to Ukraine and, by the same token, stronger alienation from Russia. The present article seeks to measure this shift and explore its underlying factors and mechanisms. Based on three nationwide surveys conducted at various times before and in the course of the Russian-Ukrainian military confrontation, it examines changes in people’s self-designations by nationality and native language and the meanings they attached to these categories.

Biography: Volodymyr Kulyk is a head research fellow at the Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. He has taught at Columbia and Stanford Universities, Kyiv Mohyla Academy and Ukrainian Catholic University as well as having research fellowships at Harvard, Stanford, University College London, University of Alberta, Woodrow Wilson Center and other Western scholarly institutions. At the time of conference, he will be a visiting professor at Yale University. His research fields include the politics of language, memory and identity in contemporary Ukraine, language ideologies, nationalism and media discourse, on which he has widely published in Ukrainian and Western journals and collected volumes. Dr. Kulyk is the author of three books, the latest being Dyskurs ukraїnskykh medii: identychnosti, ideolohiї, vladni stosunky (The Ukrainian Media Discourse: Identities, Ideologies, Power Relations, Kyiv, 2010). He also guest edited a special issue of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language on the topic ‘Languages and Language Ideologies in Ukraine’ (2010).


Tamara Martsenyuk

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (NaUKMA); Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University

“Internationalization of Ukrainian higher education? Choices and motivation of Ukrainians to study abroad”

Abstract: Results of public opinion survey (N=2040) conducted by Kiev International Institute of Sociology in autumn 2016 will be presented. Who are those Ukrainians that chose international education for themselves or their children? Which countries and why are ones of the most popular for studying abroad? What are major reasons to choose international education institutions? Finally which challenges Ukrainian higher institutions are facing with internationalization?

Biography: As a member of the Department of Sociology at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, a premier national research university located in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tamara Martsenyuk looks at reforms in Ukraine through a genderized lens. Her work concerns gender and legislation, labour, minority groups, religion, activism, and nationalism. She writes in English, Russian and Ukrainian, has been an invited speaker in Canada, Scandinavia and the United States, and will bring a comparative perspective to the discussions at the conference. Her presentation will offer insights about the internationalization of post secondary institutions in Ukraine.

Olena Morozova

V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine


Biography: Olena I. Morozova (DSc / Philology, professor, V.N.Karazin Kharkiv National University) is a specialist in cognitive linguistics and discourse studies. She is the author of the book Lying as a Discourse Formation (in Russian), a dozen chapters in collected volumes and over fifty published papers, and is a Fulbright Scholar.


 Alla Nedashkivska

Professor, Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta

“Language Transformations and Attitudes in the Newest Ukrainian Diaspora in Canada: Identity in Interaction”

Abstract: The present study focuses on processes and transformations in language practices and attitudes in the newest wave of the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada, notably following the 2014 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine. Specifically, multilingual language practices (Ukrainian, Russian and English), participants’ beliefs about language(s) and their views about the language question are analyzed. The analysis also relates the speakers’ practices and beliefs to issues of identity construction and negotiation that are observable in the context of this diasporic community.

The sociocultural approach to studying identity in interaction developed by Bucholts and Hall (2005) is used as the premise for the main theoretical foundation of the study. In this framework, identity is defined as “the social positioning of self and other” (2005: 586) and is best studied at an interactional level because it is in interaction that language resources gain social meaning (586).

The data is comprised of interviews conducted with representatives of the newest wave of the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada, in which participants report about their language practices and their views about the language question. The level of language and the level of discourse about language constitute the organizational core of the analysis as both contribute to the discussion of language attitudes and speakers’ shaping and reshaping their identities. The level of language incorporates the studying of code-switching, including language choice, and language practices of the participants. The level of discourse about language focuses on the importance of language question to the participants, their positioning towards language(s) and/or language practices, as well as participants’ associations with and disassociations from particular languages, concepts or entities. The discussion relates the functions of different languages in the studied community to larger questions of the diaspora studied. The prominence of ‘real’ and ‘ideal’ code-switching phenomenon is highlighted. The code-switching, along with language choice, and language practices, as well as discourse about language are all shown to be resources employed by the speakers to position themselves in specific associations or disassociations.

Overall, the study investigates the newest Ukrainian diasporic community, demonstrating how language practices in interaction display and construct identity(ies) and signal participants’ negotiations of their own identities and those of others.

Biography: Dr. Nedashkivska investigates social media texts produced by the broader Ukrainian community, that is, by those geographically in Ukraine and those in the Diaspora.  She explores language practices in online communication, analyzing first language choices, but also linking the results to concepts of ‘Ukrainian-ness’, linguistic imperialism and global orientation.  Her analysis of the relationship between social media texts, language use, symbolic construction of ‘Ukrainian-ness’ in these texts, and its relevance to societal and community issues and changes are linked to changes in national identity, language ideologies and language attitudes of the studied communities due to Maidan and Russian state aggression. She is also RIDRU’s leader of the cluster on language and identity.


Alexandra Novitchkova

Senior Lecturer of Political Science Department, University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (NaUKMA)

 “Civil society as an actor in the process of democratic development in Ukraine”

Abstract: The establishment and functioning of an efficient democratic regime among others features requires the distribution of power that is normally embodied in the system of checks-and-balances with independent branches of power and independent agents of influence, their mutual accountability, primacy of law and respect for human rights on all levels of political process.

One of the main issues in Ukraine is the transparency of public administration and fighting corruption. There are a lot of different NGOs (international, national and local) as well as grassroots initiatives that ensure the processes of good governance in numerous municipalities and at the national level. Their main instruments are education, public monitoring, strategic litigation etc. The study is based on in-depth interviews with activists who deal with different levels of public administration in Ukraine, as well with Ukrainian scholars, analysts and some of public officials.  All were asked about the influence of social activism and public control over political administration and their perspective on different areas of policies.

The study is seeking to answer the question as to whether Ukrainian civil society, which was the driving force of the Revolution of Dignity, continues to be influential within the Ukrainian political processes, or if its influence has diminished, and if so what is the variability among different levels of political administration and different fields of policy. For the longer perspective the study seeks to answer whether we can speak about Ukrainian civil society as a potent actor in the system of checks-and-balances in the country and its role within it.

Biography: Alexandra Novitchkova, MA in Political Science from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, DAAD Fellow FSU Jena (Germany), Fulbright Faculty Development Fellow at Kansas University (USA), the author of numerous publications on Raymond Aron, ideology and democracy, currently works on the role of civil society in the process of democratic development in Ukraine.


Svitlana Oksamytna

University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (NaUKMA)

“Issues in Higher Education in Ukraine”

Abstract: Dr. Oksamytna has conducted an attitudinal survey with students and faculty regarding the their knowledge, understandings and perspectives of inclusive policies and practices in post-secondary institutions and will share an interpretation of the qualitative findings. Dr. Oksamytna’s presentation is a bricolage of data collected about higher education reform in Ukraine.

Biography: As Dean of the Faculty of Sociology at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, a premier national research university located in Kyiv, Ukraine, Dr. Oksamytna has been instrumental in facilitating the first western-style doctoral program in Ukraine and in researching inclusive policy and practices at the post secondary level. As a senior leader, she will also offer insight about corruption and the effects of anti-corruption strategies to the official and unofficial conference dialogue.

Oleh Orlov

Junior Research Associate, Institute of Special Education of the National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine

“Ukrainian Health Care and Education Trends of 2014-2017: an Analysis of Parliamentary Discourse”

Abstract: In 2007 Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian Parliament) established several parliamentary committees to discuss policy issues and examine proposals for legislation. After the Revolution of Dignity and subsequent parliamentary elections in 2014, new committees of Verkhovna Rada were formed. After almost three years of work of the new pro-European Parliament we can examine the democratization of the Ukrainian government and society, and identify the factors that accelerate or diminish this process.

In this study we focused on two prerequisites for a high quality of life in a democratic country – health and education – and the functioning of the corresponding committees of Verkhovna Rada – The Committee for Health Care, and The Committee for Education and Science. Following the post-revolutionary course towards accountability and transparency, these committees created websites to publicly disclose their current work. We applied text mining and discourse analysis methodologies to the records of the meetings of the Health Care and Education committees to study the dynamics of the discussions and to find the current trends in the reforming of these two important sectors.

Our research was mostly exploratory and data-driven. After collecting the data and completing the necessary data preparations we examined the word frequencies for each year of interest and studied the context of a hundred most frequent words of each year. Additionally we examined some revolution-, military-, change- and democracy- related topics and performed formal trend analysis statistical procedures.

The analysis showed that the occurrence of military related topics had the same dynamics in both committees’ records. They were extensively discussed in 2014-15, but by the last meeting of 2017 their occurrence had reduced by 90%. The other trends (e.g. in discussing reforms, finance, decentralization, eurointegration etc.) were dissimilar. In the discussion section we present a detailed analysis of these differences and try to explain why this asymmetry took place.

Biography: Oleh Orlov is a Junior Research Associate at the Institute of Special Education of the National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine. His research interests are mental health, special education, inclusive education, democratic reforms in Ukraine, and interdisciplinary studies.


Roman Petryshyn

University of Alberta

“The Impact of Geopolitical and Military Parameters on Inclusive Education in Crimea”

Abstract: Despite inclusive education (IE) being predicated on a social rather than medical model, often educators minimize the full range of civilizational and societal parameters that can impact the application and advancement of an IE educational ensemble. This paper demonstrates how geopolitical and military relations, in context of a regime change, affected the development of IE in Ukraine, and particularly in Crimea, during the period 2014-2016. Former republics of the USSR, like Ukraine and the Russian Federation had inherited a standard system of education for children and students with disabilities that can be described as ‘segregated, with some integration’. After the independence of Ukraine and the creation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the concept of inclusive education was added to the list of educational services provided in Ukraine. This model was supported internally, by civic groups and the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Sciences, and externally, by international donors. Funding IE was part of the effort to establish student-centered education in  IE since it is  is compatible with  Ukraine’s democratic strategic direction, state values and political intent to join Europe. This study compares IE components before and after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014 and demonstrates that geopolitical and military events slowed progress of IE in Crimea with respect to legislation, programming and civic support. On the other hand, Ukraine (without Crimea) continued to advance inclusive education through various innovative efforts during 2014- 2016.

Biography: Roman Petryshyn holds a Ph.D. in Sociology of Race and Ethnic Relations from the University of Bristol, England and a Diploma in Social Sciences from the University of Birmingham, as well as a Masters and Bachelor degree in Clinical psychology from Lakehead University. Over 28 years Dr. Petryshyn has worked as the Director of the Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre (URDC) at Grant MacEwan University where he managed technical assistance projects in Ukraine.

Linda Reif

Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Alberta

“Comparing National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in Post-Soviet Ukraine, Estonia, Poland, Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina” 

Abstract: Established on or after the collapse of the USSR, NHRIs in Central and East Europe predominantly take the form of human rights ombudsperson institutions.  They were created to promote and protect human rights in their countries based on international and regional human rights obligations and constitutional rights.  Some have additional mandates such as acting as children’s ombudsperson, acting as the national equality body based on EU law, and serving as the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture national preventive mechanism.  I will compare the NHRIs in the post-Soviet countries of Ukraine, Estonia, Poland, Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina.  My objectives are to: (1) explore the similarities and adaptations of the NHRIs as a legal transplant from outside the region, first adopted intra-regionally by Poland, based on their compliance with the UN Paris Principles on NHRIs and on additional, often extra-legal, factors e.g. the democratic environment, character of the NHRI leader, receptiveness of the government to the NHRI’s work, the NHRI’s popular legitimacy, and (2) situate Ukraine’s NHRI among its peers.

The NHRIs in Estonia, Poland, Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina were selected to compare with Ukraine’s NHRI (Parliament Commissioner on Human Rights) because they enjoy different levels of freedoms, economic development and integration in European organizations.  All five are OSCE and Council of Europe (COE) states and parties to the European Convention on Human Rights.  Three of the five—Estonia, Poland and Hungary—are EU members.  Freedom House 2016 political rights and civil liberties rankings show that Estonia (1/1, free) ranks strongest, followed by Poland (1/2, free), Hungary (3/2, free), Ukraine (3/3, partly free) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (4/4, partly free), although rising populism is exerting a downward pressure on freedoms in Poland, Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina.  In NHRI rankings (GANHRI), the Poland, Hungary, Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina NHRIs have the highest A-status, while Estonia’s NHRI has not applied for accreditation.

Biography: Professor Linda C. Reif is a member of the Faculty of Law, University of Alberta.  She has published extensively on national human rights institutions (NHRIs), ombuds institutions and independent children’s rights institutions.  These include The Ombudsman, Good Governance and the International Human Rights System (Martinus Nijhoff/Brill, 2004) and articles and book chapters in publications in North America, Europe and Asia.


Brandyn Rodgerson

Student-at-Law, University of Alberta

“A Comparative Analysis between Ukraine’s Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights and the Alberta Human Rights Commission.”

Abstract: National human rights institutions are independent institutions that broadly promote and protect human rights in countries around the world. The Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (PCHR) in Ukraine is one such institution, which “exercises parliamentary control over the observance of constitutional human and citizens’ rights and freedoms.” Meanwhile in Canada, due to the separation of federal and provincial/territorial powers enshrined in the Constitution, each province/territory has a sub-national human rights institution, such as the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) which seeks to reduce discrimination and foster equality for the province’s citizens. In this presentation, I will compare and contrast the PCHR and the AHRC, emphasizing: the institutions’ legal structure and organization, the institutions’ complaint and resolution processes, and the institutions’ overall effectiveness in terms of public confidence. Throughout the presentation, I will explore a wide array of questions: What are the institutions’ mandates and powers? Are both institutions expected to comply with the United Nations’ Paris Principles? Are they independent? What are the most common types of complaints? Are complaints resolved in an effective and timely manner? Is there adequate funding? How does the public view them? What are the legal and political realities in which both institutions operate? By exploring these questions, among others, I will expose the strengths and weaknesses of both human rights institutions and deduce lessons that each may learn from the other. These lessons will provide valuable insight into how Valeriya Lutkovska, the current Commissioner of the PCHR, can foster a more effective human rights body and stronger human rights culture.

Biography: Brandyn has recently obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of Alberta. He is now a student-at-law with the Alberta Court of Appeal. Brandyn has recently completed research work on Ukraine’s Parliament Commissioner of Human Rights with Linda Reif and an internship with the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Anastasiya Salnykova

Center for Public Health Development at the Ukrainian Catholic University

“Negative Human Rights in Public Health: the Case of Ukraine”

 Abstract: Human rights in healthcare is a prolific body of literature. Yet, it has been skewed towards the discussion of positive rights, that is, on the issue of access to healthcare by various populations. At the same time negative rights in healthcare are hard to ignore in contemporary diverse societies. Negative rights in healthcare imply the freedom to opt out of medical treatment. For example, abstaining from vaccination, birthing outside of hospitals, a right to get sick, a right to not be diagnosed, and a right to die among others. As the idea of human rights equality for different groups is on the forefront of human rights debates, the question of who qualifies as a group is valid. Is it just gender, ethnic, and socio-economic groups that are entitled for an equal right to health? What about different groups based on what they believe in: religion-based, culture-based, or ideology-based? Should this be reflected in state documents so that it leaves freedom for both groups’ conflicting views? What does this pluralistic perspective on a right to health (and health itself) mean for the public health model of healthcare: does it create tensions between the individual freedoms and the common good? In the context of the important health care reforms in Ukraine, namely the establishment of the national health care insurance model, the right to opt out becomes especially relevant. By considering the negative rights in health care the government of Ukraine can pioneer a more balanced approach to human rights in public health.  The paper builds on the human rights-based approach and political theoretic concepts of democracy, autonomy and diversity politics. This paper sketches these key issues of concern trying to look at the tensions between the human rights and public health normative rationales and puts them in the Ukrainian context.

Biography: Anastasiya Salnykova has a PhD in Political Science from the University of British Columbia. Currently she is a researcher at the Lviv School of Public Health at the Ukrainian Catholic University (Ukraine) and a human rights activist with the NGO “Pryrodni Prava” (Ukraine).



Oleksii Shestakovskyi (Independent Researcher) and Olenka Bilash (Professor, University of Alberta)

“Between Official Ukrainian and Resistant Russian: Patterns of Language Use in Ukrainian Higher Education”

Abstract: Despite certain Ukrainization efforts, the Russian language still holds a strong position in the public sphere in Ukraine. Contrary to that, according to State Statistics ,97.3% of university students of 2015/2016 were instructed in Ukrainian. This contradiction led us to ask if higher education really has such a stronghold on Ukrainian language use?

To explore the language situation in higher education, we conducted a survey in Spring 2017. It encompassed 1253 students and 408 faculty members from 24 Ukrainian higher educational institutions in 8 cities, and was supplemented by four focus groups.

We revealed three distinct patterns of language use, namely, official (in documents and announcements), ‘curricular’ (exams, lectures, seminars, readings, chair meetings), and extracurricular (speaking to students and faculty out of class).

The official mode is almost always Ukrainian, and is weakly associated with the other two patterns. The extracurricular mode resembles language preferences in family and public places. The use of Russian or both languages is widespread here. Curricular language practices rank in between: Ukrainian is used consistently more often there than out of class, but is not always overwhelming. A significant share of participants report using Ukrainian in the classroom and Russian outside of it. Curricular and extracurricular modes vary significantly across the cities. The respondents from Lviv, Rivne and Poltava are predominantly Ukrainian-speaking in both modes. Russian plays an astonishingly large role in Kharkiv, Odesa and Kherson. Kyiv and Chernihiv have a notable disparity between mostly Ukrainian language use in class and Russian for out-of-class communication.

Other presented results will clarify how language patterns relate to university and departmental specialization, as well as to individual variables. Findings on preferred language status and prevalence of English will also be reported.

Our study clearly shows a more complex picture of the use of multiple languages in Ukrainian higher education institutions than that reported by State sources. Ukrainian language use is not homogenous, and Ukrainian language is not always predominant. Thus, a relevant language policy could not be uniform and fast-responding.

Biographies: Oleksii Shestakovskyi graduated from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv in 2007, obtained a Candidate of Sciences degree in Sociology in 2012. Worked in Ukrainian non-governmental and academic research institutions, taught Sociology in “Kyiv Politechnic Institute”, received fellowships in University of Konstanz (Germany), University of Michigan, KU Leuven, and UCLA. He works as an independent scholar.

Olenka Bilash is the Principal Investigator of the Research Initiative on Democratic Reforms in Ukraine (RIDRU) and a Professor of Secondary Education in the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta. Dr. Bilash also serves as Senior Advisor to the Ukrainian Language Education Centre (ULEC), Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS).  Her research interests include language use and language loss, particularly in minority language settings.


Jeff Stepnisky

Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology, MacEwan University


Biography: Dr. Jeff Stepnisky is Chair of the Department of Sociology at MacEwan University where he teaches sociological theory. He studies and writes about processes of self and identity formation. In the past, among other topics, he has written on collective memory and its relationship to globalization. He has also co-authored and co-edited several works on sociological theory.


Ruby Swanson

University of Alberta


Biography: Originally from Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Ruby Remenda Swanson was a freelance promotional writer with the Children’s Television Workshop in New York City. She is a recipient of the University of Alberta Human Rights Education Recognition Award and was a director of PFLAG Edmonton. Ruby lives in Edmonton with her husband.


Peter Szyszlo

Doctoral Candidate, School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa

“Mapping the Borderland of the Knowledge Society: Strategic Global Partnerships and Organizational Responses of Universities in Transition”

Abstract: Globalization is bringing about a redefinition to the mission of higher education and research; however, the insertion of Ukrainian national research universities in the European Higher Education Area poses specific challenges. The interplay between the Soviet higher education legacy and the pressures of globalization reveal a dual framework whereby adaptive responses and entrenched management logics run parallel (and often in conflict) with one another. Against this context, institutional change is occurring within a framework of increased hybridity and contextual adaptation, thereby requiring innovative approaches to educational practice and reflexive responses to the imperatives of global science.

Globalization exerts pressure on universities to carefully calibrate partnerships for strategic purposes (Oleksiyenko 2011).  In this regard, internationalization represents a means of transforming knowledge boundaries, expanding academic horizons, generating new knowledge and advancing strategic partnerships.  University experiences are examined by applying a combination of neo-institutionalist theory (North 1990) and the Delta cycle for internationalization (Rumbley 2010).  North’s theory complements the Delta cycle by introducing an element of ‘friction’ to illuminate how internationalization plays out in practice and as a function of institutional priorities, management cultures and resistance points.  This approach is particularly useful in the current investigation of how the phenomenon of internationalization plays out at the case study universities since institutional responses will be strongly affected by organizational culture and the adopted innovation.  This conceptual framework will guide the architecture of ideas and facilitate a means of gauging internationalization experiences.

The presentation will provide an overview of the research outcomes of a select group of national research university’s responses to globalization in an effort to problematize anew the concept of internationalization in Ukraine’s current higher education environment.  The inquiry will take a critical approach to identify and interpret how the phenomenon of internationalization is calibrated for the development of strategic partnerships, translated and recontextualized into innovation agendas, and systemic institutional change.  Efforts will be made to map out and determine the motivating factors behind the case universities to engage in internationalization, specific organizational responses and strategies employed, as well as the outcomes of internationalization efforts.

Biography: Peter Szyszlo is a seasoned, multilingual practitioner in the field of international and comparative higher education.  His doctoral research and professional interests include: the globalization of higher education, the knowledge society, the knowledge-based economy, internationalization strategies, innovation transfer, and mapping institutional change in higher education systems.


Anna Vorobyova

Ukrainian Catholic University

“Democratizing Public Health Education in Ukraine”

Abstract: In November 2016 the Ministry of Education and Sciences of Ukraine added “Public Health” (PH) to the list of higher education degrees that can be obtained in the country. This is a notable achievement of the new government in the country since a PH reform is under way as a part of the wider health care initiatives and the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which requires an appropriately trained PH workforce.  Both Ukrainian and international experts agree that the country is lacking PH professionals who can aid in addressing a severe health crisis in Ukraine. Recently, the Ministry of Health (MoH) passed the Concept for PH Development in Ukraine for 2017-2020, which for the first time prioritizes PH. However, it is uncertain which BA graduates would be able to pursue the MA level PH education. Currently, any graduate program in Ukraine accepts applications from those with corresponding BA degrees only. This means individuals wishing to pursue a graduate PH degree need to have a BA degree from a medical school since currently undergraduate PH courses are only offered in medical schools. Only two schools in Ukraine offer a degree in PH management at a graduate level, but this narrow specialization does not satisfy the need for a fully developed Western PH system. The status quo would perpetuate an existing problem with the PH education in the country, namely the biomedical or managerial approach to PH education, which is a Soviet remnant, and will not adequately address the health crisis in Ukraine. The alternative is to democratize PH education and allow BA graduates from “soft” sciences enter graduate PH programs. Ukrainian policy makers engage democratic tools in the process of determining the future of the PH education through creating an advisory commission of experts and citizen hearings. This paper will explore the decision-making process in the area of PH education in Ukraine and will make comparisons to a similar process in some other post-Soviet countries (Poland, Georgia).

Biography: Anna Vorobyova received her MA in Public Policy (2014) from Simon Fraser University. Since 2009 she has been a research associate with the Institute for Intersectionality Research and Policy at SFU and has worked on a variety of public health projects. Anna’s research interests blend the issues of post-communist transition and health care policy. Currently she is a freelance researcher at the Lviv School of Public Health at the Ukrainian Catholic University.


Curt Woolhiser

Brandeis University

Keynote II: “Reversing Language Shift in Belarus and Ukraine: Social Identities, Ideological Stances and Language Practices of “New Speakers” of Belarusian and Ukrainian”

Abstract: In this paper I examine links between the social identities, ideological stances and language practices of young adult “new speakers” of Belarusian and Ukrainian, that is, individuals who grew up in Russian-speaking households, but who have consciously adopted the national language as their primary means of communication.

My analysis is based on examples of media and academic discourse, the results of focus group interviews I conducted in Belarus and Ukraine in the summer of 2013, as well as some of the preliminary results of a new sociolinguistic survey of young adult (age 18-30) “new speakers” of Belarusian and Ukrainian. I argue that to a significant extent, the observed differences in the sociolinguistic profiles and identities of young “new speakers” in Belarus and Ukraine may be attributed to differences in state language policy in the two countries, particularly in education and the government sector, and that these differences influence the ways that “new speakers” seek to situate themselves in the linguistic marketplace.

Biography: Curt Woolhiser is a Lecturer in Russian at Brandeis University and an Associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. He received his PhD in Slavic Linguistics at Indiana University in 1995, and has previously taught at the University of South Carolina, the University of Texas at Austin, and Harvard University. His research interests include East Slavic linguistics, sociolinguistic approaches to the study of language variation and change, structural and socio-pragmatic aspects of bilingualism, language policy and language conflict in post-Soviet Eastern Europe and Eurasia, language attitudes and language ideology, language and identity, language and political borders, and sociolinguistic theory and (post-)socialist societies.

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