Europe, Russia & Eurasia, Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine, Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, Munk School

CERES MA students attend the 16th Danyliw Research Seminar on Contemporary Ukraine

The 16th Danyliw Research Seminar on Contemporary Ukraine took place on October 13-15, 2022. Scholars and experts in Ukrainian Studies, students, and members of the public all convened at the University of Ottawa to listen to presentations and engage in lively discussion on a range of topics relating to Ukraine.

CERES students had a great fortune to attend the Seminar at the invitation of University of Ottawa’s Chair of Ukrainian Studies Professor Dominique Arel. The Seminar is generously funded by the Wolodomyr George Danyliw Foundation. The first day featured presentations on information warfare including the uses of Open-Source Intelligence (colloquially known as OSINT) and its significance in the war. Following this, three new books were unveiled to attendees—the authors took on questions from the audience and participated in a spirited debate.

The first day ended with an opening reception with remarks by the President of the University of Ottawa Jacques Frémont and the recently appointed Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada Yuliya Kovaliv. Kovaliv congratulated the seminar organizers and attendees and noted that knowledge about Ukraine is highly important as the new generation of students moves into the world with the potential to make a change. Andrew Danyliw (family member and representative of the Foundation at the conference) also spoke at the opening ceremony. He shared heartfelt memories of his time in Ukraine, wishing well to his family who remains in the country and Slava Ukraini or “Glory to Ukraine”, a salute that is now known all over the world. These messages highlighted the importance of holding this seminar, the theme of which was “Ukraine at War” as not only an educational opportunity for students of the region to learn about the cutting-edge research but for people to meet and reconnect within a community in a time of immense hardship.

The panels of the second day demonstrated just how diverse Ukrainian Studies are. Experts presented papers on the war’s economic costs, reporting and prosecution of international crimes, possible trajectories for the war, and the protection of arts and culture in a warzone. The presentations made on the latter engaged the topic of conflict in an extremely unique way. Maria Lanko, curator at the Kyiv art gallery The Naked Room, chronicled the journey of her and her team’s efforts to evacuate artwork by Pavlo Makov from Ukraine to Italy for the Venice Biennale, an international cultural exhibition. Lanko articulated a point that is perhaps familiar to many Ukrainians today: that beyond their professions, the “day jobs” they have now all been placed in the role of an ambassador for their country, speaking and telling its story.

The final day was a combination of panels and book presentations, culminating in a passionate roundtable titled “Rethinking Academic Research after the Invasion”. This discussion, led by Natalia Ostrischenko and John Vsetecka, brought forth the critical position of academia and the ethical responsibilities we as students, researchers, and academics have at this moment. This position of privilege, to be scholars studying these events which are having very real horrific impacts, is not to be taken lightly and there is a moral duty to care for those with whom we interact. John Vsetecka argued that this position can be used as a force for good, to educate the Western public about Ukraine and keep it on their “mental maps” so that the Ukrainian story is amplified.

This seminar was an incredibly rich experience, and we thank the hosts of the Danyliw Seminar for providing CERES students with an opportunity to attend it.