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Dr. Olenka Bilash and John McGrath connect online to sign a new five-year memorandum of understanding.

MacEwan University and the Ukrainian Foundation for College Education sign new memorandum of understanding

July 2, 2020 | Society, Health, Arts & Culture
On June 30, John McGrath, acting president of MacEwan University, and Dr. Olenka Bilash, president of the Ukrainian Foundation for College Education (UFCE) signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU), extending the long-standing relationship between the two organizations.

For more than 25 years, UFCE has supported post-secondary institutions in the province through its volunteer and fundraising efforts, including the establishment of five endowments at MacEwan University totalling approximately $9 million. Through these endowments, UFCE and MacEwan work together to advance international scholarly and educational activities, and to establish resources connected to Ukraine and its diaspora, which includes more than 400,000 members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community in Alberta.

“Renewing the MOU signals the importance of this partnership,” says McGrath. “We are proud of our joint accomplishments and are excited for the future of this growing and evolving relationship.”

The university’s Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre (URDC), created in 1988, acts as a hub to coordinate projects and activities with ties to Ukraine across MacEwan’s faculties and schools. Examples include nursing, sociology and community-service learning courses offered in collaboration with MacEwan’s four partner universities in Ukraine (Ternopil State Medical University, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukrainian Catholic University and Lviv National Music Academy); mentoring and training for Ukrainian Model UN students; faculty and student exchanges; and a range of research and teaching activities.

“As a funding body, our goal is to support the spirit of community-university engagement,” says Bilash. “Providing secure and stable funding allows projects to grow, and we look forward not only to seeing students continue to engage in experiences that expand the way they look at the world, but also to supporting valuable research and the generation of new knowledge.”

As part of the new MOU, the UFCE endowments will fund two research chair positions at MacEwan – the Drs. Peter and Doris Kule Chair in Ukrainian Community and International Development and a new Chair of International Health. The inaugural Chair of International Health will be announced in the coming months.

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