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Ukraine Activist and Musician to Speak at Lincoln Center Campus

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Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, a musician and civic activist who has been at the heart of the political and social turmoil in his native Ukraine, will speak about his experience in a lecture this week.

Friday, Nov. 20
1:30 p.m.
12th-floor Lounge, E. Gerald Corrigan Conference Center
113 W. 60th St., Lincoln Center Campus

Vakarchuk, who is also a Yale World Fellow,  will deliver the lecture, “Ordinary Citizens in Extraordinary Times: Civil Society in Ukraine.”

Olena Nikolayenko, PhD, associate professor of political science, said Vakarchuk will discuss the development of civil society in Ukraine, which has been severely stressed in recent years by corrupt governments and most recently, the annexation last year of the Crimean peninsula by Russia.

Vakarchuk, who holds a degree in theoretical physics, helped form the band Okean Elzy in 1994. The band has recorded eight albums and played a central role in protest movements in the country dating back to 2004’s Orange Revolution.

Nikolayenko said civil-society organizations, such as the nonprofit group Lyudi Maybutnyogo (People of the Future) that Vakarchuk founded, are more important than ever. A million Ukrainians have been displaced as a result of the Crimea annexation and continued conflict in Eastern Ukraine, but the government is unable to help them directly.

“Vakarchuk tries to encourage people to think less about what the government can do for them, and think more about what they can do for their country,” she said.

“A great deal can be learned from the Ukrainian experience, and how people living in a repressive environment can bring about positive change, and how they’re willing to stand up to authoritarian and corrupt government.”

Vakarchuk’s talk is sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences. For more information, contact (718) 817-3961 or onikolayenko@fordham.edu.

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