Ukraine’s cherished history and traditions will be the subject of an upcoming series of luncheons and learning – VCU News
Iryna Piontkivska has agreed to present the topic “Ukrainian Language and Cultural Competence” for the VCU Continuing and Vocational Education Lunch and Learn Series ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
The importance of sharing Ukraine’s history and culture is now “a truly personal undertaking,” said Piontkivska, a Ukrainian economist and craftsman.
Her one-hour virtual presentation at noon on March 23 will include many traditions from her country, such as pysanka, the ancient tradition of decorating eggs. Registration is required for the free program.
Pysanka is just a part of Ukraine’s rich culture. Piontkivska’s presentation will also include Ukrainian geography, history, embroidery, weaving, painting and ceramics as well as music, dance and architecture.
“A lot of people know Ukrainian geography now because of what is happening in my country,” she said. “I also want to talk about the historical context of the country and its role in European history. Ukraine is a sovereign nation with its own language and culture, regardless of Russian propaganda. I want to cover as many aspects of our history and culture as possible so that people are aware of our contributions.
She will talk about the music and songs that are an integral part of the country’s culture.
“For example, ‘Carol of the Bells’ is a Ukrainian folk song. It’s a very old song. Many people know the melody, but don’t know that it belongs to Ukrainian cultural heritage,” she said.
Ukrainian cuisine will also be discussed as more than 50% of Ukrainian land is agricultural land. The country produces a variety of grains and products used in making bread and dishes like borscht, a sweet and sour beetroot soup.
“I will also talk about rye and wheat bread as well as Easter and wedding bread. Ukraine is famous for its breads,” she said.
Piontkivska struggles to talk about the war in Ukraine.
“I’m in shock. At first I was in denial because I thought this couldn’t happen to a peaceful country in the middle of Europe. Now it’s blatant war. It’s extremely painful to watch it unfold,” she said. “I have extended family and people I know are there. Some are now refugees in Europe. But my parents and my 96-year-old grandmother cannot leave. I pray they stay safe.
Piontkivska is the first speaker in VCU’s new series of free one-hour continuing and professional education virtual sessions by community experts who will share different languages and cultures.
The next event, “Arabic Language and Cultural Competencies,” will take place on Tuesday, March 29 and will be led by Kamilia Rahmouni, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Global Studies in the College of Humanities.
Another upcoming session, “Linguistic and Cultural Skills of the Francophone World,” will be held on Tuesday, May 3 and will be led by Ngoc-My Guidarelli, Catalog Librarian with VCU Libraries and Adjunct French Professor at the School of World Studies.
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