Ukrainian Studies Program - History


In 2002, the Shevchenko Scientific Society and the Ukrainian Studies Fund proposed establishing an endowed fund at Columbia for the teaching of Ukrainian history. The fund was to be the first of several that will support teaching, research, library acquisitions and outreach envisioned for Ukrainian Studies. Thousands of dollars were raised in 2003, and with a generous quarter-million dollar donation from Self Reliance (NY) Federal Credit Union and additional gifts from key Ukrainian-American organizations and private donors, the fund for history instruction reached the million dollar mark in 2004. This fund, together with the Petro Jacyk Fund for Ukrainian Studies at the Harriman Institute (established in 1995), the Volodymyr and Lidia Bazarko Fellowship (established in 1998) and future new funds, will support a comprehensive program in Ukrainian studies at Columbia.


As one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in North America, Columbia is a globally renowned center of learning located in a diverse and unique urban space – New York City. Columbia University boasts a superb roster of influential faculty and alumni, many of whom have been associated with its School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). SIPA, as one of the largest institutes for the study of international affairs in the world, houses the Harriman Institute, the regional institute that is devoted to the interdisciplinary study of the successor states of the Soviet Union and the post-communist states of Eastern Europe. The expanded Ukrainian Studies Program collaborates closely with the Harriman Institute, its East Central European Center, and the Institute for the Study of Europe, which have pre-existing infrastructures that naturally complement the new initiative.

The Harriman Institute attracts world leaders of the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe to its conferences and special events. In 2003, the Harriman Institute and SIPA awarded its “Distinguished Statesman Award” to Anatoly Zlenko, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. The Harriman Institute has also organized talks by President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic, President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine, Mikhail Gorbachev, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Vojislav Kostunica of Yugoslavia and presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, as well as other high-ranking government officials, diplomats, and cultural figures.

Columbia University library’s Slavic collections and archival resources are of international significance, including much that is rare even in their countries of origin. The Columbia Slavic serial collections, notable for their breadth, represent an important part of the essential body of the intellectual heritage of the Slavic world for the last 150 years. Columbia is the interim custodian of the important archive of Volodymyr Vynnychenko – author, playwright, and political leader of the Ukrainian revolution of 1917-1921. Additionally, the Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian and East European Culture, part of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia, includes 991 collections open to qualified researchers and contains substantial Ukrainian materials.

Columbia has a large body of alumni engaged in studies of Ukraine and adjacent regions. Historians such as Miroslav Labunka, Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak, Jaroslaw Pelensky, Anna Procyk, political scientists Zenovia Sochor, Alexander Motyl, economists Iwan Koropeckyj, Vsevolod Holubnychy, and philologists George Perfecky have gone on to make major contributions to Ukrainian studies in their respective fields. Columbia, which has been the academic home to many outstanding scholars in Ukrainian Studies such as George Shevelov, Philip Mosely, Ihor _evcenko, Clarence Manning and Mark von Hagen, benefits from its close working relationship with the Ukrainian communities and organizations of New York City and the metropolitan tri-state area, a major hub of Ukrainian intellectual, artistic and daily life.


The Ukrainian Studies Program at Columbia University aspires to build a vibrant and multi-faceted program that integrates Ukrainian studies into broader intellectual and policy agendas while promoting research and scholarly work on contemporary Ukraine in the United States. By expanding the existing offerings of departments, institutes and schools at Columbia, the Ukrainian Studies Program aims to develop a curriculum that will educate academics, diplomats, journalists, businessmen and future specialists on the history, language, literature, and politics of Ukraine.

Among the ongoing goals of the Ukrainian Studies Program are:
  • To expand current course offerings for undergraduate and graduate students;

  • to have Ukrainian language instruction available on a regular basis at several competency levels;

  • to increase support for visiting scholars from US and foreign institutions to conduct research on Ukrainian subjects at Columbia;

  • to create scholarships and stipends for undergraduate and graduate students who work in Ukrainian studies;

  • to support the acquisition, processing and preservation of Ukrainian books, materials and electronic resources in Columbia University libraries;

  • to raise awareness of Ukraine and Ukrainian studies through lectures, cultural events, and conferences at Columbia University.