Name: Ivanna Bilych
Hometown: Scarsdale, NY (originally, Striy, Lviv oblast)
Professional Interests: international law and foreign policy
Why did you decide to join the Shevchenko Scientific Society?
Since its inception, the Shevchenko Society works on important tasks of organizing scholarly gatherings and publishing valuable research. I always shared and admired those goals and ideals. In the last few years, the Shevchenko Society leadership broadened organizational interest and support for more areas of study, e.g. international law and political science, which I believe is a great move and valuable support for those who are working in those fields.
What do you value about membership in the Society? What is your most memorable Society’s event or publication?
I enjoy meeting scholars and learning about their academic interests and fields of scholarship. I value weekly events with scholars from Ukraine and US, especially the discussion part. I thoroughly enjoyed the Donor meeting and reception on September 14. It was wonderful to thank our donors for their generosity and continuous support.
How did your interest in Ukrainian culture and society influence your career path?
From a young age I was puzzled by the West not seeing what to me seemed obvious: the importance of Ukraine as the key to European and American security and success. Ukraine’s independence, economic prosperity and democracy are central to the post-Soviet region and former satellites as well. This proved to be correct more than ever during the Revolution of Dignity and the Russian Federation’s occupation of Ukraine.
Ukrainians are invincible, inspiring and very creative at the same time. They preserve their culture sometimes without being aware of doing so, through their tradition of art, song, dance, and language. It is mind-blowing to me that the Ukrainian language was banned on more than 50 occasions, yet not only did it survive but it is thriving. More Ukrainians today choose Ukrainian as their primary language of communication and as one of the means to protect themselves from falling prey to Russian propaganda.
What is your current research/work project?
Access to Justice in occupied Crimea and Donbas. Policy of non-recognition and its implication to occupied Crimea and Ukraine.
What career advice would you give for new members of the Shevchenko Scientific Society?
Get involved, there is no small or unimportant project!