A Special Word about UCIS
The Ukrainian Central Information Service served as an “administrative midwife” in the creation of the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations and the various fora that the latter has been tasked to run. Any history of the Center must therefore begin with a short synopsis of the said organization.
UCIS/USA was founded as the informational arm of the Ukrainian American Freedom Foundation, a member organization of the consortium which initiated the Roundtable Series and subsequently helped launch CUSUR; it served in that capacity for nearly twenty years. Its varied accomplishments included:
- The Ukrainian Helsinki Group Informational Newsletter Project (1987-1989)
- The Living History of Ukraine Project (1988-1992)
- The NGOs of Ukraine Visitors' Program (1993-1996)
- The National Democratic Rada Deputies Visitors' Program (1994-2001)
- The Ukrainian Leadership Program Initiative (2001-2004)
In the UA Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable Series, the role of UCIS was pivotal. Its director, Walter Zaryckyj, served as a program coordinator for each of the eventual Roundtables; its personnel served in various vital preparatory functions associated with staging the said forums. UCIS played an important role in having: (a) the full transcripts of the forums published as monographs and (b) annotated keynote speeches published as articles in journals and newspapers both in Ukraine and the United States. Perhaps most important, UCIS took the lead to expand the scope and format of the RT Series. It led the effort to start up the UA B2B Networking Forum Series in 2003. In March 2004, it helped stage a prototype of the UA Historical Encounters Series; in June 2005, it initiated the US-Ukrainian Security Dialogue and, in November 2005, it ran the first US-Ukraine Energy Conference.
Given the above record, UCIS/USA, which ultimately merged its human and material resources into the CUSUR endeavor, proved to an invaluable ‘bridge’ between the work that the steering committees of each of the Roundtables accomplished and the broader, more formalized administrative functions that the Center has now been asked to perform.