The term Ukraine’s Historical Encounters was coined in 1998, when Columbia University’s Harriman Institute used it to title a “breakthrough” two-day symposium that was tasked with exploring the long and troubled relations between Ukraine and its always imposing northern neighbor, Russia.
A long and distinguished line of academics did precisely what was asked of them; they delved into the past, present and future to examine “the ties that bind, often too tightly”.
The end result of the endeavor was a well-received monograph, containing the forum’s highlight presentations, bearing the same appellation.
The term resurfaced as a title in 2003, when NYU’s Center for Global Affairs ran a one-day conference, in conjunction with CUSUR’s predecessor—UCIS, which reassembled a number of the speaking participants of Ukraine’s
Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable II: Taking Measure of a U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership [Nov 2001] and asked the gathering to update their assessment of relations between Ukraine and the world’s “remaining superpower”.
The forum’s frank discussions included a very serious give and take on the prevailing issue of common concern at the time: the War on Terror.
In 2004, the two Universities [CU’s East Central European Center added its weight to the project at this juncture], through the good offices of UCIS, decided to combine their efforts under the stated moniker and launch a set of forums that would explore Ukraine’s “past, present and future” ties with its various neighbors [both countries and regional associations].
The Ukraine’s Historical Encounters Series has held six such major events:
- UA Historical Encounters Forum I: Polish-Ukrainian Relations
- UA Historical Encounters Forum II: Ukraine-Visegrad Relations
- UA Historical Encounters Forum III: GUAM/Black and Caspian Sea Cooperation
- UA Historical Encounters Forum IV: Weimar Triangle-Ukraine
- UA Historical Encounters Forum V: Ukraine-BSEC
- UA Historical Encounters Forum VI: Ukraine-Caucasus-Central Asia
In addition, CUSUR has sponsored several special UA HES symposia dedicated to Ukraine’s encounters with its own history:
- UA HES SE (2011): The People’s War/National Liberation Struggles in E. Ukraine (1917-1933)
- UA HES SE (2012): Undaunted/The Legacy of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (1942-1950)
- UA HES SE (4/2013): Assessing Ukraine’s Post-Totalitarian Experience
- UA HES SE (10/2013): Holodomor: Taking Measure of the Ukrainian Famine Genocide 1932-1933
- UA HES SE (5/2014): Celebrating the 200th of Ukraine’s Great Bard
- UA HES SE (2015): Contested Ground: The Legacy of WW2 in Eastern Europe
- UA HES SE (2016): Ukraine at 25
- UA HES SE (2017): The Ukrainian World Congress at 50
- UA HES SE (2018): Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Ukr. Nat. Republic
- UA HES SE (2019): Commemorating the 125th Anniversary of the Organized Ukrainian American Community
- UA HES SE (2020): The Ukrainian Experience in 1945 – A 75th Year Retrospective
- UA HES SE (2021): Ukraine at 30 (Nearly 2 Generations in Freedom)
- UA HES SE (2022): The Ukrainian Experience in 1942 – A 80th Year Retrospective
In 2023, the UA HES Series will run a regular gathering under the moniker: UA Historical Encounters Forum VII: Ukraine-Poland-Lithuania/The Lublin Triangle