Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk is one of the 541 Ukrainian graduates of the Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program – an undertaking of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, managed in recent years by the Leaders of Change Foundation.
The vote of thanks of the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister was an answer to the letter of support written by Agata Wierzbowska-Miazga, President of the Leaders of Change Foundation, and Jerzy Koźmiński, President and CEO of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation:
“We are following the struggle of Ukrainian men and women against the Russian aggressor with great concern and deepest respect. Hoping that the war will end soon, we are doing all we can to provide organizational and financial support to Ukrainian scholars and graduates of the Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program and participants of the Study Tours to Poland Program, who are undertaking enormous efforts in both Ukraine and Poland to help the civilians threatened by the aggression, as well as people arriving to Poland as war refugees.
In response to the dramatic situation in Ukraine, the Polish-American Freedom Foundation immediately reformulated the activities and budgets of its programs conducted both in Poland and abroad and has provided over PLN 3 million for new tasks.”
The letter’s authors present specific initiatives that PAFF and the Leaders of Change Foundation have undertaken since the first day of the war, announcing transformation of one of these actions, “Support for Ukraine”, into a new, broad program with a budget of PLN 4 million. The letter finishes with the following words:
“We see the enormous needs of Ukraine itself and the war refugees in Poland; we are striving to respond to them the best we can.
If we are able to help in any way as part of the Foundation’s programs, please let us know – we will try to respond immediately as we can given our limited resources and the size of the current challenges.
We wish you boundless energy, share with you our warmest thoughts, express our unshaken solidarity with the heroically fighting Ukraine and believe in its speedy victory!”
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk acknowledged the long-term commitment of PAFF aimed at transformation and development of the Eastern European countries, including Ukraine: “Thank you for the new assistance programs for Ukraine and for helping the refugees. Today the security of our soldiers’ families, our women and children is of the utmost importance.”
The objective of the Lane Kirkland Scholarships Program, launched in 2000, is to share the Polish experiences in systemic transformation and European integration with representatives of Eastern European countries, as well as the South Caucasus and Central Asia, by offering two-semester complementary courses at Polish universities.
Iryna Vereshchuk, a former mayor of Rava-Ruska and civic activist who engaged in the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, stayed in Poland throughout the 2015/16 academic year as part of the Kirkland’s scholarship. During her stay in Warsaw she was working on a project entitled “Public opinion as the basis for the administrative reform: Polish solutions for Ukraine” at the National School of Public Administration. After returning to Ukraine, she headed a think-tank dealing with international relations in the Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions, and later began her political activity. In 2020, she was a candidate of the Servant of the People political party to the post of mayor of the capital of Ukraine. In 2019-2021, she sat at the Verkhovna Rada; she entered the parliament as a member of the President’s party, the Servant of the People. In November 2021, she took the position of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of Temporary Occupied Territories in the Government of Denys Shmyhal.
Photo courtesy of www.president.gov.ua/en; The Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program