First Ukrainian-American Forum War Time Economy Held in Kyiv
22 May 2023Kyiv, Ukraine - The First Ukrainian-American Forum titled War Time Economy took place in Kyiv on May 19, attracting approximately 500 participants from both the United States and Ukraine. Ukrainian American House hosted the event, partnered with American University Kyiv, the U.S. - Ukraine Business Council, Kyiv School of Public Administration Named After Serhiy Nyzhnyy, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine to host the first Ukrainian-American Forum in Kyiv. The forum aimed to create a platform for dialogue and cooperation to restore the Ukrainian economy, attract investments, and address the urgent issue of demining territories. The forum commenced with a powerful performance of the Ukrainian anthem by Mykhailo Khoma DZIDZIO, a Ukrainian singer, setting the tone for a productive and inspiring event. About 30 speakers from both the USA and Ukraine contributed to the dialogue. Distinguished participants at the forum included Christopher W. Smith, Deputy Chief of Mission in Ukraine; Kurt D. Volker, former U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine; Howard Buffett, head of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation; Dan Rice, President of American University Kyiv; Morgan Williams, Chairman of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council; Andy Hunder, President of the American Chamber of Commerce; Roman Sheremeta, Founding Rector of American University Kyiv and Co-chair of the Ukrainian American House; Alexander Kubrakov, Deputy Prime Minister for the Restoration of Ukraine; Oleksiy Reznikov, Minister of Defense of Ukraine; Vitali Klitschko, Mayor of Kyiv; and Vitalii Kim, Head of the Regional Administration of Mykolayiv. Christopher W. Smith, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission to Ukraine, emphasized that the success of Ukraine's reconstruction requires the collective efforts of all partners and international organizations, not only from the government but also from the private sector. He stated that once the economy starts functioning, life will gradually return to the affected regions of Ukraine, allowing companies to rebuild their devastated enterprises. During the forum, discussions focused on developing a comprehensive plan of action to rebuild the Ukrainian economy, attract investments, and address the pressing issue of demining territories. The speakers emphasized the need for international cooperation and private-sector involvement in Ukraine's reconstruction efforts. They also highlighted the importance of creating accessible financing options, insurance mechanisms for war risks, and support for Ukrainian farmers in demining activities. According to Vlad Skots, one of the organizers and the head of the Ukrainian-American House, the forum proved to be a timely initiative as the interest in establishing a business partnership between Ukraine and the United States has significantly increased since the beginning of the conflict. Skots expressed hope that the forum would serve as a hub for exchanging ideas, fostering connections, and creating a platform for developing innovative solutions to the complex challenges faced by Ukraine. Organizers are confident the Ukrainian-American Forum has the potential to become one of the most influential platforms in U.S.-Ukraine business relations during the war.
Siguler Guff and Solvd Donated Over 250 Generators To Ukraine
20 April 2023Siguler Guff & Company, LP, a global multi-strategy private markets investment firm, has teamed up with its portfolio engineering company, Solvd inc, to donate over 250 portable generators to Ukrainian families and businesses in need. This contribution has been provided as part of the Share the Light program launched by the Ukrainian American House and the Consulate General of Ukraine in San Francisco. The initiative aims to respond to Ukraine's ongoing energy crisis caused by attacks on its civilian infrastructure, which has resulted in power outages and blackouts across the country. The generators will provide much-needed reliable access to electricity to those affected. Our efforts are directed to make sure that the generators reach those businesses and families most in need quickly. Vlad Skots, Chairman of Ukrainian American House, expressed his gratitude for the partnership, stating that the organization has tirelessly worked towards bringing aid and awareness to the people of Ukraine and the horrific events they are undergoing. He added that partnerships like this expand their reach further than ever and offer help to those in need. The UA House looks forward to continuing these partnerships in the future. The donation of electric generators is part of the joint effort of Siguler Guff and Solvd to invest in the long-term recovery of the local economy. Drew Guff, Co-Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Siguler Guff, said that the initiative helps individuals and small businesses meet their immediate needs and serves as the first step towards investing in the long-term recovery of the local economy. He also stated that Siguler Guff has a long investment history in the Ukraine region through companies such as EPAM Systems, GlobalLogic, and now Solvd, which have created tens of thousands of Ukrainian jobs. Mr. Guff added that Siguler Guff looks forward to providing additional support for Ukrainian humanitarian causes and organizations. Igor Vayner, Chairman of Solvd, and a UA House executive board member, noted that a huge part of the Solvd team is located in Ukraine and has continued delivering exceptional services without disruption amid challenging circumstances. Our donation of electric generators reflects our support for both our valued employees and the entire country during this difficult time. The "Share the Light" project, spearheaded by the Ukrainian American House and the Consulate General of Ukraine in San Francisco, has been significantly boosted through a partnership with Siguler Guff and Solvd. The project aims to address the energy crisis affecting many parts of Ukraine by providing 500 portable generators to families and businesses in need. These efforts are part of ongoing support for the people of Ukraine during these difficult times.
An Inspiring Story of a War-Time Ukrainian Student
3 April 2023This is a success story of an 18-year-old Ukrainian student, Zlata Biedarieva, who achieved her dream thanks to her determination and activity. Zlata had a dream of receiving a high-quality education at the American University in Kyiv. Because of the family's financial struggles due to the war and the fact that Zlata’s father joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the family couldn’t afford this dream. Despite that, she remained persistent and proactive in finding ways to fund her education. And her hard work paid off! Thanks to the UA House scholarship program, Zlata could achieve her dream and pursue the higher education she dreamt of. The morning of February 24 started like any other day for Zlata until she received a phone call from her boyfriend. "Don't worry - the war has started," he said. Zlata heard no explosions, no planes, no sirens - nothing that would indicate that her world was about to change forever. However, the frantic movements of her parents, the sudden blaring of the television, and the ringing of the phone made it clear that something serious was happening. Zlata quickly turned to her school chat and realized the situation was dire. Her classmates were reporting sightings of helicopters and the first-ever sounding of sirens in her hometown of Obolon. The reality of the situation hit her hard, but Zlata knew she had to remain calm and assess the situation rationally. She started by asking herself practical questions: "Where are the documents? Where are the clothes? Where are the suitcases?" With her mother's emotional response to the situation, Zlata knew she had to take charge and be the strong one in the family. And so, just a few hours later, she found herself scouring the internet for the map of shelters. Zlata knew that every second counts in times of crisis, and she was determined to be prepared for whatever lay ahead. This moment marked the beginning of an extraordinary journey for Zlata that would test her courage, resilience, and determination to the limit. Despite the challenges, Zlata never lost hope and continued to push herself to achieve her dreams. Her story is a reminder of the strength of the human spirit in times of adversity. An underground parking lot was one of the few places where Zlata and her family could find shelter during the invasion. They spent their first few days in a nearby shelter, but the constant sound of car doors slamming and engines revving made it difficult to sleep. The room was also incredibly cold, and they had to use tires and blankets to make a makeshift bed. On the third night, they decided to sleep in their car parked nearby. However, they were jolted awake by a loud explosion and a bright red sky. They quickly ran back to the shelter. After a week, they decided to leave the city, but their old car would not take them far. They joined the crowds at the train station, where people with pets and suitcases scrambled to catch the next train. The family planned to go to Lviv but ended up boarding a train to Khmelnytskyi due to safety concerns. The train was crowded, and people constantly got on and off at the brief stops. Zlata met a man and his elderly mother who were also fleeing from Donbas, and they shared stories along the way. When they arrived in Khmelnytskyi, they had to spend the night at the station due to the curfew. They witnessed military vehicles being loaded onto nearby tracks. The next morning, acquaintances took them to Lviv, where they bought a train ticket to Mukachevo. From there, the boy's parents drove them to a hotel in a small town near the border with Hungary. However, the problems did not stop there. The very next day, the police conducted a raid on their hotel, looking for men to serve in the army. Zlata's parents and her boyfriend were also served with summonses. Since then, they have served in the army without any days off. In four months, they could spend only 3 days with their relatives, out of which one and a half was taken up by the road to and from home. Despite these challenges, Zlata excelled in her studies. She repeatedly won mathematics and linguistics Olympiads at school and was also the host of the school television program. She knows six languages and scored the highest possible on her final exams. Even before the war, Zlata had dreamed of studying in the USA, as many specialties were not taught in Ukraine. However, due to her family's deteriorating health, she had to give up this dream. Nevertheless, she tried to find the spirit of America in Ukraine. Then, Zlata saw an announcement on LinkedIn about American University Kyiv offering IT and business management programs. Since the university was established in partnership with Arizona State University, students would have opportunities for internships in the US. However, the cost of education was $8,000 per year, which was unaffordable for Zlata's family due to the war and her father's mobilization. After discussing it with her family, Zlata submitted her application for help to cover her tuition fee partially. The next day, Zlata received a call from a university representative who read her motivational letter and was inspired by her story. Since UA House and AUK have a long-term partnership, the representative reached out to the Ukrainian American House to share the touching story of the talented student. The charitable organization was impressed with her biography, skills, and willingness to get a higher education. Finally, she received wonderful news - she became the first scholarship recipient helped by UA House! Zlata’s dream came true thanks to the UA House and kind support of caring donors.
Extension for Certain Ukrainians Paroled into the United States
13 March 2023The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued good news for Ukrainian parolees who arrived in the USA between February 24 and April 25. These individuals' legal status will be automatically extended for an additional year. This is reported on the official website DHS. Certain Ukrainian nationals and immediate family members were paroled into the United States last year, on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons, during an approximate eight-week period after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and before the Uniting for Ukraine process was available. Such individuals were generally paroled for a period of one year, while participants in Uniting for Ukraine received a two-year period of parole. With hostilities in Ukraine entering their second year, DHS assesses that there remain urgent humanitarian reasons, as well as a significant public benefit, for extending the parole of certain Ukrainians who arrived prior to Uniting for Ukraine. DHS will consider Ukrainian nationals and immediate family members who were paroled, on a case-by-case basis, before Uniting for Ukraine for an extension of the parole period and employment authorization, if applicable. Specifically, individuals paroled into the United States at a port of entry between February 24, 2022 and April 25, 2022 will be considered for an extension. DHS is in the process of considering these individuals, on a case-by-case basis, for a one-year extension of their period of parole to align with the two-year parole period provided under Uniting for Ukraine. DHS estimates it will take approximately four weeks to consider and vet all the individuals in the group and will review cases based on the date of parole. If an individual’s parole period is extended, DHS will proactively make available online an updated Form I-94 with the extended parole period. The period of parole will be extended from the current expiration date without a gap. Individuals can retrieve and download an updated Form I-94 as evidence of their extended parole period by visiting CBP’s Form I-94 website. Those who have their period of parole extended will also be eligible to receive employment authorization for the additional year.