on 24 November 2002 in New York, U.S.A., for the year 2003.
- 70th Anniversary of the Great Famine of 1932-33
- 85th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the IVth Universal Decree of the Ukrainian Central Rada, and of the Battle at Kruty
- 90th Anniversary of the death of Lesia Ukrainka
- 40th Anniversary of the death of Vasyl Symonenko
Additional commemorative dates which the Svitova Uprava recommends vykhovnyky include in their educational programs:
- 750th Anniversary of the Coronation of Danylo of Halych
- 90th Anniversary of the death of Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky
Also selected was our Haslo for 2003:
Translation: Hope against all hope
This year’s haslo reflects the words of Lesya Ukrainka in her poem Contra spem spero, written in 1890. That particular year was one of Lesya’s most difficult, as she battled an illness that weakened and exhausted her, both physically and mentally. In this poem Lesya Ukrainka verbalizes her unwillingness to be conquered by her illness. She says that she will not give up, but will continue to battle her disease, for she has the will to live. She yearns still to do much in her life. Up to that point, a large part of her life had been dedicated to her battle against Tuberculosis, a disease which would ultimately lead to her untimely, young death.
Throughout her poems, Lesya Ukrainka repeatedly underlines the need to turn hardship into victory, pain into joy, the impossible into the possible.
We should take example from Lesya Ukrainka, and under the watchword Contra spem spero constantly strive toward positive traits in our own character:
- To strengthen one’s willpower
- Not to give in to obstacles and hardships
- Always strive to overcome, and not break one’s will in times of failure
- Always try to achieve one’s goals
- Strive for a higher level of knowledge and personal harmony in one’s life
(cf. Osobovist’ Sumivtsya, Pravynyk Yunatstva CYM)
In writing her literary works, Lesya Ukrainka believed it a key task of a poet is to serve one’s nation, and to that end felt that her poetry must be her own weapon. Lesya felt that through her works she was participating not only in social and community life, but also in the battle for an independent country. Lesya Ukrainka’s life did not follow the path that she would have chosen, yet she never bowed to the obstacles nor hardships that life threw in her path. Instead, through her literary works, she would strongly influence the consciousness of an entire Ukrainian nation.
We look to Lesya Ukrainka as an example of strength of character, love of life, an uncompromising drive to battle obstacles. Let us strive to highlight the positives in any situation instead of giving in to the hardships of life – Contra spem spero!
– Iryna Jendzjowsky
Holova Svitovoji Vykhovnoji Rady
CONTRA SPEM SPERO!
Away, dark thoughts, you autumn clouds!
No, through all my tears I still shall laugh,
On this poor, indigent ground
And from those burning tears will melt
Unto a winding, flinty mountain
Throughout a lasting night of darkness
I shall not allow my heart to fall sleep,
Death will settle heavily on that breast,
Yes, I will laugh despite my tears,
– Lesya Ukrainka