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Main Diplomacy — First Lady took part in the opening of the Ukrainian Institute's representation in Paris

Diplomacy

First Lady took part in the opening of the Ukrainian Institute's representation in Paris

10 Nov, 2023
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First Lady took part in the opening of the Ukrainian Institute's representation in Paris

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As part of her visit to France, the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, participated in the opening of the representation of the Ukrainian Institute in Paris.

In March 2022, at the initiative of the representative of the Ukrainian Institute in France, Olga Sagaydak, a group of volunteers launched the cultural project "Printemps Ukrainien" ("Ukrainian Spring"), aimed at introducing the French audience to Ukrainian culture in response to the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The result was 96 cultural events that gathered over 40,000 visitors. In 2023, the project was transformed into a permanent institution – the representation of the Ukrainian Institute in France, which was opened on November 9. This is the second permanent representation of the Ukrainian Institute in the EU after the representation in Berlin, Germany.

The team of the Ukrainian Institute will operate at La Gaîté Lyrique (a cultural venue in Paris) with the support of the Open Society Foundation, the Ministry of Culture, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of France, the French Institute, the City Hall of Paris, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, and the Embassy of Ukraine in France.

 

 

At the opening ceremony, the following individuals were also present: French Minister of Culture Rima Malak, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzhaparova, Director-General of the Ukrainian Institute Volodymyr Sheiko, Secretary of State for European and Foreign Affairs of France Laurence Boon, Deputy Mayor of Paris for Culture Karine Rolland, and Chairman of the Open Society Foundation Alexander Soros.

Olena Zelenska emphasized the significance of the opening of the representation and the importance of the Ukrainian Institute's mission during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. She noted that Russia is currently destroying Ukrainian culture and has been appropriating it for centuries.

"If you ask many Europeans now what they know about Ukraine not from the news but from the cultural sphere, from the books of our classical artists, writers, it will probably be a difficult question. It's sad that the world is starting to learn more about Ukrainian culture and our contribution to the world only through the Russian attack. But it's good that it will learn. Because our culture proves: we exist, always have been, and always will be. However much the empire wants – and now it wants – to appropriate us again," said the First Lady.

She urged Europeans to learn about the true Ukrainian contribution to world culture and to rid themselves of imperial "optics."

 

 

"The time of empires has passed. The unprecedented attention of the world to Ukraine opens up new opportunities for cultural diplomacy between Ukraine and France, returning Ukrainian culture as a significant and integral part of Europe. It is precisely for the sake of this that Ukraine and our entire culture are now being defended. And we are grateful to everyone who understands and supports us," emphasized the President's wife.

The Ukrainian Institute will serve as a bridge for dialogue between Ukrainian and French cultures, artists, scholars, and simply concerned individuals. It will be a platform for presenting Ukraine through concerts of contemporary and classical music, cinema, literature, a space for discussions and debates – everything that can finally tell the truth about us.

"To provide more opportunities for Ukrainian and foreign cultural figures, we are opening offices of the Ukrainian Institute in key partner countries in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ukrainian embassies," said Vladimir Sheiko, the director of the Ukrainian Institute.

As a first step in this new partnership, a memorandum was signed between the Ukrainian Institute and the Sorbonne University, paving the way for Ukrainian studies, lectures, and the study of Ukrainian studies at this legendary institution.

 

 

The Ukrainian Institute is a state institution that represents Ukrainian culture worldwide and shapes a positive image of our country abroad. The institute was founded by the Cabinet of Ministers in 2017 and belongs to the sphere of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It officially started its activities in the summer of 2018. The mission of the Ukrainian Institute is to strengthen Ukraine's international and domestic identity through the opportunities of cultural diplomacy.

The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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