Leader, and Founder of the UNYF


Paul Yuzyk Institute for Youth Leadership Founded in 2009 by the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada (UNF) and the Ukrainian National Youth Federation of Canada (UNYF), Paul Yuzyk Institute takes its inspiration from the life’s work of Senator Paul Yuzyk (1913- 1986). A Canadian Parliamentarian, Academic, Ukrainian Canadian Community Leader, and Founder of the UNYF, he persevered through the economic hardship and ethnic discrimination of his youth to pioneer the official recognition in 1971 of Canada as a multicultural country. The goal of PYI is to train future generations of Canadian community leaders consistent with the vision of its founders.

(1913-1986) Teacher, Professor, Senator

Press photo of Yuzyk family released on the occasion of his appointment to the Senate of Canada by Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker, February 4, 1963.

Paul Yuzyk was born on June 24, 1913 in Pinto (near Estevan), Saskatchewan of pioneer Ukrainian parents. He was an excellent pupil in public high school, receiving 100% on the final exam in Grade 11 mathematics and physics. After attending the Saskatoon Normal School (Teacher’s Training College) from 1932-1933 where he graduated with distinction, he taught public and high school from 1933-1942 in Hafford, Saskatchewan. In 1942, he enlisted in the Canadian Army where, as a Non Commissioned Officer, he trained officers until discharged in 1943 to return to university. At the University of Saskatchewan he completed a B.A. in Mathematics and Physics in 1945, a B.A. Honours in History in 1947 and a M.A. in History in 1948 on “The Ukrainian (Greek) Catholic Church of Canada.” He was then offered a fellowship from the Manitoba Historical Society to write a history of the Ukrainians in Manitoba. This work was published in 1953 as The Ukrainians in Manitoba: A Social History. In 1949, he entered a Ph.D. program in history at the University of Minnesota completing his course work in 1951 and his Ph.D. thesis in 1958 on “The Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of Canada 1918-1951.” Alongside his academic pursuits, he played an active role in numerous community organizations. To highlight a few:
  • A founder and first President of the Ukrainian National Youth Federation 1934-1936 and editor of its monthly magazine “Holos Molodi” (Youth Speaks) 1948-1949;
  • A founder of the Ukrainian Canadian University Students’ Union 1953;
  • National Treasurer of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee 1952-1955;
  • Founder, first Secretary Treasurer 1954-56, President 1963-64, the Canadian Association of Slavists (CAS);
  • President, Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre, 1955-71;
  • Member of the Y.W.C.A. Advisory Committee on Adult Education 1958-1963 and member of the General Curriculum Committee, Dept. of Education, Government of Manitoba 1958-1959;
  • Director, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, 1926-68;
  • Board of Directors, Canadian Centenary Council, 1956-67.

His profile in Manitoba as a historian and community leader earned Yuzyk an appointment to the Senate on February 4, 1963 by the Right Hon. John Diefenbaker whom he had known since 1935. Yuzyk’s activities in the Senate have been primarily in the areas of multiculturalism, human rights, external affairs and national defence. For his role in shaping the policy of multiculturalism, he has been called the “Father of Multiculturalism.”

He was also active in a variety of parliamentary committees as well as parliamentary delegations, particularly delegations to the United Nations, the North Atlantic Assembly (N.A.T.O.) and the Review Conferences of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (C.S.C.E) in Belgrade, Madrid and Ottawa. As Rapporteur of the Subcommittee of the Free Flow of Information and People, 1977-1981, he was responsible for reports on the implementation of human rights on an international level and was editor of “The Bulletin” published by North Atlantic Assembly.

In the Senate he has been closely associated with cultural and human rights organizations particularly the following:

  • Director, Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, since 1963;
    Acting Chairman, Canadian Parliamentary Amnesty International Group since 1974;
  • Chairman, Human Rights Commission, World Federation of Free Ukrainians since 1967;
  • Chairman, Canadian Folk Arts Council 1975-1980, President since 1980;
  • Organizer of a number of successful cultural events on Parliament Hill such as Baltic Evening, starting in 1972, Ukrainian Evening in 1971 and 1981 and the 90th Anniversary of Ukrainian Settlement in Canada.

Paul Yuzyk with the Prime Minister of Canada John Diefenbaker (1963).

The Paul Yuzyk Institute for Youth Leadership invites high school and university age students to participate in an exciting four-day exploration of the world’s largest eco-museum showcasing the historic block settlements of the Ukrainian Canadian pioneers dating back to the late 1890s. This multifaceted education excursion, conducted bilingually in Ukrainian and English, will provide an opportunity for students to learn about the early immigration experience, prairie architecture, challenges of preserving cultural heritage, and Alberta’s contemporary English-Ukrainian bilingual schools.


  • Strengthening leadership abilities
  • Understanding Canada’s multicultural reality yesterday and today
  • Improving the understanding of the roles of volunteerism and government in sustaining Ukrainian community life in Canada


$895 (not including travel expenses i.e. airfare, train, etc.) *most meals will be provided and dorm-style lodging will be at St. John Ukrainian Institute in Edmonton, Alberta.


A unique education experience in the Nation’s Capital for youth ages 14-22, to learn how our government touches the lives of Ukrainian Canadians and how our Ukrainian community has helped build the Canadian nation and Canada’s multicultural society.
Learning Objectives:

  • Developing Youth Leadership Competencies
  • Understanding the Ukrainian Canadian Community and Multiculturalism
  • Understanding How the Canadian Government Works


$950 for UNF members
$1000 for non UNF members
$650 for Ottawa students who will not require hotel accommodations

* Cost includes local travel, hotel accommodation, all meals, educational program and participants handbook, training and facilitators…… does not include travel to or from Ottawa.
In return for community volunteer hours, bursaries are available as follows: students who need to travel to Ottawa $200 per student, for local Ottawa students $100.

  • Parliament Hill, guided tour of House of Commons (including attendance at Question Period), Senate and Library of Parliament; as well as meetings with elected Members of Parliament to discuss issues of interest to youth in the Ukrainian Canadian community. Discussions about famous Canadians of Ukrainian background that chose a Canadian political life and helped build the nation of Canada.
  • World famous architecture of the Canadian Museum of History and its collection including the 1907 St Onuphrius Ukrainian Catholic Church from Smokey Lake, Alberta.
  • Family genealogical and Community exploration at the National Archives and Library Canada with leading Ukrainian Canadian researcher and Archival expert Myron Momryk.
  • Ukrainian Canadians and Canada’s wars: heroes, internees, Canadian soldiers: understanding Ukrainian heritage through the displays at the War Museum of Canada.
  • Site visits the Ukrainian Catholic Shrine, Taras Shevchenko Monument and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and the Ukrainian Embassy in Canada.
  • Learning sessions about the contributions by the ‘Father of Canadian Multiculturalism’ Senator Paul Yuzyk and a visit to his final resting place. Contributions by Canada’s General Joseph Romanow to bringing Ukrainian to Canada after the Second World War.
  • Discussions at St. Paul’s University (University of Ottawa) on the role of religion in the last 120 years of settlement by Ukrainians in Canada.
  • Social and educational meetings with Ukrainian Canadian youth and young leaders from Ukraine in the Ottawa area.

“Before taking part in this program I was not fully aware of the ways Ukrainian Canadians have impacted our government. It was very interesting and eye-opening to see how our government is different today because of the decisions made in the past. I learned that someone’s opinion can be heard.

Overall this program taught me about our government, the history of our country’s development , the resources available to us, and most of all, it has motivated me to make a difference and stand up for what is right.
I would also like to stay in contact and help out with the 2014 program because I believe it is an amazing experience for individuals of all ages, especially those who have a particular interest in history and/or politics.
I would like to thank everyone who took part in making this program successful and possible. I would also like to thank UNF West-Toronto Branch for sponsoring my participation. I would never have experienced the Ukrainian Canadian impact on Canada without this opportunity.
Thank you! “

Lida Luczkiw

“Participation to Paul Yuzyk Parliamentary Forum has brought me an incredible experience. I learned a lot of new things about Ottawa, Canadian Parliament, multiculturalism and Ukrainians in Canada. I met interesting people who helped me develop my leadership and inspired me to further work. Paul Migus, our coordinator, is one of them. He was really communicative, approachable and organized. Even in unforeseen circumstances due to a terrorist attack on Parliament Hill, he was able to reassure us and to bring successfully the program to an end. I will always remember these five days because they gave me confidence and enthusiasm for the future.”

Viktoriya Savchenko


The Paul Yuzyk Institute for Youth Leadership (PYI), an affiliate of the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada (UNF) and the Ukrainian National Youth Federation of Canada (UNYF), invites high school and university age students to participate in an exciting five day exploration of the Ukrainian experience in Nova Scotia in a comparative context of the First Nation, Black, and Acadian communities. This multi-faceted educational excursion includes visits to Canada’s Immigration Museum at Pier 21 which served as our country’s immigration gateway between 1920 and 1970, and the UNESCO Heritage Site of Lunenburg. Share cultural experiences with First Nation students at a Mik’maq school, try your hand at playing African drums, and pray in the only Ukrainian church east of Montreal. Explore the parallel histories of the Acadians and the Ukrainians of Zakerzonnia, and the history of Cape Breton’s coal mining industry in which generations of Ukrainians toiled. Gain cross-cultural perspective through a comparative Ukrainian-Celtic-Mik’maq workshop at Cape Breton University facilitated by leading ethnologists in the field.

The program will provide opportunities to reflect on issues such as racism, intercultural solidarity, challenges faced by contemporary immigrants, and the challenges different cultural communities share in maintaining their heritage. Leadership development exercises in the areas of individual skill building, our multicultural reality and the role of Ukrainian Canadians, and the role of government in the life of Canadians are interwoven throughout the program. Conducted bilingually in Ukrainian and English, the program is based on learning objectives developed by professional educators.


The Learning Objectives of this educational excursion are focused on three major leadership oriented themes: strengthening leadership abilities, understanding Canada’s multicultural reality and the role of the Ukrainian Canadian community, and a greater appreciation of the role of government in the lives of Canadians.

Strengthening the leadership abilities of the participants will include: improving communication and engagement through interchanges with local community leaders (Cape Breton Miners Museum); understanding roles and responsibilities of community organizers (communities and churches in Sydney); and exploring the tools and processes for successfully planning and organizing events (Lunenburg UNESCO Heritage site).

Increasing participants understanding of the multicultural reality and the role of the Ukrainian Canadian community will include: introduction to 120 years of Ukrainian settlement in Canada with a focus on Ukrainians in Halifax, Ukrainian Immigrant Monument); an overview of multiculturalism in Canada (the policy and law, and the role of the “Father of Multiculturalism” – Senator Paul Yuzyk of Ukrainian heritage); and an overview of the current different perceptions of minority rights, communities in distress and multiculturalism (Cape Breton University and a cross cultural workshop).

Improving the understanding of the role of government in the life of Canadians will include: a review of the role of Nova Scotia and the Atlantic provinces in establishing a constitution which divided powers between the government Canada (Ottawa) and the provinces (Acadian story and the Fortress of Louisburg); the roles of Ottawa in immigration (Pier 21, Black Cultural Center) and the provinces in immigrant settlement; and the role of governments in cultural and heritage retention (education and the Mik’maq School).



From June 22 to July 11, 2016, eight students were selected to participate in the Paul Yuzyk Institute’s Ukrainians of Western Europe: Community Dynamics and the Canadian Connection Educational Excursion. Students traveled to Rotterdam, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Manchester, Nottingham, London, Paris, Luxembourg, Munich, Rome, Florence and Barcelona to meet with Ukrainian communities and visit Ukrainian community institutions, cultural and historic landmarks.

This pilot project was initiated to give participants an understanding of Ukrainian settlement and community development in Europe from the late 19th to the early 21st centuries and how they compare and contrast with the North American experience in terms of Ukrainian history, international migration patterns, and the retention of Ukrainian community and identity. The program explored the “Canadian connection” to Ukrainian Europe life, its impact on European Ukrainian and Ukrainian Canadian history, and its contemporary relevance to the global networking of Ukrainians until the present day. As the mandate of the Paul Yuzyk Institute is to train future generations of Canadian community leaders, this pilot project was launched to help students better understand their heritage, how Ukrainian communities differ and are similar abroad, build multicultural networks and share their knowledge with their local communities.

This educational excursion would not have been possible without our generous sponsors: The Ukrainian Credit Union Limited, The UNF Foundation, Dr. Sonia Prokopetz, Dr. Jaroslaus Czerevko and Mrs. Edith Czerevko Family Fund, Mr. Stefan Jewitz (Federation of Ukrainians in Great Britain), Ukrainian Women’s Organization of Canada- Toronto, UNF West Toronto Branch, UNF Montreal Branch, UNYF West Toronto Branch, Ukrainian War Veterans Association of Canada and Bloor Travel Agency Ltd., Tatjana Lepki.

We would also like to thank all of our community hosts in the countries we visited- for all of their generosity and hospitality.

“Being apart of this education excursion was an eye opening experience for me! Prior to this excursion, I had never learned about local Ukrainian communities outside of North America nor had I realized how many Ukrainian organizations exist throughout Europe. Speaking with individuals from these communities and hearing about the successes and struggles they have in their communities was a great learning experience. What was most surprising to me is how generous and welcoming all of the communities and individuals we met along the way were to us! The connections and friendships I made during this excursion are invaluable.
I am forever grateful for this experience and would highly recommend it to all students!”

Olesya Pogorelova

“When I was selected to participate on this educational excursion I was very excited to increase my knowledge about Ukrainian history and local communities in Western Europe. However, what I did not expect was how much I would personally grow on this trip and further develop my leadership skills. This trip was a once in a lifetime experience that any Ukrainian Canadian student should take part in. There is a great balance between learning about Ukrainian Communities in Europe and tourist activities within the many cities that are visited during the program. Taking part in this trip also allows students to meet people they would have never met before and make life long friends in the process. I would highly recommend this trip to future students.

Max Fedchyshak