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The following dates of commemoration were formally selected at a Plenum of CYM's World Executive
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


Away, dark thoughts, you autumn clouds!
A golden spring is here!
Shall it be thus in sorrow and in lamentation
That my youthful years pass away?

No, through all my tears I still shall laugh,
Sing songs despite my troubles;
Have hope despite all odds,
I want to live! Away, you sorrowful thoughts!

On this poor, indigent ground
I shall sow flowers of flowing colors;
I shall sow flowers even amidst the frost,
And water them with my bitter tears.

And from those burning tears will melt
The frozen crust, so hard and strong,
Perhaps the flowers will bloom and
Bring about for me a joyous spring.

Unto a winding, flinty mountain
Shall I bear my weighty stone,
Yet, even bearing such a crushing weight,
Will I sing a joyful song.

Throughout a lasting night of darkness
Ne'er shall I rest my own eyes,
Always searching for the guiding star,
The bright empress of the dark night skies.

I shall not allow my heart to fall sleep,
Though gloom and misery envelop me,
Despite my certain feelings
That death is beating at my breast.

Death will settle heavily on that breast,
The snow covered by a cruel haze,
But fierce shall beat my little heart,
And maybe, with its ferocity, overcome death.

Yes, I will laugh despite my tears,
I'll sing out songs amidst my misfortunes;
I'll have hope despite all odds,
I will live! Away, you sorrowful thoughts!

- Lesya Ukrainka
May 2, 1890
(translation: A.B.)

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