America House opens with a photo exhibit and a welcome to Ukrainians

The U.S. government has opened a center in Kyiv, called America House, where Ukrainians and Americans will be able to gather and discuss issues of the day. A collection of photos of Ukrainian soldiers by American photographer Joseph Sywenkyj is among the first exhibits featured at the house.

Sywenkyj’s photos have appeared in major magazines and have been exhibited in a U.S. Senate building in Washington and in the U.N. lobby in New York. As a Fulbright scholar, he witnessed Ukraine’s Maidan revolution in late 2013 and early 2014, during which he took the photos in this exhibit, many of which could provoke vigorous discussion of recent events by visitors.

“America House is the connection between Ukrainian democracy, Ukrainian reform and the ideals that we share together — free speech, debate, conversation. … This is where the continuing conversation about the most important issues in Ukraine can take place, here, in a dialogue that we are part of,” said U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel, who spoke at the grand opening on May 20.

Located in the heart of Ukraine’s capital, the “house” is actually a two-story building featuring free Wi-Fi access, a 76-seat multipurpose space, a classroom with computers available to visitors interested in taking massive open online courses (MOOCs), an art gallery, an interactive lounge and a café serving coffee and food daily. The center’s staff will lead English-language workshops and offer other training and group activities.

Upcoming events include a documentary film screening to mark the anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars, conversation clubs, film nights and seminars for those interested in improving their English.

Stengel said America House “is both the symbol and reality of America’s commitment to the people of Ukraine.”

About American Spaces

America House is part of a network of U.S. government–sponsored American Spaces located throughout the world that operate as focal points for information about the U.S., language education and the exchange of cultural information.