Remarks by Deputy Chief of Mission Kristina Kvien at a Concert Celebrating 100 Years of Cultural Diplomacy

October 9, 2019

Good evening!  It’s really an honor and a pleasure to be here in this beautiful theater with such a wonderful audience.  Thank you for coming tonight.  First, some thanks.

I would like to thank Marta Kolomayets and the entire Fulbright team, including the Fulbright Alumni circle, for such an impressive event tonight and also the exhibit out in the lobby.  If you didn’t get a chance to look at it on your way in, please take a look at it on your way out. It’s really interesting.  The Fulbright Program is one of the United States’ most enduring examples of cultural diplomacy.

Fulbright has worked in Ukraine for 26 years with over 750 U.S. scholars, students, and professionals who have come to Ukraine to be university lecturers, researchers, and consultants.  There have also been over 1,000 Ukrainians who have gone to the United States to do similar things.

Several U.S. and Ukrainian alumni of the program will be performing this evening, demonstrating the vibrancy of our cultural exchange programs.

We’re also joined tonight by fifty of this year’s cohort of Fulbright English Teaching Assistants.  These assistants are assigned all over the country to help Ukrainians perfect their English language skills.  Could you raise your hand if you’re a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant? [applause]  Please talk with them after the show.  I think they’d love to hear from you and learn more about your views on Ukraine and the places they’re teaching English.

Our event tonight is celebrating two important centennial anniversaries this year: first, the U.S. Institute for International Education, IIE, a key partner in the Fulbright Program in Ukraine and around the world — they’ve been promoting international exchanges since 1919.

1919 was of course, as you’ve already heard tonight, a year that Mykola Leontovych composed Carol of the Bells.

Tonight as leaves turn color in Kyiv and winter chill is in the air, it’s a perfect setting to hear the famous Carol of the Bells performed by some of Ukraine’s most accomplished artists. They’ll get us ready for the holidays.

To complement the music we hear tonight, we have shared in the lobby images commemorating 100 years of Ukraine’s push for independence.

So thank you again for joining us and from the U.S. Embassy, we’d just like to say, let the bells ring.