The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Kyiv, and the Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America (KMF), announced Monday in Kyiv the signing of a partnership agreement for the establishment of the Electronic Library of Ukraine (ELibUkr©) project, USUBC disclosed to UNIAN.

The participating partners and collaborators in the new project are the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Y. Fedkovych National University of Chernivtsi, V. Karazin National University of Kharkiv, the Association “Informatio-Consortium”, and the Center for Technology Innovation Management (CTIM) at Northwestern University, Evanston/Chicago, Illinois.

The inauguration of the Electronic Library of Ukraine Project (ELibUkr©) took place Monday, January 26, 2009, at noon at the Antonovych Library of the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy. A one-day conference for representatives of Ukraine’s academic and research libraries is scheduled for Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 9:30 (registration at 8:30) at the same location.

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The event for the project inauguration and press conference was attended by representatives of the government of Ukraine and the United States, USAID, presidents and representatives of the participating universities, and leading representatives of Ukraine’s business community and civil society. 

The opening ceremony and press conference included presentations by U.S. Ambassador William Taylor; former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, William Miller; Ambassador Boris Tarasyuk, Ukraine’s Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on European Integration, who is also Co-Chairman of the Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America and Chairman of the Electronic Library of Ukraine’s Advisory Board; Serhij Kvit, President of National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy; Vil Bakirov, President of National V. Karazin University of Kharkiv; Stepan Melnychuk, President of National Yuri Fedkowvych University of Chernivtsky.

 Presentations were also made by Deputy Minister of Education Maksym Strikha, Member of Ukrainian Parliament  and Chairman of the Free Trade Unions of Ukraine; Mykhailo Volynec, Director of the Antonovych Kyiv Mohyla Library Tetiana Yaroshenko and Marta Farion, Chicago, President of the Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America (KMF).

[NOTE: In addition to being President of the Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America (KMF) Marta is a Chicago attorney who is on the Executive Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International and initiated this project in 2007. See news release below from the City of Chicago. The Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America (KMF), Chicago, is a new member of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC).]

 There were additional representatives from the U.S. and Ukraine governments and other organizations, including Janina Jaruzelski, Director of USAID for Ukraine, Belorus and Moldova; Oleksandr Domaranskyj, Member of the Parliamentary Committee on Education. 

Representatives of Kraft Foods Ukraine; Microsoft Ukraine; IBM Ukraine; J.T. International Corporation; Baker and McKenzie law firm; Chadbourne & Parke law firm; International Renaissance Foundation, IREX, Ukrainian poet and chairman of  the organization “Ukraina and the World” Ivan Drach; President of the Ukrainian Women’s Association  “Zhinocha Hromada” Maria Drach and others also attended. 

 Congratulatory greetings were received and read from the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament Volodymyr Lytvyn and from Ukraine’s Minister of Culture V. V. Vovkun.  Many members of Ukraine’s media outlets also attended the press conference.

“By providing Ukrainians with access to a global network of knowledge, the ELibUkr© project will be an invaluable resource for building a stronger civil society, engaging Ukraine to more fully participate in the world’s community and make Ukraine more competitive on a global scale,” said former  U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Green Miller, who serves as co-chairman of the board of directors of the Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America (KMF).

“The ElibUkr© will not only allow thousands of academics, students and universities to immediately gain access to a wide-range of information, but also will create new opportunities for generations to come,” according to Miller.

The ELibUkr© is a nation-wide linked Electronic Library/Knowledge Centers network that will provide academics, students and practitioners enhanced access to the world’s digitized network of academic and research information, thus promoting the active use of local, regional, and global information. The project will upgrade the intellectual holdings of Ukrainian libraries and include them into the worldwide digitized information network.

In addition to increased access to databases, the project initiates a new concept to Ukraine - the creation of critically important Knowledge Centers, which will play a key role in utilizing the system effectively. These centers will provide training programs for librarians and users and will promote the evolution of a linked industry-academic community, a key element for economic progress and stability, which until now has been absent in Ukraine.

These Knowledge Centers will become the central element which will link the country’s academic and research communities with the world of practice and utilization, through collaborative programs with business, healthcare, and all other institutions of civil society.

In spite of Ukraine’s highly developed expertise in computer technology, science and research, as well as some of the world’s finest universities and research centers, Ukrainian scholars and academics still do not have the same equal access to the world’s electronic information available in North America and Western Europe.

The ELibUkr project will overcome this serious shortcoming, propel Ukraine through the curtain of information isolation and provide the means to become competitive within the world community.

ELibUkr© is an initiative of the Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America (KMF) that is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID and the collaboration of a consortium of participating Ukrainian universities, as well as CTIM and Association “Informatio-Consortium”.

This project would not be possible without the substantial support of USAID and additional assistance from the Ukrainian Library Association, the International Electronic Library Consortium, KRAFT Foods Ukraina, Dragon Capital, media sponsor Ukrainian National Television Channel 1, and the journals Library Planet (Bibliotechna Planeta) and Library Forum of Ukraine (Bibliotechyj Forum Ukrainy).

ELibUkr© has further been supported by the continued and long-standing connections between the Sister Cities of Kyiv and Chicago, with their numerous educational, cultural, medical and government exchanges which were launched in 1991.  The project is a product of the strong partnership of trust and mutual understanding which resulted when Chicago and Kyiv were linked through meaningful activities that have international impact benefiting the people of the United States and Ukraine.

The ELibUkr© project is an investment in Ukraine’s future and will be implemented immediately. The first stage will be launched at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, the Y. Fedkovych National University of Chernivtsi, and the V. Karazin National University of Kharkiv. The ELibUkr© will be available for the participation by the universities of Ukraine.