?At Home in Ukraine?: Experience the Diversity of Life Stories!

13 April 2012

On Friday, 13 April, in Kyiv, was the first night for ?At Home in Ukraine? theatre play produced by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission in Ukraine. The play is based on real life stories of migrants and ethnic minority communities living in Ukraine.

The play director is Mr. Anatolii Cherkov, the Ukrainian Theatre Association member, co-founder of the Kyiv First Theatre School, the ?Dakh? theatre actor and the artistic director of the ?Theatre in the Room?. Young professional and amateur actors perform in the play.

After the first night in Kyiv the performance will be staged in the universities of Kharkiv, (18 April, 4 p.m., The Kharkiv National Technical University of Agriculture, 22 Artema St.), Dnipropetrovs?k (19 April, 4 p.m., The National Metallurgy Academy of Ukraine, 4 Gagarin Av.), Simferopol (20 April, 5 p.m., The Tavriyskyi National University, 4 Vernadskyi Av.) and Odesa (21 April, 4 p.m., The National University ?Odesa Law Academy?, 23 Fontans?ka Doroha St.).

The play was produced by IOM with the support of the American Bar Association ? Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) as part of a project on counteracting xenophobia and racism, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State.

The project organizers aim to make Ukraine the Home where everyone can be themselves and accepted by the society, by fostering respect for individuality and uniqueness of different life stories.

?The American Bar Association is excited to support IOM?s campaign to promote cultural diversity,? states ABA ROLI Interim Country Director Kathy Ladun. ?This play provides audiences a view into life as an ethnic minority in Ukraine. It can play an important role in opening a dialogue within communities where it is performed with the aim of promoting tolerance and understanding, both of which are critical components for a peaceful and just society.?

?Questions such as ?Where are you from?? and ?Why are you here?? have sometimes been the precursors of violent attacks in Ukraine, accompanied by shouts of ?Go home!? and ?Ukraine for Ukrainians!? The aim of our project is to put these questions to a more constructive use, to provide an insight into the hopes, dreams, fears and experiences of representatives of migrant and ethnic minority communities living in Ukraine,? says IOM Ukraine?s Specialist on Counteracting Racism and Xenophobia Yana Salakhova.

Twenty four suspected racially motivated attacks committed in Ukraine in 2011 were reported to the Diversity Initiative (http://diversipedia.org.ua/), a network of organizations co-chaired by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and IOM. This figure is three times higher than in 2010. In total, 42 persons became victims of these crimes, mainly from African and Asian nations, and the majority of them were young students. Unfortunately, it is also likely that this is not the total number of attacks due to under-reporting from victims.

IOM Ukraine aims to advance the understanding of the opportunities and challenges of migration in the Ukrainian context. Maximizing those opportunities and minimizing the challenges presented by migratory movements are the guiding principles of all IOM Ukraine?s activities and programmes. Inter alia, IOM Ukraine engages in the integration of ethnic minorities, promoting the benefits of cultural diversity and counteracting xenophobia and intolerance.

 For further information please contact IOM Ukraine Communications Officer Ms. Varvara Zhluktenko (568 50 15, 067 447 97 92, vzhluktenko@iom.int)