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Perspectives from Ukraine: an RPCV Panel Discussion

26 Jan 2023
5:30pm - 7:00pm PST

Please pre-register on Zoom:

From warfront news updates to Volodymyr Zelensky’s December address to the US Congress, you’ve likely heard about Ukraine at least a few times since the 2014 Revolution of Dignity ousted pro-Kremlin leadership and solidified Ukraine’s move away from generations of Russian imperial and then Soviet control. Ukraine’s long fight for self-determination was met in 2022 by a full-scale Russian military invasion that has caused one of the largest humanitarian crises of our century. What has this time been like for RPCVs who served in Ukraine? And what was our experience of Ukraine before it became headline news?  

Santa Barbara Peace Corps Association and the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Alliance for Ukraine invite you to an online discussion featuring a panel of five Ukraine RPCVs whose perspectives span several decades of Peace Corps in Ukraine and whose host communities dot the country from the Donbas to the western borders. 

Join us online at 5:30 PM Pacific on Thursday, January 26th. This 90-minute moderated panel discussion will include some time for audience questions. 


Meet the panelists: 

  • Natasha Wanchek - 1999-2001. Her community of service, Bakhmut, is on the front lines in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. Natasha has been actively supporting the efforts of NGOs that continue to operate there, and successfully partnered with organizations in the US to provide much-needed resources.
  • Susan Vdovichenko - 2003-2005. Susan's family members by marriage remained in Kherson under Russian occupation until Ukrainian forces recently regained control of the city. She is part of a core volunteer team working on the Alliance's Uniting for Ukraine initiative to help Ukrainians find refuge in the US.
  • Suzanne (Suzy) Shovlin - 2007-2009. Suzanne first served in person in Sumy region, a northern area close to the Belarussian border. She is now a participant with the Peace Corps Virtual Service Pilot, working with partners in Vinnytsia region farther to the southwest.
  • Jacob (Jake) McGrew - 2013-2014, 2015-2016. Jake was among the Volunteers evacuated when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 shortly after the Revolution of Dignity. He was also among the first Volunteers to return to service when Peace Corps Ukraine reopened the following year. He currently lives in western Ukraine and works for American University Kyiv.
  • Nadina (Dina) Wood - 2015-2017. Dina served in a small community in central Ukraine, south of Kyiv. Now based in Nevada, she has helped raise awareness and mobilize her local community since the start of the full-scale invasion. Dina is proud to be a senior Volunteer who swore into service over the age of 60 and has remained deeply connected to Ukraine ever since. 

26 Jan 2023
5:30pm - 7:00pm PST

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