Tuesday March 28, 2023 from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM ET
Format: Hybrid/Virtual Panel Discussion via Zoom

Join Zoom Meeting

Passcode: Ukraini

As a service to Franciscans and friends, you are invited to a panel discussion marking the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This tragic war continues to unfold with devastating impact on civilians and military personnel and reverberating geopolitical, economic, social, and cultural consequences across the World. As we pass the one-year mark of hostilities, we invite you to pause and look deeply and prayerfully at the current situation, and then to act in support of Ukraine. 

Presentations and discussion will provide information about Ukraine past, present and future, in order to understand the issues and why they matter. We also hope to foster lasting connections among individuals, congregations and communities.


— Welcome/Intro for Tom Johnson (Rev. David Lucey, David Black) 
—  Introductions (Tom Johnson, UMass Boston)
—  Music performance (Valeriia Vovk, independent musician/composer)
—  10-min presentation: Anastasiia Shmidt (UMass Boston) 
—  10-min presentation Artem Dinh (Tufts University)
—  10-min presentation: Father James Morris (St John’s UCC, Salem MA)
—  Music performance (Valeriia Vovk)
—  Questions/Discussion
—  Closing: A song from wartime


PROF. TOM JOHNSON: Cousin of David Black of Great Falls VA, the connection that brings us all together. He teaches in the History Department of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and is a lifelong New Englander and member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Teaching and research covers African and world history, war and peace studies, civil and human rights, now adding Ukraine and Eastern Europe to the mix. He has over 60 Ukrainian American in-laws (though not from his marriages) and remembers them every day. He loves peace and justice.

The question: What do you think is most important for Americans to know about Ukraine?


VALERIIA VOVK: Recent graduate of the Berklee School of Music, a producer, arranger, composer, and singer from Ukraine. She comes from Odesa, a city on the shore of the Black Sea, located in the south of the country. She writes and produces music in a variety of genres including jazz, pop, R&B, EDM, indie, folk, and musical theater. Valeriia‚Äôs biggest passion is Ukrainian poetry and folk music. She loves exploring her culture and currently is in the process of writing and releasing her first folk-inspired tracks. Valeriia is also an ardent activist and practiced speaker for Ukraine.

: Born in Lviv, Ukraine, where she lived until 2019, when her family moved to Boston. Half her family lives in Massachusetts while other part is still in Lviv. She received her associate’s degree in Biology and currently continues her education as a student at UMass Boston (Biology major). She helped to conduct a charity exhibition of Ukrainian artists — Don’t Close Your Eyes, and has presented on Ukraine at UMass Boston. Ana says: “The situation in Ukraine matters because it’s a historic event that affects the future of the whole world.” 

ARTEM DINH: Born in Ukraine to a Vietnamese and Ukrainian couple. Studying in biomedical engineering, data science, and marketing at Tufts University, Class of 2023. Interned at Cellens Inc., and is a Research Assistant at Tufts’s ODDET Lab. He tinkers with novel web development technologies, supports high schoolers with their college preparations, and actively engages in political, intercultural, or history discussions. Artem is an experienced advocate on behalf of Ukraine, delivering multiple presentations supporting freedom and democracy in his country and the world.

DARIA BOGATOVA: Pursuing her PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology at Boston University. Born in Kyiv, Ukraine. Her BS is in Cell and Neurobiology from the Goethe Institute in Germany. Worked at the Max Planck Institute and Harvard Medical School. Co-founder of Mriya (mriya.org) a non-profit sending humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Very active in supporting freedom and independence for her homeland.

The Reverend JAMES MORRIS: A native of the Boston area. Undergraduate at the Boston College School of Education. A Religious Educator in Catholic Schools for forty-two years. Completing Seminary studies in the United States and in Rome, Father Jim was ordained to the priesthood for the Ukrainian Catholic Church in 1993 in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. Father Jim was appointed pastor of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Salem, Massachusetts. With the help and support of his wife, Joy, Fr. Jim has enjoyed ministering to the small but faithful and vibrant community there for nearly thirty years.   Thank you and best wishes until we gather on March 28.

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