International Carpathian-Appalachian Conference, Ukraine, 2013
“Carpathians-Appalachians: Human and Community Development in Highland Regions”
September 22-26, 2013 Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine
After several years of Ukrainians attending Appalachian Studies conferences in the U.S.A. and Americans attending Mountain School conferences in Ukraine, the Institute for Pedagogy of the Precarpathian National University hatched an ambitious vision for a full-blown Carpathian-Appalachian Conference to be held in Ukraine. Appalachian Studies Association members and former Fulbrighters to Ukraine, Donald Davis and Christopher Miller, became Co-Chairs the American planning committee and began to recruit an American delegation. The vision became reality in fall 2013 when seventeen Americans, hundreds of Ukrainians, and several Polish and Slovak scholars participated in the event. From Berea College, Chad Berry, Academic Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty, and Christopher Miller, Associate Director and Curator, Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, attended.
Conference Narrative – Experiences and Learning:
September 21, 2013 – Gathering in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine
Appalachian scholars, teachers, and public humanities professionals gathered in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine for the first dedicated Carpathian-Appalachian conference. They came from six Appalachian states traveling through Kyiv and L’viv.
September 22, 2013 – Pre-Conference Meeting and Tour
The American delegation met their hosts, toured the Carpathian gateway city of Ivano-Frankivsk, explored its connections to the nearby mountains, visited the mountain tourist City of Yaremcha, and travelled to their accommodations for the in the Town of Mykulychyn.
September 23, 2013 – Pre-conference Tour of the Carpathians, Verkhovyna Region
Prior to the formal beginning of the conference the delegation toured the Verkhovyna Region of the Carpathians. Fulbright Scholar Donald Davis, then living in Ukraine, arranged the tour with the assistance of local contacts.
September 24, 2013 – Conference Day 1 – Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University
The first formal day of the conference started with ceremony and welcome. The plenary session involved hundreds of people from four countries. American delegation contributed formal papers, a musical performance, and an exhibition.
September 25, 2013 – Conference Day 2 - Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University
The second day of the conference there were four concurrent sessions. The Americans’ presentations were interpreted in Ukrainian to the primarily Ukrainian audience. Interpreters sat with some Americans to attempt to help with Ukrainian and Polish papers, but the number of qualified interpreters was limited. Language differences continue to be a major obstacle to collaboration between Appalachian and Carpathian scholars. Qualified Ukrainian-English interpreters are rare in western Ukraine and very rare in the U.S.
September 26, 2013 – Post-Conference Tour, Kryvopillya Area
Following the formal conference, the American delegation travelled to the Village of Krivopillya. Mountain school expert Vasyl Krusch arranged a tour focused on Carpathian mountain education. Precarpathian National University has a mountain school research institute (directed by Professor Krusch) and its Institute for Pedagogy focuses much energy on the special challenges of providing education in the Carpathians. Some of its programs are specifically designed to prepare new teachers for the challenges of mountain schools.
- Paul T. Arnold, Ph.D. Professor and Chair of Biology, Young Harris College, Georgia
- Chris Baker, Ph.D. Professor of Sociology, Walters State Community College, Tennessee
- Chad Berry, PhD. Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, Goode Professor of Appalachian Studies, and Professor of History, Berea College, Kentucky
- Lisa Berry, Honorary Delegate, Kentucky
- Geoffrey L. Buckley, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Geography and Program in Environmental Studies, Ohio University
- Judy P. Byers, PhD., Director, Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center, Abelina Suarez Professor, Senior Level, English & Folklore Studies Fairmont State University, West Virginia
- Donald E. Davis, Ph.D. Independent Scholar, Washington D.C., Fulbright Scholar Precarpathian National University, Ukraine
- Bernhard Debatin, Ph.D. E. W. Scripps School of Journalism Professor of Journalism, Ohio University
- Rosann Kent, M.A., Director, Appalachian Studies Center, University of North Georgia
- Katherine Ledford, Ph.D. Center for Appalachian Studies, Appalachian State University, North Carolina
- Christopher A. Miller, M.A., Associate Director and Curator, Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, Berea College, Kentucky
- Michele Morrone, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Environmental Health Science, Department of Social and Public Health College of Health Sciences and Professions, Ohio University
- Michelle O’Malley, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Department of Linguistics, Ohio University
- Ron R. Roach, Ph.D. Chair and Professor, Department of Appalachian Studies, East Tennessee State University
- Lynette D. Swiger, M.A. Adjunct Instructor, Central Appalachia/West Virginia Folk Music Hammered Dulcimer Specialist/Master, Dulcimer Artist, Elementary Educator/Reading Specialist Marion County Schools, Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center on the campus of Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College, West Virginia
- Noel W. Tenney, Folk Cultural Specialist Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center, Museum Studies Program Coordinator Pierpont Community & Technical College, West Virginia
- Jessica Murray, Undergraduate Student, North Georgia University
- Video: Local television coverage of the Conference on 24 Channel in western Ukraine, including a clip of Lynette Swiger’s musical number and an interview with Christopher Miller. (Video is in Ukrainian)
- Article on Jessica Murray in the University of North Georgia Newsletter.
- Article on the Ohio contingent in the Ohio University College of Arts and Sciences Forum.
- Web Article at the Ohio contingent at the Ohio University Scripps College of Communication
- The Carpathian-Appalchian Conference Facebook page
Notes and Credits:
Christopher Miller prepared and edited this conference report. It reflects the observations and perspective of Miller and is not intended to reflect the positions or ideas any other participants, Berea College, PNU, or the Fulbright Program.
All photographs by C. Miller (except the formal group photo of all conference participants). All rights reserved 2013-14.