Congresswoman Dean and Myroslava Gongadze Present to Full House at Fall Ukrainian Dialogue

The Ukrainian Dialogue hosted by Manor College on Oct. 11 proved especially timely thanks to recent political developments. U.S. Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, member of the Ukrainian Caucus, and Myroslava Gongadze, Chief of the Ukrainian Service at Voice of America, spoke to a full house, with Manor College president, Dr. Jon Peri, serving as moderator. The Dialogue topic was “Emerging Women in Politics in, of, and for Ukraine,” and both Dean and Gongadze relied on their extensive knowledge in the field to inform the conversation. Gongadze opened the discussion by explaining how women can end up in politics: “sometimes it takes a tragic life experience and a lot of courage to find one’s voice.” Gongadze’s husband, a journalist who uncovered Ukrainian government corruption, was murdered in 2000, an event that propelled her into the spotlight. “I made the decision to speak up,” she said, and she used her knowledge to raise awareness about corruption and fraud. Her fight for justice was one of several precipitators off the Orange Revolution in 2004.  In her current role at Voice of America, Gongadze advocates for a basic, yet often ignored indicator of parity: equal representation. She tells her reporters that every story needs 50/50 representation of men and women  – “there’s more than enough women,” she said, “qualified to talk about any subject. But sometimes reporters need that extra push to reach out to them. “I think as women we have to support each other,” she said. Rep. Madeleine Dean opened by mentioning her children and grandchildren. “Motherhood is a lens through which I shape my work,” she said. She discussed the importance of diversity in government, and how this is related to women specifically. “When you put women at the table, it changes the conversation.” She noted that gender equality is now enshrined in the Ukrainian Constitution, something that “we struggle with here in the U.S.”  Not surprisingly, the conversation shifted to President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy – a recent hot topic issue. Gongadze brought the conversation back to representation, highlighting the issue of perspective:    “[When it comes to this controversy] Ukrainian voices are not there. Everyone is talking about Ukraine, except Ukrainians. We don’t have an Ukrainian ambassador in Washington. I understand the [Ukrainian] government, they do not want to be involved in American politics… at the same time, I think it would be very effective to have Ukrainian voices in American media.” Another problem, she said, is that American journalists frequently cover Ukrainian topics from abroad. “You want to cover Ukraine? Go to Ukraine. Don’t cover Ukraine from Washington or Moscow,” explained Gongadze. Rep. Dean noted that healthy diplomatic, relations between the allied countries are valuable and necessary for maintaining democracy: “Our president uses relationships with foreign leaders for personal gain, for political gain, as a transactional method, instead of recognizing our friends and how can we lift up your country, your democracy, your sovereignty as we grow our own.”  After Dean and Gongadze presented, moderator Dr. Jon Peri fielded questions from the audience. In response to a question about which Ukrainian women in power the audience should be taking note of, Gongadze explained that sometimes, the best way to lift women up is to notice when they are reaching. “Look around and support those who have not yet revealed their strengths,” she advised.   View more photos from this event in our Flickr album

Important Updates from the Sisters of St. Basil the Great

The Sisters of St. Basil the Great have been busy this summer – here are three updates, courtesy of the sisters. Please visit their website, for more information. Read more about the latest updates! Jubilee Celebration at the Basilian Motherhouse- On Saturday, June 22, 2019 the Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great in Fox Chase gathered to celebrate the jubilee of five Sisters – Sister Theodosia Lukiw and Sister Laura Palka – 70 years; Sister Chrysostom Lukiw 65 years and Sisters Ann Laszok and Monica Lesnick 55 years. View full Jubilee story Parma Basilian Associates Renewed their Commitment- On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14, 2019, The Associates of the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil in Parma, Ohio held an all-day retreat with Sr. Ann Laszok, OSBM as the retreat director. View full Parma story Sisters Held 11th General Chapter in Rome- The Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great held their Eleventh General Chapter in Rome, Italy from July 8 to July 19, 2019. View full Rome story

Manor College to Host Community Screening of Baba Babee Skazala Documentary

This October 16, Manor College will host a free community screening of Baba Babee Skazala (Grandmother Told Grandmother), an award-winning documentary that brings to light the stories of what happened to Ukrainian children caught in the throes of WWII. The Manor screening of the documentary will be followed by a Q&A session with the director, Matej Silecky. Manor College is excited to host this event and help connect the larger local community to Ukrainian culture and history. Baba Babee Skazala, a documentary film by first-time filmmaker, Matej Silecky, tells the little-known story of Ukrainian children torn from their homes in the crush between the Nazi and Soviet fronts in World War II. Spending their childhood as refugees in Europe, these inspiring individuals later immigrated to the United States, creating new homes and communities through their grit, faith and deep belief in the importance of preserving culture.  This film is the culmination of over 35 oral history interviews uncovering the experiences of these survivors, and includes historical context commentary by renowned expert, Rutgers University professor, Dr. Alexander Motyl. It also includes previously unseen archival materials from the National Film Archives in Ukraine as well as material from the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute collection. Baba Babee Skazala premiered in Fall 2018, as an Official Selection of the 37th New Jersey International Film Festival, where it earned Honorable Mention, Documentary Feature. Since its festival premiere, Baba Babee Skazala was an Official Selection of VisionFest 2018, where it received the Independent Vision Award, Documentary Film, and of the Lift-Off Documentary Filmmaker Showcase Online 2019. The film’s United Kingdom and Paris, France festival premieres were as Official Selections of the 2019 Swindon Independent Film Festival and the 2019 Ethnografilm Festival. Baba Babee Skazala will have its New York Festival Premiere in August 2019 as an Official Selection of the Festival of Cinema NYC.  Date: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019 Time: 6pm reception, 6:30pm screening Where: Manor College Basileiad Library Cost: Free event, free parking! Register Now

This is Privish: One Student’s Incredible Journey to Manor

April 19, 2018. The date tumbles from her lips effortlessly, without the need for examination or confirmation. She even knows the exact time: 3:00 pm. It’s her favorite date and her favorite memory. It is the day she, her mother, and her siblings were reunited with her father after four long years apart. “I was thrilled to see my dad after four years and tears of joy were in my eyes,” she remembers. “It was a celebration.” Privish Sadaqat is a current Manor student, finishing her first year of studies as a pre-science major. Within that short time, she has distinguished herself as an excellent student, both with her GPA and her appreciated presence in the classroom. “She’s a dream to have in class,” states Dr. Julie Senecoff. “Intelligent, modest, humble, outstanding, and respectful. She is intuitive and insightful. For Privish, simply knowing the answer to our questions in class isn’t enough. She wants to understand the intricacies of the why.” Door to Door Privish was born in Toba Tek Singh in the country of Pakistan in the province of Punjab, located in the central east side of the country. She is the oldest of four children, three girls and one boy. Her parents were social workers and Christians. Her formal education began when a small American nun knocked on her family’s door one day, looking for students for her school, the Convent of Jesus and Mary School. Sister Mary, known as Sister Mariam in Privish’s village, was reaching out to Christian families in the area to educate as part of her ministry. Privish was four. Initially, people in the village were afraid of Sister Mariam. There was little exposure to Catholics (Christianity is a minority religion in Pakistan), to Sisters, and to white people (her habit and grey eyes were unusual). Privish remembers being afraid. Laughing, she recalls: “When she came to house, I hid behind my mother because I was scared to see a different skin color—this is funny to me now!” The school was open to all village families and faiths, but Sister Mariam prioritized reaching out not only to Christian families but also to girls in the village, who had less opportunity for education than the boys. Privish was one of the foundational students to attend—the third admitted student—and she attended from kindergarten through tenth grade. “We struggled a lot in the early years. We faced so much persecution; our school even got stoned once. The Sisters were forced to close the school and move to another location.” The location of the school was changed a total of three times, for the safety of the students. Police response to persecutory incidents, at first, was slow. Yet, the Sisters and the families who attended Convent of Jesus and Mary School persisted. Perhaps this is why Privish identifies Job as her favorite book in the Bible. She identifies, she says, with struggle and coming out of struggle through consistency in belief and faith. Despite these tribulations, Privish notes that the opportunity that Sister Mariam brought was great and the families that sent their children did so for a superior education and better future. This willingness to take an educational risk for future benefits made for an open-minded and progressive atmosphere. An added bonus of attending Convent of Jesus and Mary School was exposure to English language and lessons that were more effective than even the larger, exclusive metropolitan schools. This proved fortuitous for the Sadaqat family, as eventually Privish’s father had to leave their village, alone, for his own safety. When the family was able to reunite in America, the language barrier was a minor issue. “Convent of Jesus and Mary School was a blessing for me and my town. What and where I am right now is due to that school and Sister Mariam.” Freedom & Opportunity Privish beams when she speaks of America and her family’s liberty in the United States. The differences between Pakistan and the U.S. are myriad and she lists them easily from climate and cuisine to clothing and family dynamics. What she returns to, though, time and time again, are the sovereignty and lack of constraint she feels as a woman. The first time she really felt the power of this freedom came in a simple moment: she was walking down the street, without a shawl, and no one looked at her because if it. “Living in Pakistan was definitely not comfortable, especially for women. There were not opportunities like education and other rights. There was no freedom to speak, even in clothing and where to go,” states Sadaqat. “[America] is a place where we can get freedom, independence, and a lot of educational opportunities. There is so much acceptance. America gives me my own dignity and gives me the confidence to fulfill my educational goals and empower me as a female.” Privish’s sister was actually the spark that set off her passion for Manor. She was helping Privish look for schools and found a small, Catholic college in Jenkintown—not far from their new-found home in Northeast Philadelphia. It seemed the perfect and providential fit. She applied and was accepted. And despite starting the semester just a bit late, she immediately started to thrive. Professor Julie Senecoff, PhD, remembered being a bit worried that Privish might have difficulty catching up, but soon realized that Privish’s determination and intellect would overcome those concerns. Christine Cortese, a chemistry instructor, shared these initial apprehensions. Cortese recalled: “When I first met Privish, I knew absolutely nothing about her. She was on my Chem 1 roster but missed the first class of the semester and arrived late to the second class. Her English was as clear as a bell and she came across as confident. I never would have guessed she had not grown up here… At the first test, she handed her completed test to me and said with a big smile on her face and a pause between each word, ‘My. first. American. test. ever.’ Read more >

Manor College Trustee, Colonel Robert DeSousa, Honored by the Federal Bar Association

Manor College Trustee, Colonel Robert DeSousa, was honored by the Federal Bar Association (FBA), which presented him with the Earl W. Kitner Award for Distinguished Service on September 7, 2019. The award is the highest granted by the FBA and is presented as a lifetime contribution award for long-term outstanding achievement, leadership, and participation in the association. “We are very happy for Col. DeSousa,” said Dr. Jonathan Peri, President of Manor College. “When he gets involved, he pours his heart in.  His exemplary dedication is a model in every place where he’s committed.” Colonel DeSousa has been a member of Manor College’s Board of Trustees since January of 2018.  In addition to his tireless work as a member of Manor College’s Board of Trustees, Colonel DeSousa is Senator Pat Toomey’s State Director and is a Judge Advocate General in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. Colonel DeSousa has been a member of FBA for more than 25 years and served as national president for the institution from 2012-2013. He has led the FBA’s Veterans and Military Law Section and the Federal Career Service Division, as well as acting as a Charter Sustaining Life Fellow of the Foundation of the Federal Bar Association, the charitable arm of the FBA.