A war that has often targeted Ukrainian heritage has made the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation a cultural refuge.
Author: Matthew Cook
An old paper event ticket in Ukrainian

Since 1996, Ukraine has celebrated Constitution Day (June 28) to recognize the adoption of the constitution that formalized its independence. This year, it was marked under martial law.

With his country’s sovereignty now under constant attack by Russian forces, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used his Constitution Day address to emphasize the significance of the national holiday.

Zelensky refers to the constitution as his country’s “genetic code” because of how it details its principles, values, and ideals. “The principles of its adoption 26 years ago are the principles of our struggle now,” he says. “They explain why and what we are fighting for.”

In the simplest terms, Ukraine is fighting for its identity.

The war in Ukraine continually threatens—and sometimes destroys—its culture and heritage. According to a press release, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has worked to protect both within its mandate since the start of the war. Director-general of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay said, “We must safeguard the cultural heritage in Ukraine, as a testimony of the past but also as a catalyst for peace and cohesion for the future, which the international community has a duty to protect and preserve.”

The University of Rochester Libraries is aiding this preservation effort as a steward of the Ukrainian Rochester Collection held by the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation.

GET THE FULL STORY: “Ukraine ally in Rochester’s libraries.”

For more information about the Ukrainian Rochester Collection, contact Miranda Mims, the Joseph N. Lambert and Harold B. Schleifer Director of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, at mmims@library.rochester.edu.

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