Public agency member biographies

Biographies of members appointed to a public agency by the Government of Alberta.

Advisory Council on Alberta-Ukraine Relations

Jaroslaw (Jars) Balan

Balan was born and raised in Toronto, where he was active in the Ukrainian community from an early age and throughout his teen and undergraduate years. He first came to Alberta in 1971 as a creative writing student at the Banff School of Fine Arts, and then settled permanently in Edmonton in 1975 where he completed an MA at the University of Alberta. He is the author of numerous articles and a book on Ukrainians in Canada, and remains involved in various community organizations. For many years, he chaired the Canada Ukraine Committee on the national board of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. He was the initiator and is the volunteer curator of the Kalyna Country Ecomuseum Trust Society in rural east-central Alberta, he is the president of Ukrainian Pioneers Association of Alberta, and he is the vice-president of the Ukrainian Self-Reliance Association of Canada.

Balan is currently the Ukrainian Canadian program coordinator and soon-to-be acting director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta. Beginning in 1968, he has travelled extensively throughout Ukraine, most recently with the Ukrainian community delegation to witness the signing of the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA).

Ivor Bernatsky

Bernatsky is a second-generation Ukrainian-Canadian whose father emigrated from Ukraine as a small child and whose mother is a second-generation Ukrainian-Canadian born in Manitoba. Bernatsky was born in Saskatchewan and has lived in Alberta since 2001.

Bernatsky was actively involved in the Ukrainian Catholic Youth of Canada as a young man, holding provincial and national executive positions. He briefly studied Ukrainian language at the University of Saskatchewan where he graduated with a B.Sc. in Agriculture. He received his M.Sc. in Agriculture from the University of British Columbia in 1990. Bernatsky became a Certified Management Consultant with the Canadian Association of Management Consultants in 2013.

Bernatsky has worked in agriculture sales, management and marketing for employers and clients across Canada, the United States and Europe. He has held board and chairman positions with the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association’s national and Alberta boards, the Rotary Club of Lacombe and other local committees. Bernatsky has extensive contacts in the agri-food industry and has a thorough understanding of agricultural trends and issues. He also helps non-agricultural Alberta businesses and organizations market themselves to their local, national and international customers.

Bohdan Harasymiw

Born in Saskatchewan, Harasymiw attended the Royal Military College, Kingston, and then served in the Royal Canadian Navy, becoming a lieutenant in the executive branch. Returning to university, Harasymiw studied at Queen’s (BA), Alberta (MA), and Toronto (PhD). He spent most of his academic career at the University of Calgary, from which he retired in 2005 as Professor Emeritus of Political Science.

In 1989-91, he was seconded to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service as a strategic analyst. He is the author of numerous books and articles dealing with leadership and elites in the former Soviet Union, and more recently the process of democratic reform of government in Ukraine, best-known for his 2002 study, Post-Communist Ukraine, published by CIUS Press.

At present, he is Senior Adviser on Contemporary Ukraine with the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, U of A. In addition to teaching, research, participating in conferences, and publishing, he has extensive experience in committee work, leadership, and communications gained from many years’ involvement with the naval reserve, his scholarly associations, and political party activity. He was an election observer in Ukraine in 2006, 2007 and 2010. A lifelong member and past president of the Canadian Association of Slavists, he was program Chair for its annual conference in Calgary in 2016. Harasymiw is active in organizational life in the Ukrainian community in Edmonton and is fluent in Ukrainian, French, and Russian.

Eva Himka

Himka has been researching the Ukrainian community in Canada for the past nine years. She is the Project Manager for the Sanctuary: The Spiritual Heritage Documentation Project which documents Byzantine-rite, primary Ukrainian churches across Alberta and Saskatchewan. She has worked in Sydney, Cape Breton, researching the Ukrainian community there and has conducted an oral history project in Ukraine. She is an active member of the Ukrainian community in Edmonton and in her housing cooperative, Hromada Housing Cooperative.

Jessica Littlewood

Jessica Littlewood was elected as the Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville on May 5, 2015.

She currently serves as a member of the standing committees on Public Accounts and Legislative Offices and the Select Special Ombudsman and Public Interest Commissioner Search Committee. Previously, she served as Chair of the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing and the Select Special Ethics and Accountability Committee. She also served as a member of the Standing Committee on Private Bills and the Standing Committee on Families and Communities.

Prior to her election, Littlewood was employed as an executive assistant with the accounting firm Ernst and Young. She previously worked at Goodwill Industries of Alberta as a supervisor, then as assistant manager, while also working as a nursing attendant at the Good Samaritan Society. Littlewood has been a volunteer with a number of charitable organizations in the community, including Edmonton’s Food Bank.

Olesia Luciw-Andryjowycz

Luciw-Andryjowycz is a health service professional with a Master’s of Science in Administration (Health Services), a Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing and over 20 years of experience in the field of health care. Luciw-Andryjowycz is an active community leader, volunteer and mentor, working to engage, educate and advocate for the Ukrainian community. She has supported Ukraine in its transition to be an independent democratic nation as an election observer in Ukraine and has lead and collaborated on humanitarian aid to Ukraine from Alberta. Luciw-Andryjowycz is active in the provincial and national Ukrainian communities. She is currently the president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress-Alberta Provincial Council and serves on the National Executive of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. In her role, she fosters unity and cooperation for all Ukrainian organizations within the province and works to preserve Ukrainian heritage, history, culture and language.

Vitaliy Milentyev

Born (1977) and raised in Odessa, Ukraine, Milentyev moved to Canada in 1999 in pursuit of a second Master’s Degree in Economics at the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg). Milentyev’s professional path has been always in the area of investments and finance, starting from an investment analyst to the current position in the executive capacity at one of Edmonton’s independent investment firms. In 2005-2008, Milentyev was privileged to work back in Ukraine on building an Investment Desk for one of the large international banks. Community service and helping people has also been part of Milentyev’s life, by way of serving in various community organizations and teaching assignments. Currently, Milentyev serves as the president for Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce – Alberta Chapter and a member of the Synergy Network. Throughout the years, Milentyev has been a member of or served on the boards of such organizations as the Rotary Club of Edmonton, Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian Research and Development Centre. Milentyev has also taught several finance courses at the University of Lethbridge (Edmonton campus). Ukraine remains a point of great interest and passion for Milentyev, due not only to his origins, but out of a desire to see the country as a prospering and democratic society. Milentyev is privileged to be using his experience and skills to help bring that dream closer to reality.

Alla Nedashkivska

Nedashkivska is with the University of Alberta where she serves as Professor of Slavic Applied Linguistics in the department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies. She is also acting director of the Ukrainian Language Education Centre at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies; and a Team lead of the Nationalities, Culture and Language Policies cluster of the Research Initiative on Democratic Reforms in Ukraine international project.

Holding a Ph.D. in Slavic Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh, she has taught a wide range of courses in Ukrainian language and linguistics at the universities of Pittsburgh, Toronto and Alberta.

At the University of Alberta, Nedashkivska directs and serves on various committees at the institutional, faculty and departmental levels. Her professional engagement includes leading scholarly organizations and serving in various capacities such as chairing international conference program committees, participating in major grant assessments and nomination review committees.

Nedashkivska publishes in the areas of Slavic linguistics, discourse analysis, gender linguistics, political and media language, as well as language pedagogy and second language acquisition in Ukrainian. She authors Ukrainian language textbooks, one of which, Ukrainian Through Its Living Culture, (University of Alberta Press, 2010) won the 2012 AATSEEL Book prize for “Best Contribution to Language Pedagogy.”

Stephania Romaniuk

Romaniuk is a classically trained mezzo-soprano with extensive performance experience in Ukrainian folk, popular and retro music. She is the Grand Prix winner of the First International Competition of Ukrainian Retro Music held in L’viv, Ukraine.

The release of her debut album of Ukrainian cabaret songs led to two tours of Ukraine, including performances in the Kyiv, L’viv and Odessa opera houses and with the Kyiv National Operetta Company. She has also performed Ukrainian repertoire for Calgary Opera’s “Opera in the Village”—Canada’s only outdoor summer opera festival, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival and in Edmonton’s Jubilee Auditorium as the opening act for the best-selling Ukrainian recording artist of all time and national heroine, Ruslana.

As an educator, Romaniuk has taught music and singing at the CYM Ukrainian Youth Association summer camps and at the Pokrova Ukrainian Arts Network’s Summer Camp in Ottawa. She is on the Calgary Board of Education Artist Roster, where she creates original interactive multimedia concerts combining storytelling, music, dance and drama on Ukrainian and classical music themes for young people. Active for humanitarian causes, Romaniuk has organized fundraising recitals for organizations including Help Us Help the Children, Children of Chornobyl, the L’viv Military Medical Hospital, Kryla Nadiyi and RAZOM.

Romaniuk is an alumna of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.

William (Bill) Shostak

Shostak was born in 1946 in Bonnyville, AB and lived on a farm with his parents and four brothers. At age five, Shostak started school in a two-room country school. In 1964, Shostak graduated from Duclos School in Bonnyville and that fall moved to Edmonton to attend University of Alberta. Shostak’s summer employment was with the City of Edmonton, Parks Department. In June 2004, after 35 years of teaching, Shostak retired from Edmonton Catholic School District. In July 1988, Shostak traveled on a pilgrimage to Rome, Soviet Ukraine and Soviet Russia in celebration of the Millennium of Christianity in Kyiv - Rus. Shostak is married and has one puppy and one horse.

Ruby Swanson

Swanson was born and raised in Humboldt, Sask., and is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan. Since 2008, Swanson has been the general manager of the University of Alberta Botanic Garden.

In 2004, and twice in 2014, Swanson volunteered and was selected to be part of the Government of Canada’s Election Observer Mission in Ukraine. In 2016, she visited Ukraine where she travelled to rural areas in western Ukraine to visit the four ancestral villages her great grandparents left when they immigrated to Canada nearly 120 years ago. While in Kyiv, Lviv and Ternopil, she met with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) parent and youth groups, human rights workers and Canadian Embassy staff. In the fall of 2016, Swanson was invited to present at a conference in Kyiv for parents who have LGBT children.