At the National Opera House, Victor Yushchenko took part in a ceremony to present the Shevchenko Prize to thirty Ukrainian artists, the President press office reported.

In his speech, the President said the role of Taras Shevchenko in the consolidation of our nation was profound and seminal. He believes the personality of the Great Kobzar has always been a model to Ukrainian artists. The Chief of State opined that our society expected each nominee to be masterful but also “understand the philosophy of the people.”

“In our history, Taras Shevchenko fulfilled the unique mission of awakening our conscience and national spirit,” he said. “I am convinced his vision of the renewed country depicts the modern Ukraine. Not only did Shevchenko urge his nation to shake off tyranny but he also believed in our talented and modernistic nation.”

The President said Ukraine had everything to make the Shevchenko dream come true.

Then he pledged to spare no effort to worthily mark the 200th birthday of Taras Shevchenko. The government plans to restore famous sites associated with the poet and build a research facility to preserve archives of all eminent Ukrainian authors. The Head of State reminded those present that this May a monument honoring Taras Shevchenko would be erected in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

Addressing this year’s laureates, the President said they had all made a great contribution to the development of our culture and added that Ukraine’s progress must be based “on the combination of modern intellectual tendencies and national traditions.”
The Head of State said the Ukrainian culture was one of the elements of consolidating Ukrainians as a political nation.

“I am convinced it is incumbent on both the state and its people to fully use the great potential of our culture,” he remarked.

Following the ceremony, Victor and Kateryna Yushchenko spoke with the winners and wished them creative success. Then they enjoyed a festive concert.

Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov, First Deputy Chief of Staff Ivan Vasyunyk, Deputy Speaker Adam Martynyuk, Kyiv Mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko, and Awards Committee Head Roman Lubkivsky attended the ceremony.

Ukraine celebrated the 192nd birthday of Taras Shevchenko March 9.


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