My Fulbright experience in Ukraine during the 1995-1996 academic year provided many special moments and memories, but the most enduring one was helping to organize a professional organization for teachers of English. One of my tasks while teaching English classes for English majors at Vinnytsia Pedagogical Institute (now a university) was to assist faculty there who wanted to establish a Ukrainian affiliate of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International Association. That year a draft constitution and by-laws, a newsletter, and a conference all made their debut for this new professional English teachers’ organization, and TESOL Ukraine was eventually granted affiliate status.
Upon returning to my teaching position at Hawai‘i Pacific University in Honolulu, I again attended meetings and events held by Hawai‘i TESOL. When the TESOL International Association encouraged American affiliates to consider forming partnerships with international affiliates, I suggested Hawaii TESOL and TESOL Ukraine partner. Board members of both affiliates agreed. Hawai‘i TESOL and TESOL Ukraine signed an official Partnership Agreement in 2002. The affiliates exchange newsletter articles and when possible members meet at the annual TESOL Convention.
Then Hawai‘i Pacific University hosted Ukrainian Fulbright Scholar, Maryna Tsehelska, Dean of the English Department at Kryvi Rih University, during the 2005-2006 academic year. Besides doing research, Maryna took part in every Hawai‘i TESOL event and enlivened the partnership. She is currently the Vice-President of TESOL Ukraine and the Ukrainian liaison for the Hawai‘i TESOL/TESOL Ukraine Partnership.
In 2007, I received a Fulbright Senior Scholar grant to Ukraine to give workshops on teaching academic writing. At that time, I was able to connect and reconnect with many of the hard-working dedicated teachers who continue to support TESOL Ukraine and its mission of providing professional development opportunities for English teachers across Ukraine.
I am happy to write that TESOL Ukraine continues on and has recently celebrated its 25th anniversary!
Sally La Luzerne-Oi – Fulbright to Ukraine 1995 & 2007