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Peace Corps Volunteer Helps Organize Cultural Event Series in Ukraine

WASHINGTON D.C. March 18, 2013—Peace Corps volunteer Robert DeKay of Shreveport, La., is working with members of a local non-governmental organization to provide his community with free access to cultural events, including concerts, art festivals and photography exhibitions, without having to travel to larger cities.

“Historically in Ukraine, there has been a stigma attached to creativity, freedom of thought, and modern artistic expression,” said DeKay, a graduate of University of Colorado Boulder who has been living and working in Ukraine since 2010.

“The idea for the event series was presented to me last summer when a local friend held a small art exhibit in my community. He told me his NGO, Cultural Alternative, has been working to host regular art events in the area to show that creative thinking can be both interesting and useful to society.”

Soon after the art exhibit, DeKay began working with Cultural Alternative to translate and write a grant proposal. Funds generated through the grant will go toward the purchase of a computer, sound system and projector to ensure the sustainability of the series. 

“Currently, Cultural Alternative rents equipment each time they host an event, which results in reoccurring expenses and technical inconveniences. The grant money will be used to purchase all of the required technical accessories to ensure the longevity of the project,” said DeKay.Soon after the art exhibit, DeKay began working with Cultural Alternative to translate and write a grant proposal. Funds generated through the grant will go toward the purchase of a computer, sound system and projector to ensure the sustainability of the series.

In early February, Cultural Alternative held the first event of the series, which was attended by more than 50 community members. The event featured films by local artists and gave attendees a chance to interact with the artists and  and discuss their work. .

“The technical equipment provided by this grant will allow Cultural Alternative to sustainably host events such as these well into the foreseeable future. The members are already planning a weekly summer event that will feature live music, photography and craft workshops.”

About Peace Corps/Ukraine: More than 2,630 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Ukraine since the program was established in 1992. Currently, about 463 volunteers serve in Ukraine. Volunteers work in the areas of education, economic development and youth development. Volunteers are trained and work in Russian and Ukrainian.

About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 210,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 8,073 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.

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