Ukraine House event reveals plans for first Ukrainian restaurant in Washington – the Ukrainian Weekly
WASHINGTON – Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova announced on December 13 that plans were underway to open the first Ukrainian restaurant in Washington in 2022.
Details were scarce, but in her address to Ukrainian and US government officials at the recently opened Ukraine House in Washington, she addressed the issue.
“As a preview, we are working with an idea that will appeal to many of you,” said Ms Markarova. “We are working on a Ukrainian restaurant in DC This is our plan for 2022.”
The news was greeted with a roar of cheers from the gathered crowd, who attended an official event in honor of a program hosted by the Congressional Office for International Leadership (COIL).
The congressional agency administers a unique exchange program that establishes a bilateral dialogue between Congress and emerging leaders of strategically important countries. At the time of the event at Ukraine House, the agency was hosting 32 of its Ukrainian facilitators in Washington, many of whom play important roles in Ukrainian organizations and government agencies.
“We feel like we are just one team. We feel like we’re working together on something that we both believe in. So please consider this house to be your home too. Use it for all your groups; use it for all your activities. We would always be very happy and honored to have you here, ”Ms. Markarova said in her speech to exchange the participants who took part in the event.
The venue for the event was a magnificent three-story colonial-style building on Kalorama Street. The exterior of the building itself was more akin to an elegant residence than usual government utilitarian buildings, hence its proper name, Ukraine House. The name also alludes to its purpose and mission, which is to serve as Ukraine’s cultural center in Washington.
There is a similar building in Ukraine: the America House, operated by the United States Embassy, located in Kiev. Much like its US counterpart, Ukraine House has hosted a wide range of Ukrainian government sponsored events, including a Holodomor exhibit, cultural instillations, and government receptions. In essence, it is a “home away from home” for many Ukrainians who live in or visit Washington.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy officially opened Ukraine House on September 1 during his trip to the US capital.
In her speech, Ms Markarova commented on her vision for the role of Ukraine House.
“We are very happy that in addition to our Embassy, we have an additional location in Washington that we can call home. We have an extra place where we can get together, have fun, share what we Ukrainians like with our American friends, show our songs, paintings, culture, live together or spend happy days together and of course have a chat. serious questions here, ”said Ms. Markarova.
During the event, closed to the public, a small group of Ukrainian and American personalities were present. Prominent figures in Ukrainian society included renowned journalist and public figure Myroslava Gongadze, Ukrainian Parliamentary Institute founder and director Igor Kogut, and Deputy Party Leader of USAID Ukraine’s Competitive Economy Program. Oleysa Zaluska.
Among the Americans who attended the event were staff from several Congressional offices, including those from the Representative Office Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Mike Quigley (D -Ill.) And Bill Keating (D-Mass.).
Also present were the Executive Director of the Congress Office for International Leadership Jane Sargus and her team, who were thanked by the Ambassador of Ukraine for their support to Ukraine.
While not present at the event, former US ambassadors William Taylor and John Herbst met the 32 Ukrainians who participated in the COIL program earlier today. The group discussed the current situation in Ukraine.
The event comes at a critical time when tensions have escalated over Russia’s aggressive actions near the Ukrainian border and after a summit between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Overall, the Congress Bureau event marked a well-received show of support between Congress and the Ukrainian people.