On January 29, HRREC Director Professor John Packer delivered the key-note address for the Annual General Meeting of the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada (UNFC – Ottawa-Gatineau Branch). Professor Packer was invited to recount some of his engagements and reflections from his many years working with the Ukraine and Ukrainians in the post-Soviet era, including Constitutional, legislative and institutional reforms as well as bilateral and multilateral relations (notably OSCE, UN and EU). These especially concerned the status of Crimea and democratization in the 1990s, including the first post-Soviet Constitution of Ukraine (1996) and of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (1998).
Professor Packer has continued his engagements, notably advising on inter-ethnic relations, decentralization, and conflict management and resolution. Most recently, in October 2018, Professor Packer was in Kyiv to address a UN Women Conference entitled “Realizing the Rights of Roma Women in Ukraine” co-sponsored by the Governments of Ukraine and Canada in cooperation with Ukrainian Parliament. The title of his address to the UNFC was “Reflections on the Ukrainian Transition to Democracy: Selected Insights and Challenges Ahead”.