2021 marks the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian independence and of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, based in Washington, D.C. (USA). To celebrate these twin occasions, the foundation has identified “30 Stars of Ukraine” who in the past 30 years have made significant achievements in their field and contributed to promoting Ukraine’s image internationally. Myroslav Marynovych, Vice-Rector for University Mission of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU), dissident, human rights defender, writer, and founding member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, has been included on the list.

Recipients of the award were selected by a committee organized by the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation. These recipients were recognized on December 29, 2021 at a special event of the Ukraine in Washington and Beyond series dedicated to celebrating the people of Ukraine and their achievements. 

According to the foundation: “For years, Russification has denied Ukrainians their rightful identity. The independence of Ukraine is allowing the country to reclaim its history and that of its people… ‘30 Stars of Ukraine’ is just one of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation’s diverse initiatives to support the sovereignty of Ukraine and the US-Ukrainian strategic partnership.”

Marynovych noted that people of the Ukrainian diaspora “closely and with interest follow events in their homeland, or that of their ancestors. They care. And this award again gives all of us honorees a warm feeling that our efforts have been important for society. I am sincerely grateful to the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation for this award. And I am very sorry that my brothers from the camp did not receive during their lives this acknowledgement which they certainly deserved.”

Professor Myroslav Marynovych presents a signed copy of his memoir “The Universe Behind Barbed Wire” to Carl Gershman, the long-time President of the National Endowment of Democracy and a longtime supporter of Ukrainian human rights activists.

Marynovych visited the USA this fall to present the English translation of his book of memoirs, The Universe behind Barbed Wire. Memoirs of a Ukrainian Soviet Dissident. Historian Timothy Snyder wrote the foreword and has promoted the book.

Marynovych also gave a lecture at the University of Notre Dame on the theme “Faith in Communist and Post-Communist Europe,” where he filled the hall. During the lecture, he shared his experience of suffering persecution against the church and its situation after the fall of Communism.

Recipients of the 30 Stars of Ukraine award:

  1. Major General (ret.) Volodymyr Havrylov: Director of the Veterans Dozen Foundation, Defense Attaché of Ukraine to the US from 2015 to 2018
  2. Liveuamap: Global news and information site
  3. Oksana Lyniv: Conductor, Founder of LvivMozArt Festival and the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine
  4. Yana Zinkevych: People’s Deputy of Ukraine, Founder and Commanding Officer of the Hospitaliery Medical Battalion
  5. Myroslav Marynovcyh: Vice Rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, Founding member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group
  6. Oleksiy Haran: Professor at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Scientific Director of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation
  7. Serkhii Plokhii: Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History, Director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute
  8. Serhiy Zhadan: Poet and writer
  9. Oksana Zabuzhko: Novelist, poet, essayist
  10. Stanislav Aseyev: Novelist, journalist, activist, recipient of the 2021 Taras Shevchenko national prize
  11. Oleg Sentsov: Civil activist and cinematographer 
  12. Ada Rogovtseva: Actress and professor at the Kyiv National University of Arts and Culture
  13. Kazka: Pop and electro-folk band
  14. Jamala: Singer, 2016 Eurovision winner
  15. Julia Daviy: 3D-printed sustainable fashion designer
  16. Light balance: LED dance troupe, Golden Buzzer act on America’s Got Talent 
  17. Viktor Kee: Cirque du Soleil performer, Founder of Art Vision Production and the Viktor Kee Foundation
  18. Kseniya Simonova: Sand performance, winner of Ukraine’s Got Talent and Top 3 Act on America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent
  19. Ivan Marchuk: Artist, Honored Citizen of Ternopil and Kyiv, One of the “One Hundred Geniuses of Today” of the Daily Telegraph
  20. Ksenia Schnaider: Sustainable upcycling fashion brand
  21. Vita Kin: Fashion designer, creator of the “Vyshyvanka by Vita Kin” brand
  22. Maryna Vasyleva: Designer and owner of Pollardi Fashion Group
  23. Valerii Sushkevych: President of the National Paralympic Committee of Ukraine
  24. Andriy Shevchenko: Former head of the Ukraine National Football Team
  25. Oleksandr Usyk: Professional boxer, unified cruiserweight world titles and world heavyweight champion
  26. Maksym Krypak: Paralympic swimmer, Hero of Ukraine
  27. Max Polyakov: Entrepreneur, Founder of Firefly Aerospace, Cupid, Renatus, and other companies
  28. Victoria Repa: Founder of BetterMe fitness platform
  29. Reface: Face swap and deepfake technology
  30. Grammarly: Free online writing assistant

Special Additions: Artem Baranenko, Anton Sovenko, Pavlo Lacy | 2019, 2020, 2021 Recipients of the International Sword, Best Foreign Graduate of the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst


The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation is a DC-based “do tank” with a permanent presence in Kyiv that works to support the development of democracy, a free market economy, and human rights in Ukraine, as well as bolster the strategic partnership between the United States and Ukraine. 

For more information or to support the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, please visit www.usukraine.org