Sociologist Victor Satzewich receives Fulbright Canada Research Chair to study Ukrainian diaspora in the U.S.

Victor Satzewich looking at the camera in front of poster or sign with Cyrillic words .

Sociology professor Victor Satzewich will spend a semester at Norwich University in Vermont, studying how the diaspora is mobilizing support for Ukraine during the Russian invasion.

Sociology professor Victor Satzewich has received the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Peace and War Studies at Norwich University in the U.S. 

Norwich is a senior military college and home to the prestigious John and Mary Frances Patton Peace & War Centre. Satzewich will spend the fall term at the Vermont institution, researching how the Ukrainian-American community will mobilize support during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“I feel extremely honoured by the award,” he says. “It is an opportunity to learn about the United States higher education system and to share the Canadian university experience with my American colleagues and students.”

The sentiment was echoed by Tony Porter, acting associate dean (Research) of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

“Vic’s research promises to provide valuable insights into the cross-border impacts of diaspora communities and is especially relevant given the global significance of the current war in Ukraine,” Porter says.

“This recognition by Fulbright Canada helps highlight the timeliness and relevance of the work done at McMaster.”

Satzewich is no stranger to issues affecting the Ukrainian diaspora. After Ukraine became independent in 1991, he researched how Canada’s Ukrainian community supported their homeland, publishing his findings in in 2002.

He also collaborates with Natalia Khanenko-Friesen, director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta, and Monica Hwang at the University of Saskatchewan, to study post-1991 Ukrainian immigration to Canada. 

Satzewich began investigating the impact of the Crimean crisis and the subsequent occupation of Donbas in 2014. Eight years later, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the need for his research became more urgent. 

“Ukrainian Americans have been consistently lobbying the U.S. government and members of Congress to ensure political and military support for Ukraine for nearly a decade,” Satzewich says. “I want to better understand how the community persuades Americans to care about the war in Ukraine and to see how they handle the fear of compassion fatigue as the war drops off the public’s radar.”

Over the coming months, Satzewich will analyze the work being done by the Ukrainian diaspora, reviewing publicly available records of these lobbyists’ efforts, and meeting with the organizers of public rallies and the leaders of Ukrainian organizations.

As part of his research, he recently attended the Ukraine Action Summit in Washington, DC. During the summit, nearly 300 activists representing a wide range of organizations providing support to Ukraine during the war gathered to lobby Congress. 

“It has been fascinating to see how engaged Ukrainian Americans and other communities are in support of Ukraine,” Satzewich says.

“I hope that my research will lend some insight into the question of how diaspora communities lobby to help shape the foreign policy priorities and initiatives of the countries they live in during a time of crisis — whether it be war, civil conflict or natural disaster.”  

Fulbright Canada Research Chairs are pre-arranged affiliations with postsecondary institutions in the United States that allow Canadian scholars to research subjects important to a U.S.-based university.

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