Aspen tour to Omelyan Prіtsak archive: Aspen Institute Kyiv supports initiatives of Community members

On October 12, Aspen Institute Kyiv Сommunity members visited the archive of world-class Ukrainian scientist Omelyan Pritsak at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. 

Omelyan Pryisak is a scientist who received a brilliant Western education, knew more than 60 languages, and was hunted by many of the world’s leading universities. He spent most of his life at Harvard. There he was nicknamed “Tornado” — for his tireless nature and unquenchable energy. He was not only an archival, meticulous scientist but also a brilliant scientific manager and fundraiser. He raised funds for the opening of departments of Ukrainian studies and the Institute of Ukrainian Studies at Harvard and brought Ukrainian studies from the marginal circles of cultural “clubs” to the orbit of world science at the level of German studies, Judaism, and Russian studies. 

The scientist was surprised that in any respectable library in the world it was possible to find several dozen volumes of ancient Scandinavian sagas, but there were no Kyiv chronicles or ancient Ukrainian literature. For that reason, Omelyan Pritsak set himself the goal of creating such a library and telling the world about the rich Ukrainian culture, which not only absorbed many influences but also influenced the development of European cultural trends. 

During the tour, Aspen residents heard a lot of inspiration and value about a unique man of Renaissance scale, who lived shortly before us, and whose heritage is still enriching. In addition, participants got acquainted with the unique collection of the archive: 

  • saw an inverted map of the Arab traveler Muhammad al-Idrisi, where the north is at the bottom and the south at the top, where there is the Ukrainian Black Sea coast with the then toponyms;
  • opened a unique old print of Philip Johann von Stralenberg, an army officer of Charles XII, who made a perfect description of the culture, geography and natural resources of the Russian Empire. He paid a lot of attention to Ukraine and its history; 
  • held in their hands an ancient Georgian dagger, which also belonged to Lesya Ukrainka. 

The event took place within the program for the Aspen Institute Kyiv Community. It was held by the initiative of its participant Andriy Melnyk

Every graduate of the Aspen Institute Kyiv Seminars can join the Aspen Institute Kyiv Community. The Community now has about 300 members. Read more about the membership system at the link: https://aspeninstitutekyiv.org/doluchytys/

Membership in the Aspen Institute Kyiv Community implies greater involvement of its participants in the events of the Aspen Institute Kyiv. In addition, we are open to the initiatives of the members. Such events help to get to know each other better, to communicate amicably in a relaxed atmosphere, and, finally, to find like-minded people, — says Andriy Kulakov, Program Coordinator of the Aspen Institute Kyiv Community Program.