Featuring Renown Author, Historian Serhiy Plokhiy

National University “Kyiv Mohyla Academy” hosted aн online seminar titled “Roots of a European Ukraine: Is Ukraine’s European Tradition Real or a Myth”, organized by Dukh i Litera Publishing House and the online project Sophia – Library of Wisdom.

The online seminar took place on February 11, 2021, and is available for viewing HERE.

The catalyst for the event was the publication of Professor Plokhiy’s Ukrainian-language book, “Magistra Vitae”, published by Dukh i Litera in 2021. “Magistra Vitae” is a Latin expression, meaning “life’s teacher”, more precisely in this case, “History as life’s teacher”.









“Magistra Vitae”, published by Dukh i Litera, 2021


Dukh i Litera (“Spirit and Letter”) is an independent non-governmental organization established at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in 1992,co-founded by two distinguished public figures: Constantin Sigov, who serves as director of the publishing house and director of the European Humanities Research Center at NaUKMA, and Leonid Feinberg, who serves as chief editor, and director of the Centre for Studies of History and Culture of Eastern European Jewry at NaUKMA. See

Professor Plokhiy, a renowned historian and author specializing in the history of Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and Cold War studies, is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard University, where he also serves as the director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute.

The seminar featured a captivating presentation by Dr. Plokhiy that engaged the attention of many listeners from many countries. For all who have an interest in the history of Ukraine, Dr. Plokhiy and the participants raised the following fascinating topics raised in his book:


  • Creation of a nation based on the European model, which progressed beyond empires
  • Beginnings of state formation in the European trajectory
  • Separation of secular and ecclesiastical power
  • Ukrainian baroque culture
  • Influence of Western law and the ability to find a platform for cooperation
  • Transformation of European influences and processes on the local territory
  • Idealization of Europe
  • Factors that contributed to Ukraine’s participation in European processes
  • Geography (proximity to Central Europe)
  • The struggle for autonomy and independence within the Russian Empire and later within the Soviet Union needed models that counterbalance the models of St. Petersburg and Moscow.
  • Formation of the Ukrainian undertaking within two empires at once, and as a result – its openness
  • The borderland factor in the creation of a unique society


Acting president of the university, Dr. Tetiana Yaroshenko, welcomed Dr. Plokhiy and the organizers, with a reminder that Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute have a close history of collaboration, including years of academic connections, the Omelan Pritsak Library and Research Center now housed at KMA, and the digitization of Professor Pritsak’s archives. The logo of HURI includes the illustration of the historic Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

The presentation was followed by comments and questions from an impressive group of academics from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. We share the photos of the participants below.



Natalia Shlikhta

Head of the History Department  









Ola Hnatiuk

Historian, Professor of University of Warsaw and NaUKMA








Yevhen Hlibovitsky, an expert on long-term strategies

Alumnus of NaUKMA






Constantin Sigov

Director of Dukh i Litera and of the European Humanities Research Center at NaUKMA





Tetiana Yaroshenko

Acting President of NaUKMA



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