May 11, 2021
Honoring the Legacy of Professor Volodymyr Poltavets
The Poltavets Social Work Award was established to honor the memory of Professor Volodymyr Poltavets, a prominent psychiatrist, academic, and educator, who in 1994 founded the Kyiv-Mohyla School of Social Work. It was the first program of social work in Ukraine. After his tragic death in 1999, the school was named in his honor. The Award was established in April 2021 by his family, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of his birth.
By creating the Award, the family wishes to continue the legacy of the School’s founder, to raise awareness and recognition of the value of social work, and to support and showcase best practices of social work in Ukraine.
The Award will be judged on a competitive basis for the best submission of a project on the topic of mitigating the negative effects of people’s isolation and enhancement of corporate welfare in remote work environments. All current students of the School are eligible to participate in the competition.
Despite limited resources, the School continues to train internationally recognized professionals. The School is the only one representing Ukraine in the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW). It graduates up to 120 students annually, who are awarded bachelor´s, master´s, and doctorate degrees.
The School recently signed a partnership agreement with the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF Global). The Agreement foresees the participation of the School in the reintegration of Ukrainian veterans into society. Ukraine faces the difficult task of reintegrating some 460,000 veterans who were discharged after military service during the war and ongoing Russian escalation. The School and CRDF Global combined their efforts in the framework of the Project.
The Poltavets family hopes to provide funding for the implementation of winning projects and then assist the finalists in further fundraising to see those projects implemented and making an impact in society.
Ivan Poltavets, managing partner of Stober, Poltavets, and Associates, and son of the School’s founder said, “We hope that more families will create awards and scholarships at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy to commemorate their loved ones. This is both a good way to honor their memory and to create a lasting legacy that makes a positive impact in our society.” Ivan Potavets graduated from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in 2002 with a master’s degree in Economics
Denis Poltavets, who is also the son of the School’s founder, is the program director of Aspen Institute in Kyiv. He added, “Social work is the highest embodiment of pure humanity that cares about The Other. Witnessing the hardships of Ukrainians who cope with the pandemic and its consequences, I realized the importance of my father’s accomplishment in developing a modern School of Social work at Kyiv Mohyla Academy.”
The work of Professor Volodymyr Poltavets continues to invigorate through generations. His granddaughter Uliana Poltavets, who now works at Democracy Reporting International and coordinates the Committee on Artificial Intelligence under the Ministry of Digital Transformation, says that her efforts in the non-profit sector have largely been inspired by the legacy of her grandfather. She stated, “Our family, in as many generations as we can trace, has never stood aside in the face of our society’s challenges. I have met many people whose lives were touched by my grandfather’s wisdom, and I feel his values instilled in me and my work to this day. It is with this spirit that we lay the foundation to the Award, hoping to hearten those who care about our society.”
In remembering her husband’s legacy, Alexandra Abessonova, widow of Professor Volodymyr Poltavets said, “I had great respect for Volodymyr’s very responsible attitude to his work.” “Even in his youth, when he was in charge of the Department of Psychiatry at the Dnipropetrovsk Medical Academy, he was persistent in his work and constantly searched for new knowledge. “
The Poltavets Social work Award will be a lasting legacy to the memory of the founder of the Kyiv-Mohyla School of Social Work and a monument to his vision.