Williamsport Area High School connection to Ukraine
On March 20, Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted, “U.S. Sherman in Kyiv today; visited Maidan & carried msg: US stand w Ukrainian ppl. Cc;VasylBabych Alina Beskrovna.”
Beskrovna, who was referred to in the tweet, graduated from Williamsport Area High School as a FLEX Exchange Student in 2007. The FLEX program is a competitive scholarship program of the U.S. State Department for students from the former Soviet States.
Beskrovna is the first president of the U.S. Embassy Youth Council in Ukraine, established in 2012 in response to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call to engage youth worldwide in order to see solution to various problems, be it effective governance or environment, and in order to help the U.S. Embassies worldwide do a better job reaching out to youth. As the first President, Beskrovna is involved in the building the organization of active young Ukrainian professionals from the ground up.
Her involvement with EuroMaidan movement also accounts for these dignitaries seeking her counsel. The term “EuroMaidan Movement” refers to the wave of demonstrations, civil unrest and revolution in Ukraine which began the evening of November 21, 2013 with a peaceful public protest demanding closer European integration when then President Viktor Yanukovych and his government dropped their application to the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Community. Protestors supported the European Union membership because it required widespread reform of the Ukrainian economy and government. More protestors joined the movement after the violent dispersal of the students and were fueled by the perception of widespread government corruption, abuse of power, and violation of human rights.
Beskrovna was involved in volunteering for “EuroMaidan SOS” – an emergency responsive initiative tracking human rights violation cases. In that role, she personally briefed Senator John McCain, R-Arizona; Senator Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut; Wendy Sherman and Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs of the U.S. State Department.
She provided these officials with information on the gradual changes EuroMaidan Movement went through – from a peaceful uplifting creative demonstration to the cases of hundreds shot, murdered, or missing. Coming from the one of the least engaged and the most misunderstood regions of Eastern Ukraine, suffocating under Russian propaganda, Beskrovna also focused specifically on helping Ambassador Pyatt (the US Ambassador to Ukraine) understand the dangers of the instability and the false narratives surrounding Maidan so prevalent in Eastern and Southern Ukraine.
Beskrovna also is a senior at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy majoring in applied math. Her passion for transforming Ukraine also is poured into her board membership in Junior Chamber International – an international community of citizens between the ages of 18 and 40 with the aim and purpose of creating positive change in the world.
Beskrovna attributes most of her accomplishments to participating in the FLEX program of student exchange. It was her first time ever outside of Ukraine and her first time flying. She considers it to be a break-through time, challenging her narrow views of a post-Soviet kid, expanding her world view, helping her gain confidence, and teaching her to be a civic activist with a passion for working to make her community better.
She gives special thanks to her host family, Geoffrey and Dr. Robin Knauth, for making this personal transformation possible and for demonstrating how one family can begin serving as diplomats and changing the world, one human relationship at a time.
Anyone interested in becoming a host family can contact Ann Swift, PAX community coordinator, at 570-772-7012 or email annswift@gmail. com.