By Justine Humenansky (GSB ’15)
Adriana Krasniansky (GSB ’15) was studying abroad at the Gabelli School of Business in London in November 2013 when political unrest began to escalate in Ukraine, the country of her heritage. Just a few months before, she could never have predicted how these events would change her study abroad experience, adding to it a real-life role in international politics and media.
Now known as the Euromaidan Revolution, the unrest in Ukraine began with the failure of a deal between the Ukraine and the European Union, which led to protests on the streets of Kiev, the country’s capital city. (The name “Euromaiden” originates from the location of the protests—Maidan Nezalezhnosti—Kiev’s central square, also known as Independence Square.)
Compelled by her Ukrainian lineage, Adriana decided to team with five non-Fordham students—Seamus Kelleher (Ohio State University), Mykola Murskyj (Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics), Michael Fedynsky (2013 Fulbright Fellow), Zoe Ripecky (Vassar Collective) and Julian Hayda (DePaul University)—to form the Euromaidan Journalist Collective (EJC). The students are all childhood friends who grew up participating in similar organizations that promoted awareness of their Ukrainian heritage. Adriana says she joined the EJC because she “respected the others’ personal intelligence and ambition” and she felt that they were “united by a shared passion toward Ukraine.”
Concerned about the lack of English-speaking reporters and the accuracy of the translation of news reports surrounding the events, the students who are all fluent in Russian or Ukrainian, traveled to Ukraine for a week in December and began reporting on the ground. The EJC became the English-speaking eyes and ears of the international community, broadcasting live, utilizing social media and a live-streaming website (projectmaiden.com), and taking footage for a feature-length documentary.
As political unrest continues, the group’s long-term plan is to contact international media, academic publications and community organizations and invigorate conversation about Ukraine’s political situation. The EJC held its first U.S. event in Ohio in December. Politicians and academics discussed the situation and viewed footage of the soon-to-be documentary.
In January, the situation in Ukraine turned violent, after police assaulted citizens protesting newly passed laws that severely limited the right to protest and that placed tight controls on media. The first fatalities were reported on January 21, 2014. The laws have since been repealed, but protests continue and the situation is far from resolved.
While Adriana is studying marketing, she has an interest in politics and Eastern European events, and has previously interned with the Department of Public Information at the United Nations. Her recent experiences with the EJC has instilled in her “a strong appreciation for global interconnectedness, a better understanding of how business can influence policies, and a determination to speak out for basic human rights.”
Working with the EJC has also provided opportunities to expand her marketing education through her work organizing events and speaking engagements and promoting the EJC’s website through social and traditional media channels.
“My experience with the Euromaidan Journalist Collective has helped me to work within a team of extremely intelligent, capable individuals who excel in different fields, including political analysis, business and film,” Adriana said. “However, our team is united by a passion for our Ukrainian heritage and our connection to the current Ukrainian people.”
With full support from the Gabelli School, Adriana completed the fall semester in Ukraine, and believes the experience with the EJC will make a difference in her future work in the business world.