Speeches and Interviews
Grant Ceremony for 12th Century Mosaics
September 23, 2011
Minister of Culture Mikhaylo Kulyniak… Director of the St. Sophia’s National Preserve, Nelya Kukoval’ska… ladies and gentleman:
It is my great honor and privilege to be able to sign this Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation grant to help restore and preserve your outstanding 12th century mosaics. Saved in 1934 during the destruction of St. Michaels’ by the communist authorities, these mosaics are a link to Kyiv’s past – and a part of the rich history of Ukraine. As I understand it, the mosaics were moved quickly and put in a cement base – which today is causing cracks in the mosacis and is a major threat to conservation. Our funding will help transfer the mosaics to a modern light base – saving these unique artifacts in their original form and preserving their artistic and historic value.
I would like to congratulate the St Sophia Museum, Nelya Kukoval’ska and her team here. The Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation is a grant that is not given, but won. Over 90 countries had projects sent forward by U.S. Ambassador’s around the world to compete for this award, which is judged by a committee of top experts on cultural preservation in the United States. St. Sophia’s proposal won this grant not only for the outstanding cultural value of these mosaics, but also for the professionalism of the proposal. This restoration will be the first of its kind in Ukraine, and I understand that it will also present an important training opportunity for Ukrainian restoration experts.
Over the years, the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation has provided financial support to more than 640 cultural preservation projects in more than 100 countries. Representing a contribution of nearly $26 million towards the preservation of cultural heritage worldwide, the program aims to show the depth of our respect for the cultural heritage of other countries.
Ukraine has received more Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation grants than any other country in Europe. Projects have included restoring the 19th-Century Furnishings of the Chekhov Museum in Yalta as well as returning the papers of Taras Shevchenko to Ukraine for preservation. We have helped support documentation projects for the Golden Rose Synagogue in Lviv, helped restore of a Greek Catholic Icon Collection, and helped Crimean Tatars to preserve ancient songs, traditions, and handicrafts. As you can see, the Fund has helped with many outstanding projects over the last decade. Yet, there are many more worthy projects out there and we hope we can continue to work with Ukrainian preservationists to support their important work through this program. Thank you.