“I remain an optimist” – Ilko Kucheriv, writing the day before he passed away

June 4, 2010

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News Source: PASOS Secretariat, Prague, Czech Republic

Ilko Kucheriv, director and founder of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, Ukraine, passed away on 29 May 2010.

The death of Ilko Kucheriv, at the age of 54, just over a month after being diagnosed with a serious illness, is a tragic blow to his family, friends and colleagues, and to the many who have known him over the years.

Writing the day before his death, Ilko wrote that he “remains an optimist”, emphasizing that “I believe that people can and should strive to change the world for the better”.

Ilko was known to many PASOS members through joint projects on Euro-Atlantic integration and democratic development, and as Director of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation he worked with PASOS, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and Tovarystvo Leva as one of the partners in organising the conference, For Our Freedom and Yours: For Our Common Future, held in Lviv, Ukraine, on 25-27 October 2009. The conference, held in conjunction with the PASOS annual meeting, marked the 20th anniversary of the end of the cold war.

Jeff Lovitt, PASOS Executive Director, first met Ilko at the Fifth Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy, held in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2008, and over dinner at the Sixth Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 11-14 April 2010, was pleased to be able to inform him that the PASOS Board of Directors had approved the application of Democratic Initiatives Foundation to become a member of PASOS. However, neither Jeff nor Ilko knew that shortly afterwards Ilko would be diagnosed with lung cancer, and that the Jakarta meeting would be their last together. Ilko’s relationship with colleagues from PASOS members goes back many years.

The staff of Democratic Initiatives Foundation paid the following tribute to Ilko:

“Good bye, our friend, farewell, our Captain. We will miss you a lot, especially now when the country goes through the tough times. But we believe that ‘people can and should change the world for better’. And as long as we live the last word has not yet been said.”

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