Anastasia Shkilnyk was born in a Displaced Persons camp near Wasserburg, Germany on August 22, 1945 during the period when her family, along with many other Ukrainians, were fleeing Stalin’s scourge of their Ukrainian homeland. The family emigrated to Winnipeg, Canada in 1947 where Anastasia spent her early years attending Catholic schools, participating in Plast and learning music. She moved to Toronto, Canada in 1962 to study at the University of Toronto, from which she received an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in the field of Eastern European studies in 1966 and a Woodrow Wilson Scholarship to Yale University in the United States.
Anastasia earned a Master of Arts degree from Yale in 1968 and she then accepted a two-year assignment with the Ford Foundation in Santiago, Chile where she managed scholarship and grant-giving programs and did research on the problem of marginal human settlements, using the squatter settlements on the periphery of Santiago as the case study for her research.
Ms. Shkilnyk then began a doctoral program in the field of Urban and Regional Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972. Before completing her degree she took a 9-month assignment to design a low-income housing strategy for the city of Ismailia, Egypt, which had been devastated in the course of the 1973 war against Israel. For the three years thereafter Anastasia undertook a major research initiative with the Grassy Narrows Indian Band in northwestern Ontario, which led to her book A Poison Stronger than Love (Yale University Press). This book was most instrumental in completing the requirements for her doctoral degree and she received her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the field of Urban and Regional Studies in1982.
In 1984 Dr. Shkilnyk married Dr. Jim Kingham. After more than a decade of work for the Canadian Government on issues associated with Canada’s aboriginal peoples, Anastasia and her husband moved to Vancouver Island in 2000. For the next thirteen years Dr. Shkilnyk dedicated her life to helping and inspiring others in distress. She established and funded The Light of Justice Award which recognized moral leaders in Ukraine and she organized fund-raising events to raise consciousness about the need for moral leadership in the world and to provide scholarships for young people in Ukraine who showed promise as future moral leaders. She also endowed a program to establish Medical Equipment Lending Facilities in Ukraine under the auspices of Caritas-Ukraine, supported the DZHERELO Centre for Handicapped Children in Ukraine and sponsored fund-raising events in aid of the children displaced by the conflict in Syria, under the umbrella of the Save the Children organization.
Dr. Anastasia Maria Shkilnyk died as a result of oesophageal cancer on May 13, 2014 .
Mykhailo Shkilnyk was born in the village of Surokhov in western Ukraine. He studied Law at the Universities of Lviv and Krakow. During the period of the Ukrainian National Republic he first worked in the Ministry of Economics and Trade and then became the Director General of consular services in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After the fall of the Ukrainian National Republic, Shiklnyk returned to Western Ukraine where he worked as a judge in the town of Peremyshliany. During the German occupation he was appointed as Mayor of the town during which time, risking his own life and his family’s safety, he saved Rabbi Rokeah, known as “the Great Rabbi Belza”, the leader of Orthodox Jews in western Ukraine. Due to Shkilnyk’s efforts, many families were saved in Peremyshliany. Later he emigrated with his family to Canada. In 1971 his memoirs “Ukraine in the fight for the statehood during 1917-1921” were published in Toronto. Throughout his life Mykhailo Shkilnyk remained faithful to his motherland and despaired for her fate.