Anastasia Shkilnyk

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Anastasiia Shkilnyk was born on August 22, 1945, in a camp for refugees close to the German city of Wasserburg as her family and many other Ukrainians fled Stalinist persecution in their home country. In 1947, the family emigrated to Winnipeg (Canada), where Anastasiia spent her youth years attending a Catholic school, being a member of the Plast National Scout Organisation of Ukraine, and studying music. She moved to Toronto in 1962 to study at the university, where she earned an honorary bachelor’s degree in Eastern European Sciences (1966) as well as a Woodrow Wilson fellowship at Yale University (USA).

Two years later, Anastasiia graduated with a Master of Arts degree from Yale University. She then accepted a two-year position at the Ford Foundation in Santiago, Chile. There, she was awarded a scholarship and grant programmes to investigate the problems of unsuitable human settlements, with the research focusing on unauthorised settlements on the outskirts of Santiago.

In 1972, A. Shkilnyk began her doctoral programme in urban and regional sciences at the University of Massachusetts. Before receiving her degree, she went on a nine-month business trip to create a budget housing strategy in the city of Ismailia in Egypt, which was destroyed during the 1973 fighting against Israel. Three years later, Anastasiia plays a leading role in joint research with Gressy Nerose of the Indian Band in northwest Ontario, which resulted in her book “Poison Stronger Than Love” (Yale University Publishing House). The book was the most important factor in fulfilling the doctoral degree requirements. Anastasiia earned a PhD in urban and regional sciences from the University of Massachusetts in 1982.

In 1984, A. Shkilnyk married Dr. Jim Kingham. After a decade of working for the Canadian government to study Indigenous issues in Canada, Anastasiia and her husband moved to Vancouver Island in 2000. For the next thirteen years, Dr. Shkilnyk devoted her life to helping and supporting people who have suffered grief and poverty. She founded the Light of Justice Award, which celebrated moral leaders in Ukraine, organised fundraising evenings to strengthen understanding of the need for moral leadership in the world, and provided scholarships to young Ukrainians who hoped to become future moral leaders. With her support and in cooperation with the Caritas-Ukraine charity organisation, a programme was established to provide credit opportunities for medical equipment. She supported the Dzherelo Ukrainian Centre for children with mental and physical disabilities and, on behalf of the Save the Children organisation, sponsored fundraising events that were held to help displaced children from Syria.

Dr. Anastasiia Shkilnyk died on May 13, 2014, from esophageal cancer.


Mykhailo Shkilnyk was born in the village of Surokhovi in western Ukraine. He earned his law degree from universities in Lviv and Kraków. During the time of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, he worked first in the Ministry of Economy and Trade and later headed the Department of Consular Service in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After the overthrow of the UPR, M. Shkilnyk returned to Western Ukraine, where he worked as a judge in the city of Peremyshliany. During the German occupation, he was appointed mayor of Peremyshliany. In this position, risking his own life and the lives of his family, he saved the life of Rabbi Rokeach, known as the “great rabbi Belza,”  the leader of Orthodox Jews in western Ukraine. Thanks to the efforts of Mykhailo Shkilnyk, many families were saved in Peremyshliany. Later, he and his family emigrated to Canada. In 1971, his memoir, “Ukraine in the struggle for statehood in 1917–1921,” was published in Toronto. Dr. Mykhailo Shkilnyk carried his love for his home country with him throughout his life, rooting for its success.