European University 2004;
(l to r) Guest, Dr. Yuri Gapon, and Prof. Lon Kaufmann.
[Activities and Interests]
Life in Ukraine

Thanks to the generous support of two successive grants provided by the U.S. Fulbright Program Prof. Kaufmann has been lecturing at three universities in Kiev Ukraine on the topic, "Computer Graphics and Web Design for E-Commerce" during school years 2002-3 and 2003-4. The National Academy of Art and Architecture is the premier state institution for the study of the Fine and Applied Arts in Ukraine. Wisconsin International University(Ukraine) and European University are two fine examples of the many private educational institutions which were founded directly after the establishment of Independance in 1991. The kind hospitality of these schools and the congenial nature of their professors and students have made the experience memorable. More information about the Fulbright Program in Ukraine is available at their web site.

Ukraine is an anomaly; both very young as an independant nation and very ancient. The hilly mount on the Dnieper river now called Kiev was a fortified settlement in 500 A.D.. Unknown to many, Kievan Rus in the 12th century was the birthplace of what later became Russia. It was a son of Prince Vladimir who first founded Moscow as a wilderness outpost of Kievan Rus in 1147.

Since 1992 and the break up of the former Soviet Union, Ukraine has been struggling to evolve from a communist and centrally planned society towards one that is democratic and market driven. It is one of the most abundantly blessed former republics in terms of natural resources and cultural history. The rapid pace of transition has created a society which promises great things in the long term but in the short term has created both economic opportunity and hardship for the majority of the population. The ingenuity required of Ukrainians to survive these changes is particularly seen in the students. My students for the most part, were industrious, curious and anxious to learn the practical applications of computer graphics and web design. Many had an entrepreneurial spirit that will serve them well as they build their own future and collectively bring Ukraine into its own as a prosperous and free nation.

The majority of my students were untrained as artists or web designers before my classes. Their web sites were very inventive however and ranged widely in their size, content and intended audiance. A sample of this diversity includes; sites promoting travel agencies, a Black Sea Resort, the grafitti of Kiev, street racing clubs, a store for stuffed animals, personal advice for women, software downloads for Windows OS, and a study of fractals. Please visit the student web gallery to see some of these. Links to the actual sites will be posted here in the near future.


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