UKRAINIAN BRAVERY: In New York for the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska met with the U.N.’s Secretary-General António Guterres, Prime Minister of Great Britain Liz Truss, France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron and the U.N.’s Population Fund executive director Natalia Kanem.
Zelenska reportedly praised U.N. officials for including the situation in Ukraine in this year’s report on children in armed conflicts, “as it will ensure proper monitoring by the U.N. system of crimes against children committed daily by the Russian occupiers in our country.” As of last month, more than one-third of Ukrainian children, about 2.2 million, had been forced to leave their homes, with some having to relocate multiple times, according to humanitarian agencies.
As Zelenska has taken a more public role in denouncing the Russian invasion and championing Ukrainian designers and brands in recent months, she has been wearing Ukrainian designs for key public appearances. For Thursday’s visits to the 9/11 Memorial and the Ukrainian Museum, Zelenska appeared to be sending a message, wearing a Ukrainian-made belt from the Gunia Project. The brand draws upon its home country’s heritage and is committed to restoring and increasing awareness of the Ukrainian culture globally.
The handwoven belt was inspired by traditional elements of Ukrainian folkloric “Krayka” costume. It carried the message “Brave like Ukraine,” and required six hours of work by a craftswoman, according to a spokesperson for the Gunia Project.
At the Ukrainain Museum, Zelenska received a tour from its newly installed director Peter Doroshenko, who until recently had held that same post at the Dallas Contemporary for 11 years. Earlier in the week in New York Zelenska hosted a brunch with some of her female and male counterparts from Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Malta and other countries, during the Summit of First Ladies and First Gentlemen. She was also applauding with the U.N. delegates in New York when they gave her husband, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, a standing ovation for his “formula for peace” virtual speech.