September-December 2020



Conducted by

Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”

Lead researchers

Hanna Shelest, Nadiya Bureiko

About this project

The perception of Ukraine in the USA is part of a comprehensive project to study the perception of Ukraine and Ukrainian culture abroad in a number of countries identified as priority and important in the Ukrainian Institute’s Strategy for 2020-2024.

For the first time, the project explores the attitudes and expectations of foreign audiences regarding Ukraine, its culture and opportunities for cooperation, their awareness of modern culture and cultural heritage of Ukraine.

The research was carried out by the method of in-depth expert interviews with representatives of foreign institutions in the field of culture, education, science, civil society, as well as local and central authorities, the diplomatic corps, international organizations, the Ukrainian professional environment abroad and foreign Ukrainians.

The results of the research made it possible to determine the most popular formats of cultural diplomacy projects at the bilateral level and develop work plans for the Ukrainian Institute.



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Ukraine’s perception in the USA

  • The perception of Ukraine in the United States is mainly shaped through two lenses: current events in the news or the Soviet past.
  • In general perception, political associations with modern Ukraine prevail over cultural ones. News and TV content have a great influence on perception.
  • The only visual and cultural element that appears in the associations of the non-professional community has become the Ukrainian vyshyvanka due to its active use in the fashion industry and popularization by American stars in social networks.
  • Respondents refused to associate well-known world-class figures, such as Kazimir Malevich or Volodymyr Horowitz, with a particular country, calling them instead of an international pianist or world artist.
  • Familiarity with historical figures or traditions is highly dependent on the respondent’s study of history at the university or on his/her work. A significant role is played by Harvard University, where there are powerful Ukrainian studies

Participants of public discussion on the research

  • Hanna Shelest, Security Studies Program Director of the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”
  • Serhii Plokhii, Director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University
  • Kathy Nalywajko, President of the Ukrainian Institute of America
  • Volodymyr Sheiko, Director General of the Ukranian Institute

Watch the discussion