The XXI Convention of KUPO took place in Przypki near Warsaw, Poland from 16-19 November 2023.

Conventions of KUPO are the highest body of the Conference of Ukrainian Plast Organisations (KUPO), which consists of all member organisations (Countries with a KPS, and independent Plast Groups that meet certain criteria) and they make decisions through delegates from each member organisation. The first KUPO Convention was held for in 1954 and they have been held every three years ever since, with the exception of the XXI Convention of KUPO, which was supposed to take place in 2022, but due to the pandemic, and later the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, it was postponed to 2023.

Plast Australia was represented by a strong contingent (including members of 3 stanytsi) of pl. sen. Chrestyna Kmetj (President Plast National Executive), pl. sen. Olga Dudinski (Bulava UPS), st. pl. Damian Pavlyshyn (Resolution Commission), st. pl. Andrew Bernyk (Finance Commission), pl. sen. Andrew Radion (Publications and Communications Commission), pl. sen. Orysia Sywak-Spinner (on behalf of Bulava UPYu), pl. sen. Tomas Miljenovic (on behalf of Bulava UPN), pl. sen Teresa Lachowicz (on behalf of Plast National Board), as well as pl. sen. Markian Lachowicz who attended as a guest.

The XXI Convention of KUPO had a jam-packed Agenda, with formal sessions running from 9 am until 11 pm or later each day, at which Plast Australia’s delegates (like all other delegates) contributed to discussions, voted on resolutions, such as updating materials and handbooks/pravlynyky (some long overdue), introduce new badges and programs, selecting new global leaders of Plast and reviewing activities over the last 4 years. There was also an opportunity to make new connections with many of Plast’s best and brightest from around the world, and hear about amazing work taking place right across the Americas and Europe, and the growth of Plast across Europe and Asia, including formally recognised Plast Groups in Belgium, Georgia, Denmark, Ireland, Iceland, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Finland, China, Sweden, Switzerland and Czechia, and emerging interest to formalise Plast Groups in United Arab Emirates, Israel, Estonia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malta and Turkey.

Pl. sen. Chrestyna Kmetj was part of a round table discussing the future of Plast in Ukraine and worldwide, especially considering in the context of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, ongoing war and rebuilding activities.

Plast Australia on behalf of the KPS Australia Plast War Appeal also passed on non-lethal aid including drones and tourniquets during the Convention and Plast Ukraine presented all countries that have been providing aid with a thank you plaque.

The Convention provided an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas in-person, with many new faces and those that had only been an image on a screen up to this point. It was valuable to see the vast number of countries, new and old, in which Plast is active and hear about their unique and similar challenges. There is a wealth of resources that have been compiled for different ulady, including programs for adults joining Plast for the first time and running activities for children, and considerable material and detailed activity plans that have been adapted for the North American context that we can draw more from in future.

It was fantastic to be a part of a sizable delegation from Australia and worthwhile for each and every attendee to gain first-hand experience of the Convention, make numerous new contacts and import resources and enthusiasm from other plastuny around the globe. There was also considerable interest shown about sending more vykhovnyky to Australia for tabory in the future.

Some of the more interesting resolutions included establishing France, Spain and Slovakia as Plast Countries and updating proby for yuntatsvo, further recognising and setting requirements for independent Plast groups to be member organisations of KUPO and steps to move from a group to a country, formally declaring that Plast organisations must remain independent not only from political parties but also from religious denominations and should not be influenced by either, setting up a working group to work through legal and copyright questions surrounding protecting the use of the Plast name, method and brandmark (initiative of Plast Australia), Plast Ukraine proposed starting a process to merge ulady of USP and UPS, however this resolution proved to be controversial and was not ratified. All of the resolutions and recommendations will feed into our next Plast Australia Convention (KPZ).

The new worldwide leadership for Plast was chosen for the next three years, re-electing pl. sen. Myron Spolsky as President of HPB, and including several representatives from Australia – pl. sen. Philip Botte – deputy member of HPR, pl. sen. Teresa Lachowicz – member of Bulava UPS, st. pl. Andrew Bernyk – member of Bulava USP.

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