Ottawa. May 7, 2013 – Ms. Ivonka Joanna Survilla, President of the Rada (Parliament) of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile, yesterday was presented a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
“The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal recognizes Canadians whose service to Canada and the world reflects the dedication demonstrated by Her Majesty’s 60 years on the throne,” said Senator Raynell Andreychuk, who nominated Ms. Survilla for the award.
“It is a privileged to be able to present this honour in recognition of someone who has done so much to sow the seeds of democracy in Belarus,” said Senator Andreychuk. “Democracy will not come to Belarus tomorrow, but it will come, and Ms. Survilla’s contribution has been instrumental in that process.”
Ivonka Joanna Survilla was born in Belarus, and raised in France. In 1969, she immigrated to Canada. In 1989, she co-founded the Canadian Relief Fund for Chernobyl Victims in Belarus (CRFCVB) –sending medical aid to Belarusan hospitals and bringing young victims of Chernobyl for summer stays in the healthy Canadian environment.
In 1997, Ms. Survilla was elected President of the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile. In that capacity, she has worked toward the restoration of democratic processes in Belarus. Ms. Survilla was re-elected to her third term as President of the BNR Rada on April 18, 2010.
“I am honoured by this recognition as a Canadian citizen,” said Ms. Survilla; “but also because it will help raise awareness about the situation in Belarus. That has been, and continues to be, my life’s work.”