Home Culture Diplomatic Spotlight Spotlight: Diplomats come together to raise funds for Ukrainian kids

Spotlight: Diplomats come together to raise funds for Ukrainian kids

Spotlight: Diplomats come together to raise funds for Ukrainian kids
Shahin Mafi, Czech Ambassador to the U.S. Miloslav Stašek and his wife Dana at the fundraiser for Ukrainian children, held at the Czech Embassy, April 26, 2024.

Czech Ambassador to the United States Miloslav Stasek hosted colleagues from a dozen embassies on April 26 at a dinner and auction to raise funds for Ukrainian children who have lost their schools, their teachers, their loved ones and more during the war started by Russia two years ago.

Children dressed in traditional Ukrainian garb presented the diplomats and other guests with bread and salt on an embroidered cloth –  a Ukrainian greeting ceremony – as the guests walked down a path leading through the gardens of the Czech ambassador’s residence, where they enjoyed cocktails, to the embassy, where a dinner and auction were held.

The children performed Ukrainian dances before the guests entered the dining room, where tables were decorated in the yellow and blue of Ukraine’s flag and identified by the name of the capital of the country whose ambassador was at the table.

Guests listened intently as Yeva Skalietska recounted how, at age 12, she and her grandmother fled Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine as the Russian military attacked at the start of the invasion. Skalietska, who is now just 14 and lives in Dublin, has published a book in English called “You Don’t Know What War Is,” which Goodreads describes as “an important, harrowing and ultimately hopeful memoir about the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war as told through the diary entries” of Skalietska.

Ukrainian teen Yeva Skalietska, who fled her home in Kharkiv at the start of the war in Ukraine, signs copies of her book at the fundraising dinner at the Czech embassy. (

The teen closed her speech with a plea for all those present to be peace builders.

Countries represented at the evening included several that border Ukraine ­– Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia; and others that share a common past with it as former Soviet republics (Estonia and Latvia) or were members of the communist bloc (Bulgaria and the Czech Republic). Monaco and Switzerland were also represented, as was Ukraine.

The event was the first charity initiative of Together For Others, founded by retired Ambassador Reka Szemerkenyi, who was the Hungarian envoy to the U.S. from 2015-17. Shahin Mafi of the Azar Foundation for Children of the World co-sponsored and helped to organize the event.

Szemerkenyi talked about the shared missions of Together for Others and its charity partner Science4People, launched by Nobel laureate in physics Ferenc Krausz and members of his team shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Science4People seeks to provide and improve education for children and young people in crisis regions. Szemerkenyi explained to attendees the places in need in Ukraine where funds raised during the evening would go, and how they would get there.






Alla Rogers

Art Dealer: Former President Art Dealers Association of Washington DC, Art Specialist & Appraiser, Eastern European Art, Curator, Writer, Lecturer, Exhibition Designer. Director: Art and Cultural Impact Global Peace Education Network,National Press Club: International Correspondents Committee. Masters Degree, George Washington University