James Temerty – Founder of Ukrainian Jewish Encounter (UJE)

James Temerty is a distinguished Canadian entrepreneur, civic leader, and philanthropist, and founder of the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter.

Well-known and respected for his vision, initiative and servant leadership, James Temerty has received many honours for his achievements.

He was born in the Donbas region of Ukraine during WWII. His parents were deported to Germany as forced labourers. After the war, his family lived in Belgium for three years, before coming to Canada and settling in Montreal.

Mr. Temerty’s lifelong entrepreneurial attributes appeared early in life. His first venture was founding a University Student Business Association, which brought Dick Clark’s American Bandstand to a thrilled audience in Montreal, and eventually employed 42 students.

After graduating, he held various marketing and management positions with IBM in Canada and the United States. After 15 years, Mr. Temerty returned to his entrepreneurial roots, building a single franchise into the world’s largest privately held chain of ComputerLand stores.

Today Mr. Temerty is well known as the founder and chair of Northland Power, Canada’s first independent power producer and a Canadian icon for clean and green energy sources.

Founded in 1987, Northland Power operates biomass, natural gas and wind power projects in Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. Wind, solar and waterpower ventures are currently under development.

A man of boundless energy and compassion, Mr. Temerty devotes much of his time and fortune to philanthropic causes in Canada and Ukraine.

He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Northland Power Income Fund, Governor of the Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre, and a member of the board of the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation. From 2002 to 2009 he was the Chairman of the Royal Ontario Museum Board of Governors.

He is Founding Chairman of UCC’s National Advisory Council, and a benefactor of Holodomor Research and Education at the University of Alberta. He recently donated one million dollars to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights towards the development of an exhibit on the Holodomor, the Famine-Genocide of 1932-33 in Ukraine.

He is a benefactor of  Lviv’s Ukrainian Catholic University, one of Ukraine’s leading educational institutions and the only Catholic university in the former Soviet Union. There he has established three departments that study Jewish-Ukrainian interfaith relations. He supports similar initiatives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

He a Trustee of a Children’s Hospital in Kyiv and was instrumental in launching the Kyiv Mohyla Business School of which he serves as Chairman of its Advisory Council.

Mr. Temerty’s achievements have earned him some distinguished honours in recent years.

In 2007 he was awarded the Shevchenko Medal by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

In 2008, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, the highest honour bestowed to Canadian citizens.

In 2010 he was named Ontario Entrepreneur of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year in the energy and natural resources sector.

In 2012 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

And in June, 2013, James Temerty was the first recipient of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Medal, an award established by the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine for contributions to the cause of Ukrainian-Jewish understanding and cooperation.

Most notably for us, Mr. Temerty is founder and chairman of the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter Initiative.

This organization was founded to deepen cross-cultural and interfaith relations between Ukrainians and Jews. It strives to bring the two peoples together in understanding and empathy of each other’s historical experience and narratives. To advance these goals, UJE has convened a series of meetings and conferences, engaging close to 200 scholars and experts in Ukraine, Israel, and the Ukrainian and Jewish diasporas.

It also supports the Jewish Museum of Lviv, and our efforts to restore and preserve what remains of Ukraine’s Jewish heritage in the wake of Nazi and Communist devastation. And thanks to Mr. Temerty and the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter, we are able to bring you these weekly insights on Ukraine’s Jewish community on Nash Holos Ukrainian Roots Radio.

You can find out more at the museum’s website .

Narrated by Renata Hanynets, Research Fellow at the Faina Petryakova Center in Lviv, Ukraine.

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