Ukraine links provide support on invasion anniversary
24 February 2023
Distance learning programmes for students unable to leave Ukraine and cultural exchange events are being explored as the University signs up to a twinning scheme one year on from Russian’s invasion of the country.
Friday (24 February) marks 12 months since Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and staff, students and our local community have been taking action to support those affected by the conflict.
This includes the University signing up to the UK-Ukraine Twinning Initiative, which allows universities around the world to support their Ukrainian counterparts in genuine, demonstrable ways.
The institution-to-institution collaboration model coordinated by Cormack Consultancy Group and the President of Ukraine’s Fund for Education, Science, and Sports, with the support of Universities UK International.
Supporting Ukrainian students
As part of the scheme, the University has re-established a previously held connection between its School of Agriculture, Policy and Development and the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine (NuBiP), in Kyiv.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions has been signed and the Global Partnerships Office at Reading is now working on a number of funding proposals in order to provide support to staff and students at NuBiP.
These include delivering a research workshop in Poland for Reading and NuBiP colleagues, and developing distance study programmes at Reading for students in Ukraine that are unable to leave the country. Funding opportunities are being investigated for both ideas.
In addition, student representatives from NuBiP have been put in touch with their Reading counterparts to explore ideas for organising some virtual cultural exchange events.
Dr Sarah Cardey, academic lead in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, said: “We are proud to collaborate with our Ukrainian colleagues at an institution that shares our values on agriculture, food security, and community development.
“This partnership is a way for us to collaborate as institutions to address some key global challenges.”
Warm winter clothing
As part of the Twinning scheme, the University is also donating 100 branded hoodies to staff and students at NuBiP to help provide some warm clothing during the cold winter weather.
This donation is being funded through the Vice-Chancellor’s Endowment Fund.
Professor Robert Van de Noort, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “The invasion of Ukraine violated international law and has disrupted education and research for millions of students and academics in Ukraine. It is right that we play our part to support our counterparts in any way we can.”
Artists for Ukraine
A separate initiative involving the University saw an exhibition of posters created by members of the Artists for Ukraine group, led by academics in the University’s School of Art and Reading artists to raise funds for humanitarian work in Ukraine.
The Drinks and Solidarity Sale at the 571 Oxford Road gallery in Reading this week included posters created by artists and graphic designers forced to leave their homes due to the war in Ukraine, as well as exhibited in Reading this week.
Artists for Ukraine have raised £26,000 since forming a year ago.
Professor Susanne Clausen, from the University’s School of Art and an Artists for Ukraine member who co-organised the exhibition, is supporting some of the 10 Ukrainian student scholars who have come to the University via its Sanctuary Scholarship Scheme.
Professor Clausen is helping the scholarship holders, who are setting up a new Ukrainian Society, to organise future events.
The School of Art will also host Ukrainian artist and writer Darya Tsymbalyuk to report on cultural projects in Donbas, Ukraine, on 8 March as part of its Artist Lecture series.