31 years ago, on the 24th of August in 1991, Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union. Since then, this day has been considered a National Holiday. Today, war is raging in the Eastern European country. For six months, the Ukrainians have been fighting bitterly against the invaders from Russia. For six months, the life of an entire nation has been completely turned upside down. Millions of people have fled as a result of the Russian invasion - what was unimaginable or barely imaginable a few months ago is now part of our thinking, our everyday life, our life in Europe.
The sympathy here in Germany and around the world is enormous. At the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, there were several fundraising campaigns and offers of help. The university also offers perspectives for studying: Ukrainians who have had to leave their homeland are given the opportunity to start a degree programme, take advantage of counselling and preparatory courses, and participate in the "BTU Guest Student Programme" or "BTU Pathway Programme". Since July 2022, for example, the first 45 guest students from Ukraine have been learning German at the BTU. A DAAD-funded project of German partner universities, in which the BTU is also involved, supports Ukrainian universities in maintaining teaching and infrastructures in the digital field, especially for urban development and the reconstruction of Ukrainian cities.
The European University Alliance EUNICE, in which six partner universities work closely with BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, also condemn the Russian attack on Ukraine and express their support for the country and its people in various ways. Some initiatives are listed below.
For example, the Finnish University of Vaasa (UVA) donated 10,000 euros at the beginning of March to help war victims and those in need from Ukraine. In addition, similar to the BTU, UVA has granted free participation in various courses to Ukrainian students who had to interrupt their studies due to the war. Knowing that the current situation can cause anxiety for many people, the Finnish university has, among other things, organised discussion rounds with psychologists and regional crisis experts.
In Poland, at the Poznań University of Technology (PUT), the entire academic community has been actively involved in providing assistance to Ukrainian refugees - be it in finding accommodation, fundraising or sending medicines and urgently needed goods to Ukrainian partner universities and organisations. Ukrainian students were able to accommodate family members in the PUT dormitories and on campus the sports centre was unceremoniously transformed into a reception centre that housed more than 2200 refugees. In addition, there was a drawing course for Ukrainian children, a charity tennis tournament and two auctions with works by students and staff of the Faculty of Architecture. Polish courses and an Erasmus+ fund for exchange students from Ukrainian partner universities provide financial support and integration into the local community.
It is precisely these offers of assistance that can be found at all universities in the EUNICE higher education alliance: whether at the University of Catania (UNICT) in Italy, the University of Mons (UMONS) in Belgium or the University of Cantabria (UC) in Spain - everywhere scholarships for Ukrainian refugees have been set up, student fee waivers are granted and language courses have been initiated. In addition, donations are regularly collected at UMONS and a network of volunteers has been established to provide interpreting services to refugees.
EUNICE, the European University for Customised Education, includes the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, the Technical University of Poznań (Poland), the University of Cantabria (Spain), the University of Mons (Belgium), the University of Catania (Italy), the Université Polytechnique Hauts-de-France (France) and the University of Vaasa (Finland). The project promotes networking between educational institutions, industrial and business partners and other social, cultural, artistic and sporting actors to respond to social and economic challenges at both global and local levels.
For more information about EUNICE, please visit the website:https://eunice-university.eu/
Stabsstelle Kommunikation und Marketing
T +49 (0) 355 69-2609