23 Mar 2022

Supporting Ukraine: the EAIE’s next steps

Ukraine war


The Russian government's unjust war on Ukraine is still waging almost a month after it started. The loss of life is staggering and millions have been displaced, driven from their homes and the lives they once knew. The EAIE, like so many of its sister organisations and partners, feels the need and urgency to help in any way it can. We believe in the importance of taking a stand against injustice, just as we believe in the principles of international education, keeping the lines of dialogue open and providing a platform where our community can find solutions together.

The EAIE is extremely concerned for the wellbeing of our Ukrainian colleagues, students and their loved ones as well as the long-term effects of this violent war on the future of the country and its higher education system. First and foremost, we hope that there will be a ceasefire soon and the long road to recovery can begin. Until then, like everyone around the world, we are trying to understand the situation as it unfolds and figure out how our community can help.

As the recent statement of Bologna Process parties states, “education and educational cooperation” is essential “in the development and strengthening of stable, peaceful and democratic societies”. The EAIE strongly believes in international collaboration as the path to mutual understanding and peace. The Russian government’s acts of war in Ukraine and the violence directed at its own citizens who speak out against the war go against the values of the European Union as well as basic human rights.

Actions and next steps

The EAIE will take the following steps to ensure that our activities and events align with our values and principles. Our goal is to ensure safe spaces for dialogue and collaboration as well as open forums for discussion. To this end:

  • Russian and Belarusian government organisations, institutions and other higher education service providers will be excluded from the 2022 Exhibition this September in Barcelona.
  • On 01 April, the EAIE Community Moment webcast ‘A status update from Ukraine’ will offer a current perspective on the situation. Guest speakers Ganna Tolstanova from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and Sophia Opatska from the Ukrainian Catholic University will provide information about the support most critically sought by the Ukrainian higher education community at this time. 
  • Upcoming blog posts and podcast episodes in the Spring will aim to bring Ukrainian voices to the fore, discussing the war’s immense impact on their lives and work and perspectives on how actors outside Ukraine are working to provide support.
  • On 19 May, the EAIE will facilitate an online ideas lab focused on Ukraine. The goal of the lab is to share and discuss specific actions that the international education community (as individuals and institutions) can take (and in some cases may already be undertaking) to support Ukrainian institutions and affected students and academics.
  • During the EAIE Conference in Barcelona this September, we will make sure that space is reserved in the conference programme to address Ukraine’s current needs and interests, the support required to rebuild and the broader implications for the international education sector in Europe.
  • The EAIE is opening up its supportive network of international higher education professionals to the staff of Ukrainian universities and will reach out to offer one free EAIE membership per institution for 2022.

The EAIE will continue to take steps to ensure that we offer a platform for our community to discuss these urgent issues, find ways to lend a helping hand and proactively discuss practical solutions both for short-term support and long-term resilience.

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