Six Welsh universities today confirmed their participation in a UK-wide twinning scheme with Ukrainian universities, whose day-to-day operations have been disrupted by the conflict in Ukraine.
The program is designed to facilitate the sharing of resources and support in a collective gesture of solidarity and reciprocity to help Ukrainian institutions, staff and students.
Welsh universities will represent 10% of the program with a total of 71 partnerships set up across the UK.
100 academics and university leaders celebrated the ground-breaking university ‘twinning’ program between the UK and Ukraine at an event earlier today, where 24 institutions signed a formal partnership.
Welsh universities participating in the scheme to date include Bangor University, Wrexham Glyndwr University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Aberystwyth University, Swansea University and Cardiff University.
Jeremy Miles, Welsh Minister for Education and Language, said: “Wales is doing everything in its power to support the people of Ukraine during this difficult time.
“Education knows no borders and I am truly delighted to see our Welsh universities extending the hand of friendship to their Ukrainian colleagues.”
They will be matched with:
- Bangor University – Khmelnytskyi National University
- Wrexham Glyndŵr University – Chernihiv National Polytechnic University
- Cardiff Metropolitan University – HSSkovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University
- Aberystwyth University – Odessa National University of Economics
- Cardiff University – Zaporizhzhya National Polytechnic University
- Swansea University – Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University
Professor Maria Hinfelaar, Vice-President of Universities Wales, said: “British universities unequivocally condemn Russia’s unprovoked and unlawful occupation of Ukrainian territory.
“I am proud to see the universities of Wales taking part in this incredibly important program which will provide vital resources and support to Ukrainian institutions, staff and students, enabling them to continue their work in the most difficult of circumstances.
“These partnerships are a testament to the global communities in which we live and our shared values of seeking knowledge and ideas, as well as the role that higher education plays in society.
“The universities of Wales are united with Ukraine and we hope that this program is the first step in a long relationship between our two countries.”
The twinning program will provide Ukrainian universities, students and staff with a wide range of support, including:
- Help physically rebuild Ukrainian university campuses that have been damaged and destroyed.
- Mutual recognition of credits so that English-speaking Ukrainian students can take online courses at UK universities that count towards their final degree.
- Allow Ukrainian teaching and research to continue in British laboratories and classrooms where their own facilities have been destroyed or damaged.
- Facilitate the sharing of academic resources such as libraries and technical equipment.
- Preserving Ukrainian archives in British institutions; facilitate more opportunities for cultural and linguistic exchanges.
- Sharing mental health support – especially for Ukrainian staff and students suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to conflict.
- Allowing Ukrainian students to ‘catch up’ on the learning they missed in summer schools held at UK institutions.
The program also aims to avert the “brain drain” and ensure that Ukrainian universities not only survive but emerge stronger from the war, enabling them to play a vital role in post-war reconstruction.
It was coordinated by Cormack Consultancy Group (CCG) with support from Universities UK International (UUKi), drawing on each group’s expertise in the needs of Ukrainian institutions and the international outreach activities of UK universities.
In Wales, Global Wales has pledged to fund up to £15,000 per university to facilitate partnerships.
It is hoped that while this program will provide short-term support to Ukrainian institutions, it will also mark the beginning of long-term collaborative partnerships between the universities involved.
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