KU opens new positions for Ukrainian scholars displaced by war

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Ukraine Flag(Yehor Milohrodskyi)
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 3:01 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - The University of Kansas has opened two new visiting professor positions, as well as two new fellowships and two new graduate teaching assistantships for Ukrainian scholars displaced by the ongoing war.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the University of Kansas says many of its units have come together to support Ukrainian students on the Lawrence campus and help those displaced by war.

As an institution with long-standing ties to Ukrainian academia - and only one of two universities in the U.S. that offer deep expertise in Ukrainian studies and multiple levels of Ukrainian language instruction - KU said it has responded to the violence in the country both academically and concretely.

“The present destruction of Ukraine by Russian military has disrupted life for millions of people, including many university students and scholars,” said Ani Kokobobo, associate professor and chair of the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Languages & Literatures. “In the coming months, Ukrainian higher education will need support and help to survive, resettle and rebuild. A number of my immediate colleagues have relatives in areas that have been under attack in Ukraine, and it has been a significant comfort to them that so many of our colleagues at KU have engaged collectively to aid and support both Ukrainians at KU and those courageously remaining in Ukraine.”

The University noted that it launched a campaign to support Ukrainian scholars in April. It said the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Languages, along with KU International Affairs and the KU Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies has set up a dedicated fund in the International Affairs office.

According to KU, this effort is connected to an unfolding partnership with the Kyiv National Economic University, which has worked with the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science to establish Ukrainian Global University - an emerging association of higher education institutions in Ukraine that will identify needs and host opportunities for displaced students and scholars.

KU said donations to this fund will enable it to support Ukrainian students at the university and allow it to host displaced Ukrainian scholars and students. It said the Office of Research and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have both matched those funds which have enabled it to host two visiting professors for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Additionally, it said Graduate Studies and the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Languages and Literatures will offer two fellowships and two graduate teaching assistantships for a 1-year accelerated master’s degree in Slavic languages and literature with a special concentration in Russian, East European and Eurasian students to students from Ukraine.

The University noted that the program will offer visa support to students, as well as health insurance, tuition and a living stipend.

Since March, KU said its International Support Services has also been in regular contact with the university’s Ukrainian students and has advised on immigration matters and provided guidance on financial support, as well as directed them to other campus resources. It said the units which comprise International Affairs have also worked to secure financial resources to support these students who may be unable to return home or face significant financial difficulties due to the war.

KU said additional support has been leveraged for each currently enrolled Ukrainian undergraduate student to support their expenses for the remainder of the 2022 academic year. It said the financial aid was possible through support from the Institute of International Education, the KU International Affairs Advisory Board and KU International Affairs, as well as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Schools of Business and Engineering.

The University also said it has a strong Ukrainian tradition and has offered courses on Ukrainian languages and culture for many years, along with being home to many Ukrainian scholars and students. It said it is one of the few U.S. institutions with a Slavic department with two full-time tenured faculty members who are specialists in Ukrainian studies.

KU said faculty in the departments have shared their knowledge and expertise with members of the national, regional and local media which have enabled more nuanced coverage of the conflict.

KU also noted it has played a key role in providing space for the local and regional communities to process the war. In early March, it said several KU units sponsored a teach-in and panel discussion about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its significance. On April 18, it said units from across the Lawrence campus hosted a night of personal stories, poetry, theater performance and music to show support for Ukrainians at home and abroad.

“As difficult as it is to see the devastating war in Ukraine unfold, it is important that we not sit idly by,” said Charles Bankart, senior internationalization officer for KU. “We can and are making a difference. This war deeply affects us all, not just our many Ukrainian Jayhawks here and around the world, and Russia’s invasion goes against everything we stand for as a community. Working together to support Ukraine in their time of greatest need is our responsibility, and I am proud of how our community has come together. We sincerely hope for a quick end to this senseless war and a restoration of peace. In the meantime, we will continue our efforts to support our Ukrainian students and scholars.”

To donate to the KU Ukrainian scholars fund, click HERE.

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