29 June 2022

Abertay twins with Ukrainian university to offer support to students and academics

Abertay and Kharkiv National University of Economics will work together on curriculum content, online resources and research

Abertay campus with Ukrainian flag overlayed

Abertay University has announced a new partnership with a university in Ukraine that aims to support students, academics and higher education leaders who have been affected by the ongoing war in the country.

The University has partnered with Kharkiv National University of Economics (KhNUE), the largest higher education institution specialising in economics in Eastern Ukraine. Together, the institutions will explore opportunities for teaching and research collaborations both in the short-term and into the future.

The areas of joint activity are outlined in a new Memorandum of Understanding signed by Abertay University Principal Professor Liz Bacon and Volodymyr Ponomarenko, Rector at KhNUE.

Professor Bacon said:

This partnership demonstrates our deep commitment to providing support to the people of Ukraine during this extremely difficult time. We’re in awe at the strength and resolve of staff and students at KhNUE who are determined to continue working and learning in the most challenging of circumstances. We hope that this twinning initiative will be the start of a meaningful relationship between Abertay and KhNUE and I look forward to supporting our Ukrainian colleagues to continue their operations and to the shared teaching and research benefits for both parties.

Since the start of the conflict in February, staff and students at KhNUE have been displaced from the main campus with university buildings suffering heavy damage as a result of bombing. Most staff and students have continued work and study remotely with many leaving Ukraine to seek refuge in nearby countries.

Volodymyr Ponomarenko, Rector at KhNUE, said:

No country in the world can exist without education. If there is no education, what do we fight for? Russia's military aggression against Ukraine has caused significant losses to the higher education system in Ukraine in general and specific universities, especially in the eastern regions of Ukraine. Our deepest gratitude for the support in such a difficult time, when the support of friends is especially needed. The twinning partnership, supported by the Cormack Consultancy Group, helped us to find Abertay University as a new friend. We hope this initiative will start the future fruitful cooperation between our universities.

Partnership work has already begun, and KhNUE Associate Professor Maksym Serpukhov recently held a public online lecture on the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, with many Abertay staff and students attending. Abertay's School of Business, Law and Social Sciences plans to reciprocate and will host a lecture on current trends in UK business which will be open to KhNUE staff and students and as well as the public.

Through the partnership, students and staff at KhNUE will have access to the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) and Jisc library resources and staff will also have access to Abertay’s suite of academic CPD resources via the Abertay Learning Enhancement (AbLE) Academy.

The partnership is part of a wider initiative that has seen more than 70 UK universities matched with a Ukrainian institution as part of a twinning initiative coordinated by Cormack Consultancy Group with the support of Universities UK.

Both organisations hosted a special signing ceremony yesterday (Tuesday 28 June 2022) to celebrate the twinning project so far. Melinda Simmons, UK Ambassador to Ukraine, was in attendance as was Olga Budnyk, Special Adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The date is significant as it marks Constitution Day in Ukraine, the anniversary of the approval by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's Parliament) of the country’s Constitution on 28 June 1996.

In addition to the partnership with KhNUE, Abertay is preparing to welcome students from across Ukraine to the University in September to continue their studies as part of the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme. The Scottish Government has previously announced that Ukrainian students coming to Scotland to study will be eligible for free tuition and living cost support.

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