The twinning initiative which led to a partnership between the University of Hull and Mariupol State University, Ukraine, marks a year today.
Supported by Universities UK International, the #twinforhope initiative is a partnership framework to support Ukrainian higher education, both through short-term aid and long-term activities that help sustain and rebuild Ukrainian universities, the economy and society.
The two universities – Hull and MSU – set up the formal agreement last year with plans to co-operate in student projects, teaching best-practice, and collaborative research.
Hilary Layton, Director of Global Engagement at the University of Hull, said: “Mariupol State University is a university in exile, and operating from a temporary base in Kyiv. It has great strength in Economics, Business, Education, and Computer Science, and we look forward to working closely on research and teaching in these areas.
“At Hull, we are strongly committed to social justice, and this valuable partnership reflects both our values, and our ambitions for a long and fruitful partnership with MSU.”
The University of Hull has since received a grant of over £39,000 for a range of support activity to enable research to continue at MSU. This will include bringing academic researchers together to discuss joint research projects, support MSU’s library development, and provide workshops for MSU’s PhD students.
Fundraising organised by the University of Hull raised nearly £15,000, which has been used by MSU to refurbish their student accommodation in Kyiv.
Hull tutors have also delivered bespoke English language sessions for PhD students, and there are plans for additional personal development and training.
The twinning agreement is part of a wider project to link UK universities with counterparts in Ukraine. MSU is one of only a very few Ukrainian universities whose campus has been destroyed, and the destruction of their city forced their removal to Kyiv.
Work has focused on assisting MSU to resume teaching their students at their new base in Kyiv, and refurbishing a building loaned to them by Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture.
MSU’s campus buildings in the city of Mariupol were almost completely destroyed. Staff and students of the University relocated to Kyiv, and elsewhere in Europe. Initially, MSU delivered teaching to about 60% of its students online.
Speaking at the announcement of the twinning, Professor Mykola Trofymenko, Rector at MSU, said: “Ukraine’s universities have a long and proud history, but right at this moment we need support and collaboration with colleagues in other countries.
“MSU has been particularly devastated – we are not in our campus buildings, we are not even in our home city.
“Our academic dreams remain, however, and I am eager to connect academic and professional staff, and – of course – our students. We will be working with Hull for many years to come.”