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Polish and Ukrainian universities work together!

A delegation headed by the Rector of AMU, Professor Bogumiła Kaniewska, participated in the conference 'European and Ukrainian Universities Cooperation: state of play and future perspectives', held on 13 April at the University of Strasbourg.

Representatives of European universities, including AMU, Warsaw University of Technology and the University of Gdansk, met with rectors of 15 Ukrainian universities. It was the first meeting of its kind, combining several stakeholder circles: state authorities, parliament, the European Commission, Ukrainian universities and alliances of European universities.

The event was held under the auspices of Ms Ewa Kopacz, Prime Minister 2014 - 2015 and Vice President of the European Parliament. The organisers of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange co-sponsored meeting were Adam Mickiewicz University and the University of Strasbourg, as partner universities of the EPICUR consortium. The Deputy Minister of Education and Schooling of Ukraine, Mikhailo Vynnyckyj, and the Deputy Minister of Education of the Czech Republic, Jiri Nantl, also joined the event.

- Given the challenges of modernisation of the Ukrainian education system and its reconstruction before the country accedes to the European Union, we wish to share our experience of two decades ago," said Professor Bogumiła Kaniewska. The Rector of Adam Mickiewicz University also mentioned the activities undertaken by Poznań University to support our neighbours: - Almost 1,000 people from Ukraine could experience various aspects of a modern university in a safe environment in Poznań. We were supported in these activities by, among others, the University of Strasbourg and the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder. Through efforts, we have built an informal network with dozens of Ukrainian universities. In addition, we organised in Poznań the first meeting of Ukrainian vice-rectors responsible for international cooperation, who set up their national commission in Poznań,' said Prof Bogumiła Kaniewska. - Poland and Ukraine coexisted for centuries as regions of the same state. Our two nations experienced bloody persecution at the hands of Russia. We share so many similarities in mentality and language. That is why all Polish universities have supported and continue to support our Ukrainian friends. And we do this because, in Poland, we understand the meaning of the word 'Solidarity'," emphasised the Rector of Adam Mickiewicz University, concluding her speech.

Representatives of European university alliances (Euniwell, Sea-EU, EC2U, ENHANCE, CIVICA) presented examples of good practices which universities undertake to help Ukrainian universities.

Rectors of Ukrainian universities acquainted the meeting participants with the most pressing problems of the Ukrainian education system. In turn, representatives of two European Commission directorates (DG EAC and DG NEAR) responsible for financing cooperation projects presented the latest instruments for funding scientific and academic cooperation with Ukraine within the framework of the EUR 50 million aid package for Ukraine approved by the European Parliament.

The AMU Vice-Rector for International Cooperation, Prof. Rafał Witkowski, introduced the final document: "Statement of Strategic Partnership", which was accepted by everyone. It is an appeal to the European Commission for financial support for alliances of European universities and other European universities, that are already involved in cooperation and assistance to Ukrainian universities.

Photo credit: AMU Vice-Rector for International Cooperation, prof. Rafał Witkowski