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Ukraine Emergency: One Year On, How Is Sorbonne University And Its Foundation Supporting The Victims?

The Ukrainian conflict started a year ago, and tensions still run high. Sorbonne University and its Foundation are committed to helping the victims and stand in solidarity with our students, professors and staff, as well as all those directly or indirectly affected by the conflict.

Rapid support for victims

As early as February 2022, "the president of Sorbonne University quickly demonstrated the commitment of our institution and its solidarity with the Ukrainian people, its research community, but also Russian and Belarusian nationals who have been opposed to this war from the beginning," explains Guillaume Fiquet, vice president for international relations, territorial and socio-economic partnerships at Sorbonne University. Institutional cooperation between Sorbonne University and Russia has been suspended and special support measures have been activated.

Several financial and material aids, along with psychological support, have been set up for the student community affected by the war in Ukraine. These include emergency financial aid for unpaid rent, the extension of the €1 meal at the CROUS for students affected by the conflict, as well as the presence of psychologists on campus. An FAQ was quickly set up for everyone. It lists both the University's initiatives and other assistance services available in France.
These different systems do not discriminate amongst victims. Whether Russian or Ukrainian, the members of the Sorbonne University community are members of the same University with universal and humanist values, as the President of the University reminded us in a message sent on March 14, 2022: "In this difficult situation, no form of discrimination or intimidation towards the Russian nationals of our community can be tolerated: let us show solidarity.”


A fundraising campaign led by the Sorbonne University Foundation

The University's actions were also supported through its Foundation, which launched its Emergency Ukraine fundraising campaign at the beginning of March in order to support students, professors, researchers and staff affected by the conflict either directly or indirectly. Through this commitment, the Sorbonne University Foundation has thus reminded us that it shares the University's values of solidarity with conviction.

The Foundation's teams were very touched by the generosity of the public and the Sorbonne University community, with substantial donations such as that of the former AROSES association.

After several months of collection, the Foundation decided to transfer the funds to the PAUSE1 program of Sorbonne University last December. This program allows Ukrainian researchers in exile and their families to stay at the University for three months.


What happens now?

The conflict is not yet resolved, therefore Sorbonne University's support for the victims must continue.

The Ukrainian conflict also remains an important topic for the events organized by the University, which seeks to help society reflect and react to the issues at stake. A conference on political freedom led by Vakhtang Kebuladze and Oleksandra Matviïtchouk, as part of the Ukrainian Spring initiative, was held on February 24, 2023 in the Richelieu amphitheater of the Sorbonne, the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

The speakers were Vakhtang Kebuladze, a professor in the Department of Theoretical and Practical Philosophy at the Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv and Oleksandra Matviichuk, appointed to the United Nations Committee against Torture and awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. The speakers discussed the conditions for maintaining academic and intellectual life in a country at war as well as necessary reforms of the international system to protect people from wars and authoritarian regimes.

 1  PAUSE, National program for the urgent aid and reception of scientists in exile

About the Sorbonne University Foundation

The Sorbonne University Foundation works to develop concrete solutions to major societal issues and ensure the academic influence of Sorbonne University. Its actions attract top students and faculty both nationally and internationally, fully mobilize its community, including its graduates, and increase synergy with the economic world.

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