Messages from the President on the Situation in Ukraine
Statement from March 14th, 2022
A little more than two weeks after the outbreak of war in Ukraine by the Russian regime, our emotions remain strong and our solidarity with the Ukrainian people is intact.
After having ensured that no members of Sorbonne University were in Ukraine and Belarus, the institution’s first emergency action was to contact the people of our community that were on an international exchange in Russia. We asked them to contact the French Embassy and to leave the country without delay. Although most of the people concerned have now returned, I am issuing a final appeal to those who are still in Russia to leave the country.
Following the decisions taken by the member states of the European Union, Sorbonne University has suspended its cooperation with Russia. This measure concerns all institutional cooperation, academic exchange agreements and double-diploma, international missions, projects and joint seminars. For our multisecular university, open to the world and attached to the sharing of knowledge, we hope that this suspension will only be a parenthesis.
This conflict on European soil also has immediate social and economic impacts in France. Students and colleagues of Sorbonne University affected by this conflict, whatever their nationality, can apply for emergency aid, medical aid and help listed on the front page of our website, where a list of frequently asked questions is regularly updated.
Requests to host Ukrainian researchers in exile within the framework of the national PAUSE program can be sent to Ukraine-programme-PAUSE@sorbonne-universite.fr. These requests will be studied in consultation with the faculties to ensure that the University can accommodate and support them.
A call for donations will soon be launched by the Sorbonne University Foundation in order to contribute to emergency aid for Sorbonne University students affected by the conflict and to facilitate the implementation of support programs such as the national PAUSE program.
Consultations are also underway with the public authorities and our partners to evaluate the additional modalities to accept impacted students and researchers to education and research programs in the next academic year, depending on the evolution of the situation in Ukraine. Sorbonne University is asking for the allocation of dedicated resources and procedures, as well as guarantees that courses taken will be recognised by French and European institutions.
Finally, I would like to express my confidence in the values of peace and academic freedom in our community. In solidarity with our Ukrainian colleagues, we also support the Russian scientists who are opposed to this war, some of whom have shown exemplary courage in calling for an immediate halt to all acts of war directed against Ukraine. In this difficult situation, no form of discrimination or intimidation against Russian citizens of our community will be tolerated; let us show solidarity.
This crisis requires reactivity, firmness, but also discernment in order to prepare relevant responses in the medium and long term. The discussions held with the French universities of Udice, the European universities that are members of 4EU+ and LERU, and several representatives of Canadian universities, attest to a widely shared perception of geopolitical developments, international partnerships and the challenge of disseminating knowledge. Therefore, I will soon be inviting all members of our community to contribute their scientific expertise in the structural changes that this conflict will bring about in Europe and in the world.
Together, let us keep our eyes to the future and let the voice of the scientific community of Sorbonne University be heard.
Statement from February 28th, 2022
In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, February 24 and on behalf of our entire community and alongside all members of the 4EU+ Alliance, Sorbonne University expresses its solidarity with the Ukrainian people and in particular with the Ukrainian scientific community and Ukrainian students.
In this context marked by concern and uncertainty, I would first like to confirm that there are no Sorbonne University students or staff in Ukraine.
I would also like to reaffirm our full support to the students and faculty members currently studying or working in Russia. To date, the members of our community affected by this situation have been identified by the administration, with responses provided and actions taken on a case-by-case basis.
On Sunday February 27, the European Union made the decision to close European airspace to Russian aircraft and airlines. As a result, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) has recommended that French nationals travelling through Russia leave the country without delay. I urge all members of our community to follow these recommendations and to postpone all travel to Russia.
With the rapid deterioration of the current situation in Russia and Ukraine, I call for the utmost vigilance and responsibility on the part of everyone to take any necessary measures quickly. I also invite you to consult the regularly updated information on the French Embassy’s website.
At this difficult time, the university is fully mobilized to provide assistance to any students and staff of Sorbonne University affected by this conflict, in particular via the emergency assistance and psychological support services offered by our institution.
Alongside the partner universities of the 4EU+ Alliance, we are monitoring the situation on a daily basis in order to support the members of the Ukrainian scientific community and Ukrainian students who are displaced in border countries.
This conflict must in no way undermine academic freedom or the advancement of scientific knowledge. I know that I can count on the support of our community, and especially our members whose research focuses on these geographical areas.
Together, we look to the future with hope for peace and freedom.
President of Sorbonne University