MRU Rector Žalėnienė Presented to EWORA's Board Ukraine's Academic Community Situation During War & Need for Assistance - MRU

17 October, 2022
MRU Rector Žalėnienė Presented to EWORA’s Board Ukraine’s Academic Community Situation During War & Need for Assistance
Faculty of Public Governance and Business

Oct. 14th-16th, Mykolas Romeris University (MRU) Rector Prof. Inga Žalėnienė, who is a member of the Board of Directors of the European Women Rectors Association (EWORA), and coordinates the Association’s assistance to Ukrainian universities, presented the most important problems and needs of Ukrainian higher education institutions at the meeting of the Board of Directors held in Berlin.

In June, at the Rector’s initiative, a remote online meeting was organized with the heads of Ukrainian universities. They were asked what kind of support the Ukrainian academic community needs the most during wartime conditions.

Summarizing information already provided by the Ukrainians, Rector Prof. Žalėnienė noted that Russian aggressors bombed 1,748 educational institutions of which 748 were completely destroyed. There were 34 higher educational institutions – institutes, universities and academies that were moved to safer places including 42 colleges and 65 other structural units. This process continues, but many students and lecturers who have scattered throughout the country or moved abroad, do not have the conditions to continue the studies process even remotely. Both students and lecturers, especially those in Russian-occupied territories, experience great psychological stress, financial deprivation and in many cases, do not have the opportunity to continue their studies and research work even remotely as many have lost their homes and their means of subsistence.

“In war conditions, it is difficult to create a safe study and research environment, to motivate students and have lecturers return to work. Today, the most important thing is to help people,” emphasized the MRU Rector.

“People who daily experience the horrors of war and grieve over the painful loss of their loved ones, first of all care about how to save lives, get medical attention and other necessary help,” said Rector Prof. Žalėnienė. They psychological trauma of war will have long-term consequences, we must help them survive and provide not only humanitarian, but also psychological aid, create conditions for academic staff and students to find employment in European research institutions, learn foreign languages and continue their studies.”

At the meeting of the Association’s Board of Directors, MRU Rector Žalėnienė shared the experience of the MRU academic community’s support for Ukrainians. After the start of the War, about 200 war refugees were housed in MRU dormitories. This year 100 new students were accepted to study for free. Ukrainians studying at MRU and working are offered incentive scholarships, humanitarian, social and other necessary support from funds donated by the MRU community and other financial sources.

The Association’s Board of Directors decided to continue a survey of Ukrainian Rectors in order to identify the most important needs and to further prepare a package of further support measures. Rector Prof. Žalėnienė was chosen to lead the session dedicated to the Ukrainian issue. It is expected to be held at the Association’s upcoming conference in Istanbul in May.

EWORA President Gulsun Saglamer (Turkey) and Vice-President Carmen Fenoll (Spain) at the meeting of the Association’s board presented activities of the Association. There were discussions about future activities and the situation of Gender Equality in each of the countries that are represented in the Association, was discussed.

In 2015, EWORA was established in Brussels to promote women’s leadership and the implementation of equal opportunity policy, as well as scientific research in the academic sector and the dissemination of good practices in the international academic community.