The Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs is working with the Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies Program (REEES), as well as other schools and units across the University, to launch several new initiatives that support students and scholars affected by the Russian war in Ukraine.
“Universities have a responsibility to support students and scholars affected by war and civil unrest, to provide thought leadership on this conflict and to continue to build institutional and research collaborations with those defending themselves against aggression,” said Northwestern Buffett Executive Director Annelise Riles. “We want to do what we can to support Ukraine’s intellectual sovereignty.”
Among the many initiatives, the Office of International Student & Scholar Services in Northwestern Buffett is partnering with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to support Ukrainians and other students affected by the war. The office also offers students, faculty, staff and scholars the resources to navigate immigration issues.
With the Office of the Provost, Northwestern Buffett has created a humanitarian fund for Northwestern students who cannot return to their homes for the summer term due to war or civil unrest in their home region, including but not limited to Ukraine. This summer, the fund will support living expenses for students in these circumstances.
To support internally displaced Ukrainian scholars, Northwestern Buffett now provides virtual visitorships. These grants offer the Northwestern community opportunities to interact with and learn from Ukrainian scholars, while in turn, providing scholars critical financial support to continue their scholarly work from the conflict zone. In addition, there are plans to connect Northwestern students and Ukrainian students in virtual classroom settings.
In March, Northwestern signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Kyiv School of Economics (KSE), one of Ukraine’s premier institutions of higher education. The MOU paves the way for Northwestern and KSE to collaborate in many areas, from conferences and visiting professorships to courses and joint research projects.
Northwestern political scientist Jordan Gans-Morse and KSE’s Tymofii Brik are surveying citizens of Ukraine to gather real-time data that will help explain the impact of war-time propaganda in a warzone.
Gans-Morse is the faculty director of REEES in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. And Brik serves as acting vice president of international affairs and head of sociological research at KSE.
“We have joined forces with Northwestern to leverage data on respondents’ social ties to understand how propaganda is affecting relationships between Ukrainians and their family and friends in Russia,” Brik said. “This research can have an important impact since social ties and social networks are a huge part of overall well-being.”
The MOU also supports the Ukrainian Global University project, an educational initiative launched by KSE and its partners to support Ukrainian students and academics during the war.
Northwestern Buffett, along with the Weinberg College and REEES, has hosted or co-sponsored numerous panel discussions that provide perspective from academic experts, former government officials and Ukrainian scholars. The events have considered diplomatic strategies, humanitarian aid, Russian censorship and propaganda, analyses of the Ukrainian and Russian militaries and the risk of nuclear confrontation.
Welcoming students from Ukraine
The Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and The Graduate School have admitted graduate students, with financial assistance, outside the usual application cycle.
Iryna Rekrut, a law student at Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv, received a full-tuition fellowship for the Master of Law program in international human rights at Northwestern Law. And members of the Law School community have gone the extra mile to help Rekrut settle in.
Mary Beth Busby, director of graduate and international program admissions, is hosting Rekrut for the year while Professor Kate Litvak is assisting in finding her a part-time job.
“Given the current circumstances, I’m thinking about how I could help the future of my country,” Rekrut said. “I want to become an expert in human rights law and use this knowledge for post-conflict Ukraine.”