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Signing ceremony confirms ‘twinning’ partnership between Cardiff Met and Ukrainian university

Cardiff Metropolitan University Supporting Ukraine Logo

Cardiff Metropolitan University has today confirmed a twinning partnership with a Ukrainian University, as the UK Higher Education sector offers vital support to Ukrainian staff and students.

Today’s ceremony has confirmed 71 partnerships between UK and Ukrainian universities are now in place, with eight more nearing formal agreement, facilitating the sharing of resources and support in a collective gesture of solidarity and reciprocity to help Ukrainian institutions, staff and students.

The scheme has generated huge support since its recent launch by the Cormack Consultancy Group and Universities UK International with UK universities partnering directly with their Ukrainian counterparts for a minimum of five years.

In further confirmation of the impact of the scheme, the signing ceremony – on Ukrainian Constitution Day - comes as the UK government announced £190,000 of financial assistance to establish and support the twinning initiative.

Cardiff Met’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Cara Aitchison, and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Rachael Langford, joined more than 200 fellow academics and university leaders to celebrate the ground-breaking university ‘twinning’ scheme between the UK and Ukraine at the event, where 24 institutions signed a formal partnership.

The partnerships will provide a wide range of practical assistance through:

  • Helping to physically rebuild campuses of Ukrainian universities that have been damaged and destroyed.
  • Mutually recognising credits so that English-speaking Ukrainian students can take online courses from UK universities that count towards their final degree.
  • Allowing Ukrainian teaching and research to continue in UK laboratories and classrooms where their own facilities were destroyed or damaged.
  • Facilitating the sharing of academic resources such as libraries and technical equipment.
  • Preserving Ukrainian archives in UK institutions; facilitating more cultural and language exchange opportunities.
  • Sharing mental health support – particularly for Ukrainian staff and students suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to conflict.
  • Allowing Ukrainian students to ‘catch-up’ on the learning they have missed at summer schools hosted in UK institutions.

Today’s agreement adds to the partnerships in place and ongoing work at Cardiff Met to support colleagues and students in Ukraine.

  • Cardiff Met has been working in partnership with researchers at Lviv National Academy of Art in Ukraine, engaging in the Creative Spark collaborative research project funded by the British Council. Academics at Lviv are currently supporting their displaced partners from Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Arts in eastern Ukraine following destruction in the latter city, with Cardiff Met pledging support for both institutions.
  • Cardiff Met’s first postgraduate Sanctuary Scholar came from Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine after the 2014 Russian invasion and recently graduated with a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is now teaching refugees in South Wales.
  • In March Cardiff Met pledged £400,000 over the next two years in Fellowships and Scholarships, as well as a wider variety of projects including accommodation for those fleeing Ukraine.
  • Cardiff Met is organising for the athletes and coaches of the Ukrainian national sprint relay team to come to train on campus with our staff at the biomechanics specialists at Cardiff Met Speed Hub.

Professor Cara Aitchison, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University, who is also Chair of the Universities Wales Ukraine HE Sector Group in Wales, said: 

“At Cardiff Met we stand alongside our colleagues from HE institutions across the country in condemning Russia’s unprovoked attack and illegal occupation of Ukraine.

The signing of the twinning agreement today with H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University (Skovoroda University) is an important outward demonstration of our support and we look forward to playing our part in the peace-building in Ukraine.

Today’s agreement will enable Ukranian academic and students to continue their education, despite the horrific circumstances.

“As Wales’ first University of Sanctuary, Cardiff Met is committed to playing our part in not only helping the post-war recovery of education in Ukraine, but also working closely with the Council for At-Risk Academics to offer appropriate sanctuary and support for Ukrainian academics and students at this extremely testing time.”

The twinning scheme will help prevent ‘brain drain’ and ensure Ukraine’s universities not only survive but emerge stronger from the war, allowing them to play a critical role in post-war reconstruction.