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A collective of Durham University members and Zaporizhzhia National University members on a Zoom call

We have all been deeply concerned and affected by the war taking place in Ukraine. We are an international university, committed to social responsibility and democratic values.

We have responded to the war in a number of ways, including fundraising activities, student-led vigils and supporting Ukrainian students and scholars.

Twinning partnership

Now we’re taking that one step further, by twinning with Zaporizhzhia National University (ZNU), in Ukraine.

This is part of a national twinning scheme. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed at an online national event on Tuesday 28 June, and a follow-up meeting took place between our Vice-Chancellor Professor Karen O’Brien and ZNU’s First Vice-Rector, Professor Oleksandr Bondar, on Wednesday 29 June.

Our partners in Ukraine

ZNU is located in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast region in the Southeast of Ukraine, 25 miles away from the current conflict zone.

The university includes 12 faculties with around 17,000 students and 2,000 academic and professional service staff. They have moved to online teaching and staff continue to deliver lectures remotely from Zaporizhzhia and from other locations both within and outside of Ukraine. The university has also absorbed at least two universities from the east of Ukraine in areas that have been occupied by Russia.

Protected by two substantial rivers, the city of Zaporizhzhia is playing host to many displaced people and the university is acting as a humanitarian hub for the distribution of aid. 

National scheme

The twinning scheme aims to mitigate the impacts of the conflict by offering tangible support to Ukrainian universities, both in the short term, but also in the long term as the country’s universities look to rebuild.

The scheme was announced by Universities UK International and the Cormack consultancy Group in April, and so far, a total of 71 partnerships have been formed. The partnerships will enable Ukrainian staff and students to access additional support from both the UK and Ukrainian Higher Education systems.

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