Twinning Partnership with Zaporizhzhia National University, Ukraine
The war in Ukraine remains of immense concern to us all. As part of a large-scale twinning initiative, supported by Universities UK (UUK) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Education, we are twinned with Zaporizhzhia National University (ZNU).
ZNU is located in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast region in the Southeast of Ukraine, close to the centre of a current conflict zone.
The twinning scheme aims to provide tangible and collaborative support to Ukrainian universities, in the short and medium term and also in the long term as the country’s universities look to rebuild. The developing connection with ZNU also offers us both the opportunity to develop equitable research collaboration in specialist areas.
A Memorandum of Understanding between Durham and ZNU underpins our partnership and enables ZNU to access additional support from both the UK and Ukrainian HE systems.
Our twinned university, ZNU, has produced a video which you can watch here.
Research and Outreach
Over the past year, we have worked with ZNU on academic research and supported ZNU’s teaching, which is taking place remotely. We have run The Ukrainian Talk Series, a programme of public events involving panellists from ZNU, Durham and experts from the international community, hosted by Dr Markian Prokopvych from our History Department.
These hybrid events are designed to help reach out to local communities and to the Ukrainian refugee networks in the UK. Drawing on expertise from Durham, ZNU and other partners, these talks are informing the international community of the complexities of Ukraine’s history and providing opportunities to consider the global significance of the war in Eastern Europe.
With ZNU, we have discovered mutual interests in memory politics, post-conflict urban renewal, including financial implications, mental health, legal aspects of conflict, global justice and arbitration, and the challenges of internal displacement. Synergies are also developing between our Biosciences departments on crop production.
In March 2023, Universities UK International (UUKi) announced new funding to support twinning partnerships across the UK and Ukraine. Durham received £200,000 to further support our friends and colleagues at ZNU, which is supporting a range of pan-University research collaborations across law, history, geography, psychology, finance and biosciences over the summer. As part of the funding, postgraduate students and professors from ZNU will attend a summer school programme in Durham focusing on enhancing legal research, rebuilding leadership, oral history, urban recovery and mental health in times of war.
We are aware that there are displaced academics in the region, who are being supported through schemes such as Homes for Ukraine. The University has an Honorary and Visiting Titles Policy, under which Visiting Academics may be based at Durham University for a defined period, with access to the library and other resources.
ZNU continues to deliver hybrid and remote teaching and learning to their students, and our academics are connecting with colleagues at ZNU to share educational resources, best practice and expertise. Some examples include:
Departments of Biosciences and Chemistry – academics in these departments have shared their remote learning materials with colleagues at ZNU, helping them to continue to provide practical demonstrations to complement their own remote teaching.
Durham Law School has connected classrooms remotely to arrange mutual guest lectures for students from both universities. Academics from Durham and ZNU are also working together on research themes such as the law of investment in reconstruction, international law and post-conflict reconstruction.
Student Mobility Scheme
We are working on a student exchange scheme with ZNU, which will begin in October 2023, when we will welcome 10 ZNU students to Durham for our Michaelmas Term. These placements are offered on a short-term basis, for a period of up to three months, and are fully funded by Durham University.
We are also pleased to welcome ZNU PhD students currently located in the UK to find a temporary home on our campus. The first of these students is due to join our Faculty of Arts and Humanities during the Easter Term.
We are also working through a proposal for offering studentships to those fleeing conflict-affected countries, to enable them to finish their studies at Durham.
We are working together with ZNU to explore opportunities to connect professional services across both institutions, so we can share best practice in areas such as student wellbeing and support, Internationalisation and Student Governance. As part of this scheme, we will welcome friends and colleagues from ZNU to Durham to meet and spend time with their peers. The group will spend time on campus meeting colleagues, experiencing the historic sights and scenes Durham has to offer, and learning more about life at Durham University. Our friends and colleagues at ZNU are close to the active conflict zone in the Ukraine, and whilst here with us they will also be taking time to rest in a safe and restful environment.
The war in Ukraine remains of immense concern to us all. Today (March 29) marks the one-year anniversary of the UK-Ukraine Twinning Initiative, under which we are twinned with Ukrainian university Zaporizhzhia National University (ZNU).