Two Ukrainian students currently studying at Swansea University have attended a reception at the House of Lords, marking one year of a twinning partnership between universities in the UK and Ukraine.
Medical student Mariia Hryhorian and Business student Daryna Popova joined with other Ukrainian students, university vice-chancellors, parliamentarians and programme beneficiaries at the event to commemorate the anniversary of the landmark twinning partnership.
The twinning initiative was set up soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine by Universities UK International (UUKi) in partnership with Cormack Consultancy Group (CCG) and has resulted in approximately 90 partnerships to date, including one between Swansea University and Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University (PMBSNU) in Mykolaiv. These partnerships are supporting Ukrainian academics to continue vital teaching and research activities and some students with the opportunity to study abroad at a partner university.
The event featured speeches by Lord Jo Johnson and Jamie Arrowsmith, Director of UUKi, and presentations by staff and students from Ukrainian universities.
Mariia and Daryna are both from PMBSNU which has, to date, sent 20 students to study at Swansea University. Swansea University staff and students have undertaken a range of activities over the past year to support PMBSNU.
Mariia said: “I am grateful to Swansea University for this honour and for making this unforgettable experience possible. As a medical student from Ukraine, it was a dream come true to meet important figures and exchange ideas with fellow students. Programs like these are investments in the future of our country, as students are the ones who will develop our economy and rebuild our nation after the war.”
Daryna said: “It was very nice to receive an invitation to this event. But at the same time, we felt a great responsibility, because Mariia and I were representatives of Swansea University and our native PMBSNU and were responsible for all our students. It was very important for us to hear and once again feel all the support expressed by the UK towards our country.
“At this event, many students from other universities from Ukraine shared their stories, inspiring many guests of the event. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be present at such an event and represent our universities. I am grateful for what I received from this exchange program, and I believe that many more students will feel this unforgettable experience and will develop for our common future."
The University has taken part in a number of activities as part of the partnership agreement with PMBSNU. Students from the Faculty of Medicine, Health & Life Sciences have raised over £1000 towards providing material support for medical and other equipment and computer servers no longer used by the university have been cleansed of data and are being shipped to PMBSNU to help replace computer systems destroyed by bombing. The University looks forward to welcoming more students and staff in the coming academic year and to build on its partnership with PMBSNU.