Business Schools Stand With Ukraine

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Monday, March 7, 2022
By AACSB Staff
Kozminski University students help collect goods for Ukrainian refugees. (Courtesy of Kozminski University)
European universities and business schools have been quick to offer aid to Ukraine. Here’s a look at the efforts of six schools.
  • Kozminski University in Warsaw spurred to action to help get relief to refugees from neighboring Ukraine.
  • Business students have taken an active role in fundraising and organizing housing, food, and clothing for refugees.
  • Several schools are providing safe environments and financial support for refugees' continued study and research efforts.

Business schools throughout Europe have expressed support for Ukraine following the February 24 invasion by Russian troops. Schools are looking for ways to ease the struggles of their Ukrainian staff and students while collecting donations for war victims. They are also inviting their stakeholders to join them in humanitarian efforts.

One of the first to respond to the crisis was Kozminski University (KU), a business school in Warsaw, Poland. Grzegorz Mazurek, rector of the school, wrote, “We stand in solidarity with the entire Ukrainian people, in particular with our employees, students, and alumni from Ukraine, their families and loved ones. I assure all employees and students of Kozminski University who came to us from Ukraine that we will do our best to take care of you.”

KU has undertaken a number of initiatives to fulfill that promise. For instance, it worked with the Ukrainian House in Warsaw to set up a support center for refugees. In the first days of the war, the school aided 340 Ukrainian families with the help of more than 1,300 volunteers, including students. Faculty members conducted activities directly supporting refugees on the Polish-Ukrainian border, and the KU Legal Office staff began legalizing the stay of the school’s Ukrainian employees and families in Poland.

In the first days of the war, KU aided 340 Ukrainian families with the help of more than 1,300 volunteers, including students. 

On February 25, the school launched a fundraising campaign co-organized by the KU student council, and students recorded a video to promote it. In its first three days, the campaign raised more than 9,000 USD, which will support Ukrainian students, alumni, and staff. The student council also began collecting pledges from KU students willing to donate blood for those fighting in Ukraine.

In addition, the school has looked for ways to share information. KU faculty have organized online seminars about international law as it pertains to the invasion, and they have joined media debates to share their knowledge, comment on the situation, and predict the possible consequences.

Solidarity Across Europe

Other schools also have been quick to offer aid:

Riga Business School (RBS) has committed to providing potential and current Ukrainian students in Latvia with a safe and uninterrupted study environment. It plans to cooperate with its counterpart schools in Ukraine to help them deliver instruction to their students wherever they are.

RBS also is offering support to other organizations that are providing aid to Ukraine. One is Riga Technical University, which has invited PhD students at partner universities in the Ukraine to continue their research work. Another is an information platform that welcomes Ukrainians relocating to Latvia by providing detailed information about what documentation is required, how to connect to aid organizations, how to receive medical attention, and more. The platform is managed by TechChill, a nonprofit aimed at helping Latvian and Baltic startups.

■ Budapest Business School (BBS) in Hungary is providing comprehensive financial and mental health support to its students affected by the war. Students who are Ukrainian or hold dual citizenship will be exempt from paying tuition fees for the spring 2022 academic semester, and these students will have the opportunity to receive one-time scholarships of up to 300,000 HUF per semester (approximately 827 USD). The university will provide internship locations to students who are in the process of completing their studies and will exempt these students from paying dormitory fees during the 2022 academic semester. The school also is offering mental health counseling in Hungarian and English for Ukrainian students.

In addition, BBS has joined with several other universities to participate in the fundraising campaign organized by the National Conference of Student Councils. The website calls for donations of durable foods, toiletries, cleaning agents, clothes, blankets, over-the-counter medicines, and items like batteries and flashlights.

BBS has joined with several other universities to participate in the fundraising campaign organized by the National Conference of Student Councils. 

■ ESMT Berlin is coordinating with Ukrainian students and staff members to provide humanitarian aid. For instance, a group of ESMT students is cooperating with Feine Ukraine, an NGO working on the ground to collect donations and funds, organize the reception of refugees, and provide medical supplies. Additionally, ESMT employees are collecting donated articles internally to be delivered to Ukraine Hilfe Berlin, a group of professional Ukrainians and Germans working to support war victims.

■ ESCP Business School has launched ESCP4U (USCP for Ukraine). The tuition-free program will support five Ukrainian refugees on each of the school’s campuses in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Turin, and Warsaw. ESCP faculty will train participants in European management, cultures, and languages, while professors, alumni, and student volunteers will offer additional coaching. The program is aimed at higher education students and professionals, with the goal of enabling them to work or set up businesses in their new host countries. ESCP also is raising funds to provide scholarships for Ukrainian students to join the school’s bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.

According Léon Laulusa, dean for academic and international affairs and ESCP4U project leader, “No one knows how long the war in Ukraine will keep these refugees away from their country. Whether they stay in our European countries for several years or are able to return home quickly, the acquisition of new skills and knowledge will allow them to remain competitive in the employment market.”

■ Copenhagen Business School (CBS) has joined seven universities in Denmark to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and suspend all cooperation with Russian and Belarusian institutional partners on research and education. For CBS, this primarily means a suspension of all formal institutional collaborations with three universities. The school is also providing a list of established organizations where students and staff can provide donations, and it has made a list of researchers available to media looking for experts to discuss aspects of the war.

‘We Appeal for Peace’

Like its member schools, AACSB has announced it stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Caryn Beck-Dudley, president and CEO of AACSB, spoke for the association as she said, “We recall with fondness the valuable personal relationships that supersede military conflicts and express our support and compassion to everyone in the region during this very difficult time. We hope for peace throughout the world and stand firm in our commitment to elevate the role of business education for a stronger society.”

Her words are echoed by Mazurek of Kozminski University, who said, “We appeal for peace in Europe, for wise and effective actions of politicians, and only necessary activity of military forces involved in the conflict, which will serve the general sense of justice, minimizing human, material and moral losses. Wars are not for ordinary people, for whom they bring only unbearable suffering.”

The views expressed by contributors to AACSB Insights do not represent an official position of AACSB, unless clearly stated.
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