A Creative Vision for Ukraine

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Tuesday, May 31, 2022
By Iryna Tykhomyrova, Timothy Mescon
Photo by iStock/Red Diamond
MIM-Kyiv has launched a lecture series with a profound objective—to support Ukraine during war and to inspire the nation’s successful postwar recovery.
  • With its physical facilities closed, MIM-Kyiv seeks ways to continue its programming to support its students and to guide and inspire the Ukrainian business community.
  • The school has launched Reinforce UA as a forum where its students, faculty, and members of the international community can come together to share ideas that generate societal impact.
  • Only through collaboration and cooperation can scholars, business leaders, policymakers, and others achieve peace and create a world where they want to live.

In May, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky held an hourlong video conference with members of the Association of American Universities (AUU). During the call, he implored U.S. universities to help Ukrainian universities rebound from war.  

“We can’t lose the power of youth, the power and energy of young people, without which we can have no future and we cannot create anything,” he told AAU members.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has dramatically changed the country’s landscape for business and business education. One of the top priorities of the International Institute of Management’s MIM Business School in Kyiv (MIM-Kyiv) is to restore Ukraine’s institutions and fulfill Zelensky’s vision. Its faculty hope to tap the collective energy of people, in Ukraine and abroad, to reinforce the wartime economy and prepare for the after-war revival.

With MIM-Kyiv’s physical campus facilities severely damaged, its faculty and administrators are doing everything they can to continue to deliver academic programming. Their efforts include working with an international network of partners to launch Reinforce UA: MIM Global Knowledge Hub, an online series of lectures focused on societal, economic, and business issues that are most urgent for the Ukrainian business community. Starting June 16, the school will begin to deliver these lectures, each about 40 minutes long, every Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. Kyiv time (2:00 a.m. Eastern).

With Reinforce UA, MIM-Kyiv’s faculty have embraced two of the five forces identified by AACSB as drivers of business education’s future: building partnerships to remain relevant, valued, and competitive; and leveraging digital transformation. Moreover, the school community has worked to reinforce outcomes that build positive societal impact.

Project coordinators hope the Knowledge Hub will become an international forum that not only will provide intellectual support to businesses, but also will help organize and promote managerial and humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. The objective is to inspire the country’s business community as it works toward a postwar recovery.

Speakers With Vision

Drawing on its global partnerships, MIM-Kyiv has invited distinguished international businesspeople, entrepreneurs, managers, professors, researchers, experts, and authors to deliver online lectures in their areas of expertise. All Reinforce UA speakers donate their expertise and time to deliver one lecture on a topic related to rebuilding Ukraine.

Upcoming lectures, for example, include one by Max Levchin, a Ukrainian-American and co-founder of PayPal, whose talk will explore making Ukraine an IT hub in Eastern Europe; and one by Israeli historian Yuval Harari on viewing this time in history as a turning point for Ukrainian society. Future lectures will address issues such as improving state policies, strengthening social institutions, eliminating Soviet-era legacies, and promoting global peacekeeping to address future challenges and crises.

While Reinforce UA is focused on topics of immediate interest in the Ukraine, the issues the lectures address will be relevant for the whole of humanity.

Above all, project coordinators want Reinforce UA speakers to be eager to use their knowledge, skills, and creative vision to help Ukraine modernize its economy and improve its citizens’ standards of living. That said, while the project is focused on topics of immediate interest in the Ukraine, the issues the lectures address will be relevant for the whole of humanity.

Once the conflict is over, speakers eventually will be able to deliver their Reinforce UA lectures in person in Kyiv or other Ukrainian cities, as well as at MIM-Kyiv’s Facing the Future Forum. The school also plans to invite some speakers to serve on a dedicated board of advisors. In that capacity, they can continue to provide consultative and supervisory support for school initiatives designed to inspire local businesses and civil organizations.

Resources for Rebuilding

Reinforce UA is intended to become a resource that will be even more valuable over the long term, as it helps Ukrainians think beyond the crisis and move toward rebuilding their nation. The objective is to create a meaningful forum where engaged stakeholders come together to generate and validate ideas that are useful not only to Ukraine, but also to communities around the world recovering after crisis. 

The school will store lecture recordings in an electronic library of intellectual contributions, which all participants can use. Over time, the hope is that thousands of entrepreneurs, executives, opinion leaders, students, and educators from around the world will access Reinforce UA webinars and other materials on the platform.

MIM-Kyiv’s faculty also plan to integrate video excerpts and other materials from the series into their teaching. In this way, Reinforce UA content will be used extensively across the school’s degree and executive education programs.

A Call to Action

The Reinforce UA platform has only just launched, and the school is still inviting support from the global business education community. While Ukrainians can register for Reinforce UA lectures for free, non-Ukrainians are asked to pay at least a minimum entry fee of 5 USD/EUR/CHF/GBP. MIM-Kyiv will donate that money to Ukrainian humanitarian projects. The school also will secure access for non-Ukrainians who are striving to reinforce and revive the national economy.

The school’s global partners, which include other higher education institutions and organizations that support global higher education, are contributing funds and endorsing MIM-Kyiv’s efforts to finance the project. In addition, these partners are recommending potential speakers and promoting the MIM Global Knowledge Hub through their information channels.

For the series to be successful, it must attract a global audience that can support Ukraine across various dimensions: humanitarian, economic, military, and environmental, just to name a few.

AACSB International is also providing financial support and subject matter expertise for the project, and MIM-Kyiv has engaged in outreach regarding the initiative on the AACSB Exchange and member forums. There are several other ways that AACSB members can support this important and timely initiative:

  • By recommending distinguished lecturers willing to donate their time and efforts.
  • By providing financial support.
  • By spreading the word about the initiative.
  • By participating directly in its forums.

The school welcomes additional financial contributions to help ensure smooth digital delivery of the series and to reach as many stakeholders as possible, both in Ukraine and around the world. Any donations beyond what is needed to support the series will be used to finance initiatives and research with societal impact. The school will regularly update participants on the progress of these projects on the Reinforce UA website.

An Inspirational Purpose

Reinforce UA’s success depends on its ability to attract top thinkers, experts, and practitioners across various areas and fields. But for the series to be truly successful, it also must attract a vast, global audience of participants who can support Ukraine across various dimensions: humanitarian, economic, military, and environmental, just to name a few. The greatest and most important objective of these lectures is to deliver inspiration to Ukraine’s citizens and to create a hopeful future for the nation.

During a time of extreme crisis, this initiative will help MIM-Kyiv fulfill its mission of “developing business leaders and facilitating organizational transformation for consistent growth of Ukraine’s competitiveness.” It is also a way for members of the global community to reach a deeper collective understanding of what they must do to achieve peace and create a world where they want to live.

For more information on how to support or participate in Reinforce UA, please visit its website or send an email to its coordinators.

Iryna Tykhomyrova
President, MIM Business School, International Institute of Management
Timothy Mescon
Senior Vice President and Chief Officer, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, AACSB International
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