New campaign launches to showcase links with Ukrainian universities

The #TwinForHope campaign has been launched by Universities UK in order to highlight how partnerships between UK and Ukrainian universities are making a positive difference during the humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The University of Manchester has twinned with the Ivan Horbachevsky Ternopil National Medical University in the west of the country in order to support medical students whose studies have been disrupted by the war. The university is providing academic support and training as well as sharing teaching and learning materials, and hopes to start providing elective clinical placements here in Manchester for their most senior students - the aim is to stabilise the pipeline of desperately-needed newly qualified doctors in the war-torn country.

These long-term twinning partnerships will provide vital support in the short term, so students can continue their studies, and researchers can carry on with their research. In the longer term, this collaboration will help the Ivan Horbachevsky Ternopil National Medical University to rebuild their campus and play an important role in the rebuilding of Ukraine.

“When the opportunity to support a fellow medical school came along via the UUK twinning scheme, we were keen to help,” said Professor Margaret Kingston, Director of Undergraduate Medical Studies at The University of Manchester. “It has meant an awful lot to colleagues in Ternopil to receive our support, as their main concern was losing their faculty and students.”

“They have lost many students and staff as people have left the country or joined the fighting, funds have been diverted and accommodation is housing displaced persons. Their request to us was to help them to continue delivering medical training so their supply of future doctors is maintained, and they do not suffer an even worse “brain drain” in addition to everything else.”

The university is also supporting Ukraine in other ways. In June, the University and the Ukrainian Student Society worked together to organise participation in a live question and answer session with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in which he thanked universities for their support and spoke of the deep historic links Ukraine has with British academia. There was such high demand for tickets that a second location had to be secured at extremely short notice to broadcast the session to students.

When the opportunity to support a fellow medical school came along via the UUK twinning scheme, we were keen to help.  It has meant an awful lot to colleagues in Ternopil to receive our support, as their main concern was losing their faculty and students.


Professor Margaret Kingston

A team of volunteer medics from UK-Med - a charity based at the university which provides healthcare assistance during humanitarian crises around the world – is currently working across Ukraine to provide care for the many people in need. The charity is also providing support and training for local healthcare staff, who are having to respond to situations far beyond anything they’ve ever dealt with before.

Soon after UK-Med launched their Ukraine Appeal, Joe Stafford from the university’s news and media relations team embarked on a marathon cycle ride in The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium to raise funds for the charity. He was able to raise over £3000 by riding 1600km in 14 days, as well as raising the profile of UK-Med by appearing in the media both here in the UK and in The Netherlands. 

An expert from the university is also helping Ukrainians by repurposing her research activities to create a system which provides a running account of atrocities taking place in the country. Working with colleagues in the USA, Dr Olga Onuch established the Data for Ukraine project which analyses Twitter data using machine-learning algorithms to highlight humanitarian needs, displaced people, civilian resistance and human rights violations. This is helping aid agencies to direct their resources, as well as permanently documenting abuses and atrocities in order for justice to be sought after the war ends.

Vivienne Stern MBE, Chief Executive, Universities UK said: “I’m really proud of the way that the UK university sector has stepped up to play its part in the global response to enabling Ukrainian universities to get through this war and hopefully emerge stronger.

For more information about the campaign, visit www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/twinforhope. 


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