International Forum UDICE 2023: Results and Prospects

On June 7, 2023, the delegation of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, consisting of Rector Volodymyr Bugrov and Vice-Rector for International Cooperation Kseniia Smyrnova, took part in the second session of the UDICE International Forum.

What is the UDICE International Forum?

UDICE is a group of 10 leading French research universities that share common values in public service, societal transformation, building innovation ecosystems, improving higher education and research. The first session of the forum took place at the Aix-Marseille University in March 2022.

This year, the forum was held at the Sorbonne University, where the key topic for discussion was international cooperation in the era of global challenges.

Speakers from France, Germany, Scotland, Norway, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Latvia exchanged experiences, opinions and ideas about the past and future in the field of international cooperation, focusing on such areas as:

  • science diplomacy and research security.
  • respond to the crisis and prospects for rebuilding Ukraine.
  • European alliances: cooperation and unity.

One of the central issues of the forum was the war in Ukraine, its negative consequences on the education system, as well as ways to overcome them.

Pierre Heilbronn, the Special Envoy of the President of France for Ukraine’s Relief and Reconstruction, emphasized the devastating impact of the war on individual Ukrainian universities and scientific infrastructure. He also emphasized the significant efforts of the European community to help as many students and scholars affected by the war as possible. Pierre Heilbronn emphasized the crucial role of higher education and scientific research in the future reconstruction of the country.

Rector Volodymyr Bugrov addressed the participants of the forum, telling the inspiring story of the university’s work in wartime, noting: “Education is a front without shots. However, it also requires extraordinary efforts and unlimited responsibility.” In addition, Volodymyr Bugrov raised the important issue of restoring Ukrainian universities affected by the war, as well as the role of European partners in the development of education in Ukraine after the victory.

Rector Bugrov noted that countering the phenomenon of “brain drain” remains a priority for Ukraine. The key task is to return Ukrainian scientists and Ukrainian youth home. He also emphasized the importance of creating joint projects and conducting joint research with European partners in the fields of radiation safety, ecology, geology, hydrology, meteorology, international law, international economic relations, digital diplomacy, as well as the implementation of double degree programs.

“Thanks to the exchange of ideas, the mobility of students and researchers, the collective discussion of issues of our mutual interests, international cooperation between institutions of higher education strengthens the ties between the nations, promotes communication at the global level and affirms the values of democracy, free and unhindered expression of views, equality, inclusiveness and respect for the rule of law – even in regions where these values may be questioned. In places where the enemy uses brute force, we use critical thinking and synergy to win and rebuild effectively,” the rector said.

During the forum the number of programmes were presented. Namely, the French support program PAUSE, which aims to help Ukrainian scientists and artists, the program of events from the Campus France Agency, which helps Ukrainian students who want to enter French universities, as well as local initiatives from the Cité Universitaire Internationale de Paris.

The UDICE 2023 International Forum became another symbol of Europe’s support for the Ukrainian scientific community, demonstrating prospects for the implementation of future projects and initiatives at the international level.