Around 180 delegates from all over Europe are currently meeting at the University of Innsbruck: they are part of the Aurora University Network, of which the University of Innsbruck has been a member since 2019 and whose annual network meeting it is hosting this year. One thematic block of today's opening panel was dedicated to the joint activities of the Aurora universities in Ukraine, in particular with the National V.N. Karazin University Kharkiv. The University of Kharkiv is an Associate Partner of the Aurora European University Alliance, and its Rector Tetyana Kaganovska is currently also in Innsbruck and reported on the difficult situation in her city at the network meeting: "Right now we are going through its hardest survival moments since Ukrainian independence. I come bearing a witness of war, killing and displacement of my staff and students. In these moments, I am especially honored to be able to in-person represent our community of Kharkiv Karazin University from the East of Ukraine." In order to support the ongoing (online) operations of the University of Kharkiv, the Aurora universities have placed the focus of the joint "Capacity Development Support Programme" work package, which drives cooperation with Central and Eastern European universities, on supporting colleagues from and in Kharkiv and have set up a joint donation account. In this way, a total of around 51,000 euros could be generated as direct financial support for Kharkiv, which was handed over to Rector Kaganovska today. The work package and the acute aid for Kharkiv are led by the Palacky University Olomouc and supported by the Aurora Central Office in Amsterdam. People from Kharkiv who fled there are also now working in Olomouc.
Karasin University Kharkiv has around 28,000 staff and students in peacetime. "According to the QS rating, we are the best Ukrainian university, the country’s powerhhouse of educational and scientific resources. The University is the heart of Kharkiv, and it remains in Kharkiv, despite the city’s being shelled and numerous attempts of siege lasting for 77 days. We were able to shelter the University’s staff and students as best we could and launched the educational process remotely on the 33rd day of the war. Our teachers give lectures from basements and shelters, and those who have left the country - from different parts of the world," the Rector notes. "Unfortunately, there are irreparable losses in the University family. At least 17 people are known to have perished, among them 2 students, 5 professors and 10 alumni. And yet, we are fighting and actively planning the future University activities."
Call for donations:
The Aurora network currently gathered in Innsbruck consists of nine universities from all over Europe: University of Innsbruck (A), University of Iceland, Reykjavik (IS), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (NL), University of Duisburg-Essen (D), Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II (IT), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona, ES), Palacky University Olomouc (CZ), University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK) and Copenhagen Business School (DK). The network's main project is the joint Aurora European University Alliance, one of 41 university alliances funded by the EU Commission. These alliances implement innovative ways of university cooperation in Europe, in particular to promote seamless mobility of students and staff. The Aurora European University Alliance brings together 260,000 students, 30,000 staff, 112 faculties and 813 research groups. It is supported by a total of €7 million of Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 funding.