Creating impact in times of crisis: Kozminski University solidarity with Ukraine

Kozminski

Today, every act of global solidarity with Ukraine is a testimony to our commitment to the universal values that underpin the civilized world: freedom, democracy, and human rights. Business Schools should also act and support the Ukrainian community. Now it is more important than ever to support and stand in solidarity with Ukraine. As the university’s Rector, prof. Grzegorz Mazurek 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.’

To fulfil this promise, KU has taken a number of initiatives and relief actions:

On the 25th of February the day after the war started, KU set up a Warsaw Support Centre for refugees in the school buildings. The Centre was established in cooperation with the Ukrainian House in Warsaw of the “Our Choice” Foundation. Within these first days, the KU community aided Ukrainian refugees, collected goods and helped them in finding temporary homes in Poland.

In the first days and hours of the war, we aided 340 Ukrainian families, including 600 adults and nearly 500 children. We hosted and registered 1,336 volunteers–including many KU students, offered 3,000 beds, and collected about 4 tons of goods. At the same time, KU faculty members were directly on the Polish-Ukrainian border to conduct activities supporting refugees. Below is the testimonial, of prof. Paweł Krzyworzeka, who among other KU employees, spent days on the Polish-Ukrainian border:

‘Three days after the outbreak of the war, I went to Medyka for the largest pedestrian border crossing with Ukraine. The help point for people crossing the border was coordinated by our friend from the Department, Anna Kovbasiuk. In the first days, the pedestrian line from Ukraine to Poland was very long, some people, most often families with children, stayed three days before they crossed the border and reached our point. Previously, some tens of kilometres of walking just to get to the border. It was snowing one night, the temperatures were negative (-5), and people fleeing Ukraine were not prepared to spend a few days outside. When they reached us, they were extremely exhausted (…) We had one stand with soup and a pot of boiling water under a large umbrella and a large pile of gifts. During this most difficult and coldest time, several hundred people could gather, and we had two kettles and one pot to prepare boiling water.’

The above examples of KU initiatives were the first responses to the crisis. At the same time, we understand the need for long-term support in the upcoming months. To support the Ukrainian community and specifically students and employees of Kozminski University in the long term, we have introduced a number of initiatives:

  • KU offers KU offers support in the area of personal well-being, provided by our Wellbeing Office and qualified professionals from MindMed Psychotherapy Institute.
  • KU Legal Office staff provides support in legalizing the stay of KU’s Ukrainian employees and their families in Poland.
  • KU offers special scholarships for Ukrainian students

At the same time, the Kozminski Foundation’s “In solidarity with Ukraine” fundraising campaign was launched on 25 February 2022. The Foundation so far has collected over 100 000 PLN to support financially students, graduates, employees and friends of Kozminski University and their families – victims of the war in Ukraine. The foundation also collects and donates food, hygiene products, blankets, clothes, and products for children, as well as food for animals. The foundation donated over 2000 medical kits to the territorial defence forces in Ukraine, 300 sleeping bags and 500 pillows to refugee points.

As a business school, we understand that our support should not stop there, but we also believe it is our responsibility to educate society on the current situation. KU faculty have organized online seminars, e.g., “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in light of international law”, hosted by the Department of International Law and European Union Law of KU’s College of Law. Our academics have been actively engaged in media debates (appearing in top national news stations, e.g., Polsat News, TOK FM, Puls Biznesu, onet.pl), where they share their knowledge, comment on the current situation, and predict the possible consequences of the invasion of Ukraine. Moreover, as media across the world is flooded with fake information on the situation in Ukraine, a research team led by prof. Dariusz Jemielniak studies the spread of fake news on the war to better detect and fight against false information.

KU will continue the support of the Ukraine community as long as necessary using various means and resources. As a business school, we have a unique chance to not only support refugees financially and through donations, but as well to educate them and society.