The Guild rectors express support and deep concern about the war in Ukraine

Many university presidents across The Guild member universities have responded with shock and alarm to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Svein Stølen, Rector of the University of Oslo and Vice-Chair of The Guild, wrote of his concern for the Ukrainian population, adding that ‘This is a dark day for Europe and the World’. Stølen recorded his particular worries about the university’s students and staff affected by this tragedy. These sentiments were echoed by Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal of the University of Glasgow, who wrote about the anxiety felt by ‘students and colleagues concerned about friends and family in Ukraine’.

The Rector of the Jagiellonian University, Jacek Popiel expressed his solidarity with Ukraine and addressed Ukrainian students and staff by emphasising that they are not alone and that they ‘can count on our assistance for you, your families and friends in these difficult circumstances.’ Gregor Majdič, Rector of the University of Ljubljana, also conveyed his university’s deep solidarity with all the Ukrainians caught up in the conflict.

Building on these sentiments, Daniel David, Rector of Babeș-Bolyai University, urged Romanian universities to find solutions to support Ukrainian academics and researchers who might seek to continue their work in Romanian institutions.

Writing on Estonia’s national day, Toomas Asser, Rector of the University of Tartu and member of The Guild’s board, announced that the university would put everything in place to ensure the university’s Ukrainian members would receive every possible support. In a statement re-published as a Guild blog, Asser also announced that the University would develop a long-term strategy to define the university’s role as a partner to the EU, NATO and other bodies standing up for the independence of Estonia and other European countries.

A number of The Guild’s universities, including UC Louvain and the University of Oslo, have also expressed their solidarity to Ukraine by flying the flag of Ukraine at the institutions.   

Jan Palmowski, Secretary-General of The Guild, added “In the face of brutal force, it is tempting for students and academics to feel powerless. We can offer no more than ideas, values, and knowledge, driven by collaboration and exchange. To those affected by loss and suffering, that will offer little immediate consolation. But the history of Europe has shown that even in its darkest times of oppression and violence, values and ideas could not be overcome. The mission of universities, the inspiration offered by our students, and the understanding enabled by our researchers, are now more important than ever.”

The Guild has called on Europe’s governments, and the EU, to enable our universities to support Ukrainian students and staff on our campuses, and through the provision of distance education where needed. Read our statement.

25 February 2022


Published Feb. 25, 2022 4:12 PM - Last modified Feb. 28, 2022 11:39 AM