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Strengthening Educational Ties: CIVICA's Collaborative Mission with Ukrainian Universities at SSE

As a part of the CIVICA project "CIVICA for the European future of Ukraine", SSE had the honor of receiving visitors from the Ukraine last week for five days of exciting meetings, presentations, and discussions.

CIVICA has released a report about the challenges and needs of Ukrainian universities, that aims to assess the needs of Ukrainian higher education institutions and identify critical areas that require both immediate attention and long-term support. Understanding these needs is essential for formulating strategies and developing roadmaps to assist universities, safeguard their educational mission, foster stability and resilience. In the report, CIVICA describes various dimensions of the problems and challenges faced by Ukrainian universities. It examines the physical infrastructural damages on campuses, the disruption caused to academic activities, the financial strain experienced by institutions, the brain drain resulting from faculty and student migration, and the technological setbacks hindering effective teaching and learning.

With the report, CIVICA aims to provide valuable insights and recommendations for all the partners involved in the CIVICA-Ukraine dialog and cooperation. With this background, a Ukrainian delegation was invited to SSE to continue the dialog.

Kazune Funato Hallgren, CIVICA coordinator at SSE, who received the visit, hopes the delegation members were satisfied with outcome.

"They were very enthusiastic and asked so many questions in detail regarding how we organize and operate our activities at SSE. Our colleagues involved in the program did a wonderful job by showing their respect for Ukraine in this difficult situation, sharing challenges and possible approaches for solutions with them to contribute to the CIVICA vision. We all share the importance of keeping educational systems working in Ukraine to keep spirit and hope up", says Kazune.

Continued collaboration

One of the faculty at SSE who took part in the program was Anders Olofsgård, Deputy Director at Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE), a research institute that has worked in Eastern Europe since it was founded in 1989. He described the history and activities of SITE, and also that of a network of seven institutes in Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus (now located in Lithuania), Latvia, Poland, and Russia (collaboration resting given the situation) that SITE is leading. This network, called the FREE network (Forum for Research on Eastern Europe and Emerging Economies), includes one of the Ukrainian CIVICA partners, the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE). The group discussed more in detail the collaboration with KSE and the ongoing efforts to further deepen that collaboration including developing an executive MBA together with SSE Riga.

"This is an area where we will continue to cooperate for sure, and if it turns out well then there may be scope to extend the collaboration to other Ukrainian partners. The team also asked about research and management at the institute, and how we incentivize publications and management excellence", says Anders.

SSE and CIVICA are now looking forward to continuing the collaboration with Ukraine, with the new insights and connections generated during the week.

"It was a very special mission and visit we received through CIVICA, and the CIVICA Team at SSE are grateful for everyone who took their time to meet and supported the delegation", Kazune Funato Hallgren concludes.