A New Generation for a New Ukraine

Black-tie fundraising dinner to be held at the Houses of Parliament on 19 June

“You probably haven’t heard of the Ukrainian Catholic University – but I suspect that is going to change,” wrote the Daily Telegraph’s columnist Damian Thompson in his blog on thenewspaper’s website in 2009. Six years on, his prognosis seems to have been spot on. UCU new building

While far from being one of the biggest or oldest universities in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) has definitely already made its mark both at home, and abroad. Today it is one of the most talked-about Ukrainian universities on a global arena.

So what has its success been based on over the past number of years? Well, for starters, it has kept truthful to its mission and vision, founded by Patriarch Josyf Slipyj, who himself was imprisoned for 18 harsh years in Soviet prisons and concentration camps persecuted for his beliefs and convictions.

Secondly, it has an inspirational leader, Harvard graduate Borys Gudziak, as its President, who over the past decade has managed to assemble a brilliant team.

The University lives with a contagious passion that inspires others. In Ukraine, a country that has had a reputation of endemic corruption, especially in education, UCU has been at the forefront in advocating transparency and standing up for the truth.

Its students were among the first to publicly protest against a corrupt President and crooked system, petitioning instead for values of human dignity and freedom of speech. One of UCU’s faculty members, 28-year-old Bohdan Solchanyk, was brutally shot and killed by government snipers in the central square of Ukraine’s capital during the protests in February 2014.

How do you finance a university with no government backing? UCU has embarked on a highly ambitious journey setting high goals: it has already erected, probably, the most modern university building in Ukraine. Through a series of fundraising programmes, $55 million has been raised to date and the campaign continues – to reach a target of $65.5 million. The university is fully dependant on donations from international and Ukrainian benefactors and donors.

As Ukraine is at war, having been invaded by Russian forces, now, more than ever, does the country need to invest in education, investing in a new generation for a new Ukraine.

Fundraising events for UCU have been taking place across the globe, most recently in New York, Chicago, Toronto and Cleveland. In June, a black-tie fundraising dinner will take place at the Houses of Parliament in London.

Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Investing in a good education today will be a most critical issue to build a new Ukraine.

I invite you to find out more about UCU and support Ukraine’s new generation.

Andy Hunder is Director of the Ukrainian Institute, London, which is affiliated to the Ukrainian Catholic University 

For more details about the fundraising dinner on June 19 at the Houses of Parliament see below.

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