December 22, 2022

International collaboration to strengthen support for those in need

In the beginning of 2022, looking forward to pandemic relief, we faced new horrors. Russia attacked Ukraine, suddenly a war was going on, and still is, in Europe. The foundation of European stability was shaken, and we had to adjust to refugees seeking asylum, energy crisis, inflation, and re-initiated political tensions.

Our hearts are with Ukrainians who face the horrors of war every day, and we do what we can to help them. Universities across Europe have created means to help Ukrainian students and scholars to continue their studies and work in Europe. European wide actions are being planned on how to help Ukrainian universities to rebuild their institutions once the war is over.

In the fall, protests outpoured in Iran where 22-year-old Masha Amini died following her arrest by the morality police for improper use of the hijab. Protesters have met violence by the police, which has been condemned globally. Support has been offered to Iranian students, doctoral researchers, and staff members who are worried for the situation in their home country and their families and friends in Iran.

More than ever, international co-operation is needed to promote peace and human rights globally. The academic community is in the forefront in these activities with the existing networks and connections, research-based knowledge and as a provider of education to all regardless of age, origin, nationality, language, religion, belief, opinion, political activity, state of health, disability, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics.

Together we are stronger in striving for peace and human rights, creating a better future for us all.

Jukka Mönkkönen, Rector of University of Eastern Finland

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