On 9 May 2023, the University of Konstanz celebrated Europe Day together with partners from across Europe. Central to the celebrations: a live video call between Volodymyr Zelenskyy and eleven universities of the “European University for Well-Being” (EUniWell), in which students had the opportunity to ask the Ukrainian president questions.
The Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv, a long-time partner university of the University of Konstanz, initiated the videoconference with the Ukrainian president. The identity of the guest of honour, however, had to be kept secret until the very end. The excitement was all the greater when the secret was finally lifted and Zelenskyy appeared on screen. After a short greeting by Volodymyr A. Bugrov (rector of the Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv) and Beatrix Busse (Vice-Rector for Teaching and Studies at University of Cologne and Chief Development Officer of EUniWell), the Ukrainian president spoke to the participants.
The main topic of his address: the need for bravery and courage to preserve our freedom and the values that unite Europe. After his speech, students in the auditorium had the chance to ask the Ukrainian president questions. In particular, they asked about current and future collaboration between Ukraine and member states of the European Union (EU) – at the political level and in the area of education – as well as options for the EU countries to support Ukraine.
In Konstanz, around 200 university students and staff joined the celebrations, which started about an hour before the live video call. They were greeted by Dorothea Debus, Vice Rector for International Affairs, Equal Opportunity and Diversity at the University of Konstanz, who was followed by a speech on “Schumann 2023” by Dirk Leuffen, Konstanz professor of political science with a focus on international politics.
Afterwards, two Ukrainian researchers who are currently working at the University of Konstanz spoke: Yeliena Kovalska, sociologist and MSCA4Ukraine Fellow at the University of Konstanz, talked about “Ukrainian War Refugees in Konstanz: Main Problems and Plans for Future”. Maryna Lytvyn, economist at the Dnipro University of Technology and a Visiting Fellow at the Zukunftskolleg in Konstanz, spoke about the “Ukrainian European Studies Association”.
Contact: Daniela Kromrey, European University Alliance coordinator
Photo: (© University of Konstanz)