On 18-19 May 2022 in Tbilisi, Georgia, a meeting of the Catholic Universities Partnership (CUP) was held, initiated by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies of the University of Notre Dame (USA). Participating in the meeting, which was held at Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University (Georgia) were representatives of UCU and Catholic universities in Croatia, Poland, Austria, Georgia, Slovakia, Italy, and the USA.
Participants in the discussion, including Yaryna Boychuk, director of the UCU Business School
This year’s meeting-conference was called “Resilience and Recovery: Challenges for Universities” and was dedicated to current problems of Catholic education during wartime. The conference demonstrated solidarity with Ukraine on the part of our colleagues and partners.
The Ukrainian Catholic University was represented by Yaryna Boychuk, Director of the UCU Business School (LvBS) and Natalka Yakymets, Deputy Director for Research of the International Institute for Ethics and Contemporary Issues (IIECI). The participants took part in thematic round tables. On the first day, during the round table “Current Status of the Ukrainian Catholic University,” Yaryna Boychuk emphasized the particular dynamics and functioning of the educational process and socially oriented activities of UCU, which today plays an exceptional role in Ukraine as a humanitarian, logistical, and resource center in the context of the war.
“UCU’s great strength in this difficult time is membership in the CUP, Catholic Universities Partnership,” explains Yaryna Boychuk. “Because this colossal support from our friends is not simply in words but in actions. There are concrete propositions for how the Catholic universities of this community can help us in this war: students, professors, staff, to develop, grow, and rebuild the country. If one speaks about the closest projects, this refers to the joint initiative of UCU, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies of the University of Notre Dame, and the Catholic University of Croatia for exchange of students and common experience. The Croatians already have experience rebuilding their country after war and reconciliation, so we also will learn together from one another. Now things are extremely difficult for Ukrainians. But we have to think about the future. We and our colleagues from all over the world above all discussed the future. The whole world believes in our victory, the whole civilized world supports us and is ready to help.”
Plenary session of Catholic Universities Partnership
As part of the joint project, from 26 June to 7 July the summer school “Practicing Resilience. Preparing for Recovery” will be held n Dubrovnik (Croatia).
Other thematic forums in which the Ukrainian perspective on the set theme were presented were the round table “Resilience, Recovery and Solidarity,” during which Natalka Yakymets shared her thoughts on the principles of resilience which Ukraine’s society and government today embody. During the discussion, thoughts were expressed on resilience as a concept of the struggle for truth and solidarity, and also the awareness of responsibility for others. Natalka Yakymets stated that the UCU community through the whole contemporary history of Ukraine has expressed these narratives in research and on the social plane.
Vaja Vardidze, Rector of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University (Georgia)
Without a doubt, this event was extremely important. The current challenges for Catholic education in the context of current geopolitical changes were illuminated and discussed. As a result, the meeting became not only an exchange of experience, thoughts, and plans, but a discussion of real perspectives on deeper cooperation between partner universities as a response to today’s challenges.