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Queen Margaret University twins with university in Ukraine

Posted: 4th July 2023

In a bid to strengthen support for Ukraine, Queen Margaret University has twinned with Poltava National Pedagogical University based in central Ukraine.   

The move is part of the UK-Ukraine Twinning Initiative, supported by Universities UK International, which is a key part of the UK’s higher education sector’s response to the war in the Ukraine. The progressive initiative is seeing over 100 UK universities twinning with a Ukrainian partner to help provide immediate support, as well as longer term strategic engagement.   

Professor Richard Butt, Deputy Principal of Queen Margaret University, said: “QMU aims to be a force for good in the world, so we are proud to be part of this partnership and to be twinned with Poltava V.G. Korolenko National Pedagogical University (PNPU), which is one of the oldest universities in Ukraine. The twinning initiative aims to help universities in Ukraine come through the current crisis with the necessary resources, skills and support to maintain their learning, teaching and research activities, and we are currently exploring the various ways that QMU can support Poltava National Pedagogical University now and in the future.  

“Like QMU, PNPU has a long-established history, as well as specialisms in media, initial teacher education, psychology and linguistics which align well with our key academic areas. The University has around 420 academic staff and just over 6,000 students, so it is similar in size to QMU.”  

Currently, much of the University’s teaching takes place online, but despite the daily challenges of war, 300 local students continue to come onto the campus. During missile alerts, students, staff and local school children take refuge in the University’s basement, which functions as a bomb shelter and enables learning to continue. The University is also hosting staff and students from an institution in Bakhmut who had to flee the city which was constantly under attack by Russian forces.  

Professor Butt continued: “We are discussing ways in which QMU might provide support to PNPU which will be immediately useful, such as access to our digital library resources and the sharing of recorded teaching content for students, as well as access to academic development workshops and online conferences. Looking to the future, there may be opportunities to share research in the area of global health and development, and to facilitate joint student projects and academic exchanges and summer schools in Edinburgh for PNPU’s Ukrainian students.”  

Professor Butt concluded: “Social justice is at the heart of QMU’s work and our involvement in the UK-Ukraine Twinning Initiative allows us to demonstrate our support for the people of Ukraine as they bravely face the challenges of this horrifying war. By supporting the development of academic and student talent from one of the country’s oldest and most cherished universities, we hope to play a part in helping the institution and its people continue to flourish.” 

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