Mar 12th, 2022, 03:53 PM

AUP Administration Holds Virtual Event in Support of Ukraine

By Liam Williams
AUPvideos on YouTube
Staff, students, and alumni tell their stories to bring awareness to the ongoing crisis.

Amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, the AUP administration held a virtual event that bought together several community members who discussed many facets of the war. The event highlighted Ukrainian poetry, global political discussions, and some AUP students and faculty who are on the ground helping with the humanitarian crisis. 

To start the evening off, University President Celeste Schenck started the forum with stating its overarching goal, seeking ways "better to understand the invasion of Ukraine" and to "reflect tonight on ways we can better support the efforts of the Ukrainian people to resist this incursion, to defend its constitution and commitment to democracy, and we might add in the process, to defend each of us". 

Schenck then introduced poet Ellen Hinsey who spoke on the feeling of helplessness as the world watches the attack unfold. She read an excerpt from Ukrainian poet Serhiy Zhadan's book "A New Orthography". Eleonora Balkina, a recent alumna of the university, read the poem in its original Ukrainian language. Balkina also put into words the fear she feels every-night knowing she has relatives in Ukraine who cannot evacuate, and the fear of seeing their city could be targeted next.

Three professors, Hall Gardner, Sharon Weill, and Ziad Majed joined for a short roundtable discussion. Gardner discussed the Soviet breakup and how Ukraine became a proxy of US/Euro - Russian conflict, Weill commented on the legal aspects of the war, and Majed proposed that the sudden collapse of the Soviet empire left too many unresolved issues in the two countries which violently came to fruition in 2014 and now again in 2022.

Protesters fill the Place de la République in Paris on March 5, 2022. (Image credit: Jacob Shropshire)

In terms of those on the ground, professor Oleg Kobtzeff, riding in a car in the dark of night, was able to call in from Poland. He had crossed into Poland from Ukraine about three hours before, helping to evacuate eight foster children and another young girl who needed a ride. He is now on the way to his home in the suburbs of Paris where he will bring the group to stay, safe from the bombs that had rained down on their village. 

Kobtzeff told viewers "war brings out the worst in people, but it also brings out the best", and just minutes after his appearance, AUP student Dylan Kornhauser who is volunteering at the Polish-Ukrainian border spared a few minutes to talk about the operation. It was quiet at that hour, but another border crossing nearby had closed meaning there would soon be a rush of refugees. He assured everyone there were thousands of meals ready to go and made a plea for assistance from the community saying "we need everything". He is now coordinating a small volunteer team from the World Central Kitchen

The evening ended with a reading by Mary Norlander of a Ukrainian artist's journal entry from just days ago. Day 11: “IT’S 3:30 P.M. AND WE’RE STILL ALIVE”.

If you'd like to donate to Dylan Kornhauser's Venmo to be used at local Polish grocery stores to get a variety of supplies that are needed, you can find that here.
If you'd like to donate to the Fundly set up by Eleonora Balkina, Stefan Levchanko, and Anita Maksymchuck, you can find that here. 
Levchanko has also set up boxes in the lobby of the Combes building where supplies are being gathered for donation.