Ten days ago, the Russian army invaded Ukraine. War does not spare academia. The rectors of Belgium’s 11 universities are speaking with one voice in support of Ukrainian scientists and students at Belgian universities.
They call on governments to ensure that academic cooperation continues as much as possible, as it allows for the free flow of ideas even in the darkest hours of armed conflict. And they salute the representatives of Russian academic communities, whether staff or students, who denounce the war and continue to fight for academic freedom.
UCLouvain reiterates its commitment to defending democracy, freedom and human rights. To prove it, the university has made its Access2University programme available to Ukrainian refugees.
The A2U programme, created in 2017, has already proved its worth: it enables the university to mobilise rapidly to receive refugees, in coordination with frontline support organisations.
The programme is now being expanded to include students and researchers who, as a result of the conflict, have been forced to flee their country. Refugees participating in the programme will have access to courses, seminars, and social, cultural and sports activities on UCLouvain campuses. They will also benefit from individualised support.
Finally, UCLouvain remains in direct contact with its various partners in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. Faculties are attentive to the specific needs of students in the region. Attention is also paid to the situation of UCLouvain’s 41 students and 33 staff members who come from Ukraine and Russia.
Ukraine: Belgian university rectors speak with one voice
The rectors of Belgium’s 11 universities issued a joint statement on Sunday in which they affirmed their support for the Ukrainian scientists and students at their universities.
The VLIR (Vlaamse Interuniversitaire Raad) and CReF (Conseil des Recteurs), and their combined 11 members, stated that they: