Ukraine One Year Later: A Call For Continued Support for Students, Scholars, and Artists

Since Russia invaded Ukraine one year ago, individuals, organizations, and nations have responded generously to provide humanitarian aid to the tens of millions of displaced Ukrainians facing frightening, uncertain futures. Tragically, the brutal conflict has added to the already historic number of refugees struggling with similar fates around the world. The World Bank now predicts that by mid-century the number of refugees and displaced persons, including Ukrainians, will exceed the population of Brazil.

Thousands of students, scholars, and artists whose lives have been upended by the war in Ukraine are included among those refugees. With no end in sight to hostilities, their paths to education and advancement have been blocked. Without education, refugees and displaced people all over the world are at risk of becoming a lost generation.

It’s easy to understand why individuals wanting to do something about the current situation may feel overwhelmed and hopeless. But as an organization whose mission for more than 100 years has been to build a more peaceful, equitable world through international education, we know there are ways to make a big difference in the most desperate times of need. Since the beginning of the war, IIE has deployed a multi-faceted response focused on ensuring students, scholars, and artists have a clear path forward. We’ve stepped forward to be a critical resource for those who have no other safety net.

On the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, IIE committed to provide funds for 160 students and 50 scholars, a total of 210 individuals, at the Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University, one of the most critically impacted university populations in Ukraine. From its temporary location in Kyiv, the University retained most of their students, staff, and full operations. They have been internally displaced; their homes are no longer safe, and their livelihoods are at risk. This commitment will help students and scholars with housing costs, medical expenses, and other essential needs.

For the last 12 months, IIE has provided immediate, as well as long-term, holistic support services through our vast, worldwide networks and century-plus experience responding to global crises. Although the need for aid continues to grow each day, we look to the future with hope, and are grateful to the many partners and donors who have helped make the grants, fellowships, and scholarships we’ve awarded in response to the war possible.  

Emergency Aid for Ukrainian Students in the U.S.

The IIE Emergency Student Fund for Ukraine (IIE-ESF) has supported approximately 230 students at more than 140 U.S. colleges and universities with grants that ensure students can continue their studies, totaling nearly $650,000.

Access to Higher Education

The Global Democracy Ambassador Scholarship, designed to help Ukrainian students continue their studies, has awarded 20 Ukrainian students up to $30,000 each for educational and living expenses. Through generous support from individual donors and foundation partners through IIE’s Ukraine Crisis Response Fund, IIE works with a number of universities in Ukraine to provide grant funding for research and reconstruction planning, and support for direct grants to students to keep them enrolled in their university studies.

Safety for Scholars and Artists

This crisis underscores the need to protect Ukrainian and threatened Russian academics. Since the conflict began, the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) has rescued 13 Ukrainian scholars and is also currently supporting nine Russian scholars who can no longer safely continue their work in Russia. IIE’s Artist Protection Fund (IIE-APF) has awarded six fellowships to artists in need of emergency support, from fields including literary, performing, and visual art.

As we pass this one-year milestone of the war in Ukraine, it’s clear there are no quick fixes for this conflict or our planet’s exploding refugee crises. That reality does not, however, diminish the crucial need for humanitarian aid of all kinds or the importance of long-term initiatives to safeguard the future of the world’s displaced students, scholars, and artists. They are the future of their countries and the best hope for a peaceful, prosperous world.   It may seem like the forces of war, famine, disease, ethnic and religious hate, and climate change have the upper hand. But history has proven that the super powers of human kindness and dignity are formidable counters to the most daunting threats. We remain optimistic and are committed to standing with the people of Ukraine and other refugees searching for a way home for as long as it takes. And we’re deeply grateful for the support of all those who are helping us make a difference.