IIE Impact Newsletter Spring 2023
(From left to right, Dr. Allan E. Goodman, Courtney Temple, Jason Czyz, A. Sarah Ilchman)
Ukraine One Year Later: From the Office of the CEO
As Russian’s assault on Ukraine continues unabated, pathways to higher education and advancement in the region grow increasingly restricted. IIE continues to deploy a multifaceted matrix of crisis response programs that help threatened and displaced students, scholars, and artists reach safety and pursue their dreams.
IIE’s CEO Allan Goodman discusses why supporting these individuals is our best hope for a peaceful, prosperous world.
The Horror of Global Affairs by Andrii Umanskyi
Since the rumors of a full-scale invasion began to spread in late 2021, I was spending a significant portion of my time assessing possibilities for the already ongoing war to undergo an unprecedented escalation. My academic rationale recognized the heating tensions, growing contradictions, increased amounts of propaganda being permeated through news and social media, and simple facts related to the military developments at the border of my country. My hopes, however, were still optimistic. I rather wanted to believe it would be too painful for the instigator to break international norms and conventions, and disturb the status quo to the extent not seen for almost a century in this part of the world. In still uninterrupted conversations with my family back home, I wanted to make sure they were mentally prepared for anything and aware of the looming odds. “Pray for the best, prepare for the worst” are the words I kept telling them.
Indeed, the worst was what happened.
Since then, my family’s unbounded patience and forbearance have been a testament to the humanity’s endurance. Getting to know the trials they had to face only post factum, in our abrupt conversations often interrupted with connection outages, made me realize the value of a strong character. Eight months into the occupation of my hometown, I got to talk with my high school teacher. He served as a great source of my academic aspirations and was the one who inspired me to pursue studies in international relations. The war took a noticeable psychological toll on him. Angst, resentment, and great uncertainty resonated in thoughts he shared with me. The situation made me realize I have no right to complain on my end. Whichever form of anxiousness I sometimes encounter lurking in my mind is infinitesimal compared to what everyone I left behind has to face every moment of their existence. Sometimes I wonder if character strength is something we end up with as a part of our nature or is it something one can develop, learn or be taught over time.
Another daunting knowledge to confront was to learn about casualties of the war. All over the Internet there are hundreds and thousands of images depicting what remains on battlefields around my country. What echoed with me beyond my blatant expectations of gore was photos of soldiers’ identity documents. The depicted dates of birth would often hint those were college students, recent high school graduates, in other words – my peers. To underestimate the sacrifice older generations make right now in the same conflict would be an unforgivable sin. However, that was the exact moment I understood that I am no longer a mere audience of war. I am a potential participant. This made the perception of war and global affairs much more acute for me. It also poses a question of how far are the spectators separated from the horrors of what is happening in particular places around the globe. I also cannot blame anyone as it takes an exceptional occurrence under extraordinary circumstances in one’s life to start seeing things in a different light and to confront your previous beliefs. It appears to be a great amount of mental discomfort is almost a requirement for a person to reconsider one’s prejudices.
This brings me to reflecting on my area of professional specialization. The more I explore international relations, the more I see their implications in other aspects of my existence and vice versa. And while I still barely scratch the surface of the subject, I begin formulating some ideas. Now comes an age of uncertainties not seen before. Controversies grow both in numbers and in substance on every continent of our planet. Conventional paradigms do not give enough answers and produce rather more questions. An outcome being the least desirable option for all parties involved does not negate its likelihood. For epistemic institutions, all of this means the task is to prepare thinkers and leaders of a historically unrivaled quality. In the moment when bracing for the unknown is a matter of the humanity’s survival, the concept of thinking outside the box is being trivialized and overused where it is dispensable. Oftentimes, intellectual curiosity and critical thinking are long turned into brands and incorporated into groupthink phenomena.
The future is a formidable opponent. I believe many more arduous challenges lie ahead of us and the world in its current state is barely qualified to face them efficiently. The nature of war is a grim opportunity to learn some of the lessons.
Hope Beyond Displacement: The Role of Education
Education opportunities for refugees and displaced youth are essential to achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and improving international development outcomes. IIE’s Moderated Discussion, held in January 2023, featured panelists from the Hilton Foundation, Afghan Futures Fund, WUSC-EASC, and others to discuss the role of foundations in Emergency in Education initiatives, and how organizations supporting refugee education measure their impact. The provocative discussion touched on such topics as collaboration across organizations and governments to support refugee education initiatives, challenges to measuring success and impact, and getting real around the commitments that organizations need to make at a time of growing forced internationalization.
Inclusivity in International Education: IIE Launches Center for Access and Equity
Joining IIE’s Centers of Excellence, which bring together IIE’s global offices and experienced staff with significant expertise, capabilities, and best practices in a set of core areas, we are pleased to have launched the Center for Access and Equity. Since our founding, creating access to opportunities has long been at the heart of IIE’s mission. This Center reinforces that commitment and will drive our global strategic approaches. The Center for Access and Equity aims to advance accessible programming and equitable practices in community building that enrich and expand international education, exchange, and opportunity for all. We will focus on supporting access for underrepresented communities, cultivating global learning, and leveraging programs and partnerships.
IIE’s Türkiye and Syria Crisis Response
February’s powerful earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria have now claimed over 50,000 lives, and they are a devastating blow to a region already hit hard by war, conflict, refugee and economic crises, and a cholera epidemic.
When natural disasters strike, international students studying in the U.S. are often unable to access resources, support, and information about their families and communities back home. Financial and personal hardship may threaten their ability to remain enrolled in higher education institutions.
IIE’s Emergency Student Fund provides grants to international college students in the U.S. when they have no other safety net. Find out how friends like you help IIE rapidly mobilize our unparalleled network of higher education partners to quickly and effectively support students, scholars, and artists – today, tomorrow, and in the weeks and months to come.
IIE In the News
Ukraine: IIE makes increased commitment
The PIE News – Fabio Balducci – March 3, 2023
A ‘landmark’ scholarship for refugee students
Chronicle of Higher Education – Karin Fischer – February 1, 2023
Reviving the College Dreams of Afghan Women
Inside Higher Ed – Liam Knox – January 24, 2023
Afghan women offered chance to continue learning
The PIE News – Kim Martin – January 10, 2023
For Ukrainian students, scholarships offer a lesson in American democracy
The Washington Post – Susan Svrluga – December 16, 2022