26 травень 2022

Rick Shangraw, President of American University Kyiv: Ukraine will emerge stronger and more resilient after the war particularly as it rebuilds its higher education sector.

Rick Shangraw, President of American University Kyiv: Ukraine will emerge stronger and more resilient after the war particularly as it rebuilds its higher education sector.

How has the Russian war against Ukraine impacted the plans of American University Kyiv (AUK) in terms of its launch, student enrollment, curriculum?


I would like to make sure that I am clear with all our potential students and current faculty and staff about how concerned we are about the events in Ukraine, how dedicated we are to continue our programs in Ukraine, and to make sure that we are very much behind the success of Ukraine.

In terms of the AUK launch, as you know we planned to open our first two graduate programs on March 18th. We had to delay that opening because of the war. However, we are fully planning to open our university in September and offer fully online programs both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

For undergraduate students, we will offer BS in Business Administration, Global Management and Software Engineering. For post graduate students we will launch MS in Global Management with the focus on international economics, inter-cultural communications, and other skills important in a global environment. Also, we will launch an MS in Software Engineering understanding the high need in Ukraine for world-class IT professionals.

All these programs will open the opportunity for AUK students to obtain dual-degrees via online or offline studies in Arizona State University (ASU), with which we have 25-year cooperation agreement.


What are AUK plans for helping Ukraine?


Understanding terrible impact of the russian invasion of Ukraine and its economy we decided to provide scholarships for more up to 50% for UG and PG tuition. We are doing our best to make US-based education as accessible for the Ukrainian students as possible. We are happy to make this step as our contribution to Ukraine’s victory.

In the USA, we have a strong commitment from Arizona State University (ASU), which is highly dedicated to help in all aspects. In particular, ASU is one of the strongest universities in USA in online education. Thus, this is the perfect partnership since AUK programs must go fully online in September.

In addition, we have been working here with US funding sources to provide additional resources to AUK, including USAID, World Bank, and US State Department. We are also in contact with a number of Ukrainian Americans here in the USA to support our scholarship programs. We want to make sure that our programs will be affordable for Ukrainians who are facing difficult situations as the war impacts everybody’s finances.


After the war, Ukraine will need a large-scale rebuilding of its infrastructure and relaunching of its social, cultural and educational life. What might be the role of AUK in this process?


Сurrently, everybody in the States is rightly focused on military and humanitarian support to Ukraine. But there is a smaller but growing number of people who are thinking about a post-war Ukraine, how it will recover and how the USA can be helpful in postwar Ukraine.

The conversations that I am having here are around a few topics: (1) how can universities, in particular ASU in collaboration with AUK, help to advance digital learning in Ukraine because there would be some degree of time when students may not be able physically to attend universities. And this is a part where American universities can help their Ukrainian colleagues to bring in online programs. That would be for all Ukrainian universities. We are currently working on bringing together a group of Ukrainian universities that can be a part of this process. (2) We are working on the topic of how to fund and finance higher education for students in Ukraine because the financial stress of this war has been tremendous. Thus, finding additional resources and scholarships that can be provided to students in Ukraine to continue with their higher education not only at AUK but in other Universities in Ukraine is very important.

And financially we are having discussions here in the United States about how the new industries will emerge in a post-war Ukraine. And this is a very interesting topic about what happens with the economy in post-war Ukraine. In many aspects, this is a chance for Ukraine to expand into some new sectors to further strengthen the economy.

Ukraine already has a fantastic technology industry, but some other areas will emerge after the war. And we have to make sure that universities can provide Ukrainians the education that will help to support those new industries. In the ashes of this disaster and horrible war, this would be a chance for Ukraine to find some new ways to emerge stronger economically. And we are very much in support of this.