Thursday, June 22, 2023

Thrilled and Honored to be Working with Colleagues in Ukraine

With Russia's war on Ukraine ongoing and resulting in tremendous suffering and loss of lives as well as destruction, one must do what one can to support Ukrainians and those fighting for their freedom and democracy.

As a daughter of Ukrainian WWII refugees, whose first language is Ukrainian, and, as an educator, the partnership between the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) is forging outstanding connections across the miles during this very challenging period in history. The partnership is now supporting 15 Virtual Scholars in Ukraine, 9 of whom are placed with Isenberg School of Management faculty. 

I am thrilled and deeply honored to be working now with colleagues in Ukraine. I would like to specifically thank the Isenberg School Dean Anne P. Massey and the Director of the International Programs Office and Vice Provost for Global Affairs at UMass Amherst Kalpen Trivedi for their outstanding support in making this partnership a reality and having it flourish since its inception over a year ago! Kudos also to Provost Emeritus John McCarthy for his support and to all the members of the Task Force who worked on forging this partnership. Special thanks to the KSE Rector Tymofiy Brik for his great work in making this partnership happen and also for visiting us in person on May 3!

Below is a photo taken with Rector Brik and Provost Emeritus McCarthy after dinner on May 3.

Some of the research with colleagues in Ukraine is also engaging a PhD student of mine - Dana Hassani. At the forthcoming Dynamics of Disasters conference, which will take place July 3-6, 2023,  in Athens, Greece (and which I am also co-organizing), I will present our latest work, "Multicommodity International Agricultural Trade Network Equilibrium: Competition for Limited Production and Transportation Capacity Under Disaster Scenarios with Implications for Food Security," co-authored with Dana and with KSE colleagues Professor Oleg Nivievskyi and Dr. Pavlo Martyshev.

Information on this conference is available here

This work builds on our paper, "Exchange Rates and Multicommodity International Trade: Insights from Spatial Price Equilibrium Modeling with Policy Instruments via Variational Inequalities," which was recently published in the Journal of Global Optimization. That paper was presented at the PanOptic Conference in honor of Professor Panos M. Pardalos held March 9 and 10 in Gainesville, Florida.

We heard yesterday the good news that the above paper has been accepted for presentation at the INFORMS conference in Phoenix and Dana Hassani will present it.

And, with Professor Elena Besedina of KSE, I have co-authored a paper, "A Multicommodity Spatial Price Equilibrium Model with Non-Tariff Measures for Agri-Food International Trade."

In addition, Professor Myroslava Kushnir of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv more recently joined our program and we are excited to be collaborating now with her on various supply chains of relevance in Ukraine in wartime.

Below, I have posted a group photo from the May 3 symposium at UMass Amherst which featured the Virtual Scholars from the Isenberg School and also those from the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UMass Amherst.

In the photo from l-r are: Professors Muzzo Uysal, Lauren McCarthy, Rector Brik, yours truly, Professors Ina Ganguli, Alicia Johnson, Vice Provost Kalpen Trivedi, and Professor Bogdan Prokopovych. More information about the Virtual Scholars and their Faculty Hosts at the Isenberg School can be found on this link.

This partnership has worked towards reducing brain drain from Ukraine, enhancing research as well as friendships, and has also provided important financial and emotional support. More such partnerships are needed to support higher education in Ukraine, now and during the recovery and reconstruction. 

A press release by UMass Amherst on the partnership is available here.