Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Terrific UMass Amherst - Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) Partnership and Virtual Scholars in Ukraine

It has been almost two months since we held our welcome event for the Virtual Scholars in Ukraine who are being supported as part of the partnership established between the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE), with the Isenberg School of Management hosting the event. Below is a screenshot of our welcome event that took place on November 30, 2022. Many of the Virtual Scholars were in a bomb shelter at the Kyiv School of Economics. Impressively, the technology worked and the event was truly special. 

During the welcome event, we heard welcome remarks from Rector Tymofii Brik of KSE, the Vice Provost for Global Affairs at UMass Amherst Kalpen Trivedi, and the Isenberg School of Management Dean Anne P. Massey. I have posted the slide deck of my remarks.

The Isenberg School of Management presently has 8 Virtual Scholars in Ukraine working with Faculty Hosts with more Virtual Scholars on the horizon. The Isenberg School published this nice article on the welcome event. More information on the partnership, which, I believe, is an exceptional one and a model that other universities can emulate, can be found in the press release issues by UMass Amherst.

The PIE News - thanks to Maureen Manning - provided additional coverage of this partnership.

I am grateful to KSE Rector Brik and to UMass Amherst Provost Emeritus John McCarthy plus Vice Provost for Global Affairs Kalpen Trivedi and to Isenberg School Dean Anne P. Massey for providing the incredible support for this partnership. Thanks also to the Isenberg School Selection Committee: Associate Dean George Milne, Finance Department Chair Nikunj Kapadia, and Professor Bogdan Prokopovych for assistance with selecting the Virtual Scholars and helping with the Faculty Host "matches."

Special acknowledgment of my Isenberg School colleagues from Operations and Information Management (OIM), Finance, Management, Marketing, and Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) for being Faculty Hosts. They, along with the Virtual Scholars, are listed below with the projects also noted.

Elena Besedina, from KSE, will be researching non-tariff trade barriers and impacts on Ukrainian agriculture. Host: Anna Nagurney, OIM

Nina Chala, at the National University of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, is working on the motivation of consumer choice when consumer goods are produced using green energy. Host: Alicia Johnson, Marketing

Yuriy Dyachenko is at the Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University (his university was bombed) and he also holds an appointment at the National University of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy. His project is on improving business and public security using behavioral economics. Host: Muzzo Uysal, HTM

Iuliia Kuntsevych, at KSE, will study how business processes can be better managed and enhanced for greater efficiency. Host: Nora Junaid, OIM

Pavlo Martyshev, at KSE, is working on measuring the economic efficiency of alternative ways of exporting agricultural products from Ukraine. Host: Anna Nagurney, OIM

Viktor Maziarchuk is an advisor to the chairman of the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine. His project is on the influence of the war in Ukraine on the state budget and peculiarities of MPs' (Members of Parliament) amendments to the state budget and budget efficiency. Host: Anya Mkrtchyan, Finance

Maksym Obrizan, at KSE, is using the household budget survey (HBS) of Ukraine for 2020 (and later years when they become available) in order to identify the determinants of catastrophic health expenditures before the war. Host: Ina Ganguli, Management and Economics

Pavlo Prokopovych, at KSE, will investigate whether his approach for the existence of equilibria in Bayesian games can be used in first price auctions with a reserve price. Host: Anna Nagurney, OIM.

The challenges are immense now in Ukraine and that includes higher education with the missiles, blackouts, and Internet disruptions. Nevertheless, the research made possible through the support for the Virtual Scholars continues and it is heartwarming to see the friendships that are being made and the scientific investigations that are being conducted. I am delighted and inspired that already there are two papers completed and submitted to journals and a paper that will be presented at a conference next month. Other papers are being worked on and the excitement that the collaborations are generating are great to hear about! Plus, a Virtual Scholar, just this past week, spoke about his work at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv and acknowledged support from the fellowship that he holds.

Support for higher education in Ukraine is essential in wartime and critical for the recovery and rebuilding of Ukraine. Research that the Virtual Scholars and their Faculty Hosts are conducting will be instrumental in rebuilding better and more sustainably and also giving us deeper insights on topics ranging from agricultural supply chains and Ukrainian exports, various trade policies, the impacts of war on science in Ukraine, financial budgeting during wartime, advances in game theory, and even how to teach better with Excel!

And there will be more news soon on 5 Virtual Scholars placed with Faculty Hosts at the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences at UMass Amherst, another Virtual Scholar for the Isenberg School, and one for the Math/Stats Department at UMass Amherst! This partnership program is providing support and strengthening networks of scientific collaborations across continents in wartime. I am so proud of my home university - the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This partnership is deeply meaningful to me since my first language is Ukrainian and, since the major invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, 2022, I was elected Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of KSE.