Monday, February 27, 2023

The Visit of the President of the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) Tymofiy Mylovanov to UMass Amherst

On February 22, 2023, we had the honor and pleasure of hosting Tymofiy Mylovanov, the President of the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE), at UMass Amherst. He had left Ukraine about 10 days earlier, after successfully crossing the border. 

This visit was extremely meaningful since, in wartime, UMass Amherst had signed a series of memoranda with the Kyiv School of Economics with UMass Amherst releasing this press release on the partnership. 

The visit was planned with great attention to detail by the International Programs Office, under the leadership of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs,  Kalpen Trivedi. Special thanks go to his Executive Assistant, Kim Stender, for finalizing an itinerary that included Vice Provost Kalpen Trivedi, Provost Tricia Serio, Emeritus Provost John McCarthy, Isenberg Dean Anne P. Massey, the Dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences Karl Rethemeyer, and the Interim Dean of the College of Natural Sciences Nate Whitaker! UMass Amherst released this article on his visit and the timing could not have been better because the day after UMass was closed due to inclement weather!

There were multiple brainstorming sessions that took place with faculty and additional administrators. The conversations were moving and very inspiring. UMass Amherst is helping to reduce Brain Drain from Ukraine by funding 15 Virtual Scholars that have been matched with Faculty Hosts at the Isenberg School (we have 9 and room for 1 more); the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences has 5; and the College of Natural Sciences has 1.  All the Virtual Scholars remain in Ukraine and the Faculty Hosts are working in collaboration with them on multiple fascinating projects, many of which are also relevant to the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine. This support also shows the scholars that they are not alone. The research collaborations have already generated papers that have been submitted to journals as well as submissions to conferences! On November 30, 2022, the Isenberg School welcomed its Virtual Scholars through a special event that I had blogged about. The majority of the Virtual Scholars in Ukraine joined us via Zoom from a bomb shelter at KSE.  The Isenberg School wrote up this special event and our Virtual Scholars program. The School of Social and Behavioral Sciences is working on its welcome event for its Virtual Scholars, which we expect to take place in March. We are also planning a Virtual Symposium this spring featuring all the Virtual Scholars who are part of the UMass Amherst - KSE partnership. It is important to note that the Virtual Scholars include faculty from KSE, from the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, the National University of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Volodymyr East Ukrainian National University, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and even an advisor to the Ukrainian government.

It was wonderful to have President Mylovanov join Ken Reade of the International Programs Office, Bogdan Prokopovych, a Ukrainian colleague of mine at the Isenberg School, and me for lunch at The Commonwealth Restaurant at UMass Amherst.

We were able to get President Mylovanov to the airport for the next leg of his journey and are pleased to report that he has now made it back to Ukraine. Earlier today, I was at a Zoom meeting of the Co-Chairs of the Board of Directors of KSE, and Mylovanov joined us from a vehicle that he was in while in transit in Ukraine. Looking forward to more joint initiatives through the truly unique partnership between UMass Amherst and KSE.

I leave you with a photo collage constructed to capture this historic visit. Looking forward to others and, of course, to victory for Ukraine and peace.

Thanks to all who made this visit a reality and so very productive and inspiring! Much good can be accomplished by working together.