Ukrainian University Rectors Visit Edmonton


On  November 22-23, 2013, delegates from three Ukrainian universities, Drs. Ihor A. Girka (Vice-Rector and Dean of the School of Physics and Technology, V. N. Karazin National University of Kharkiv), Pavlo Khobzey (Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv), and Serhiy Kvit (Rector, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy National University), visited the University of Alberta and Grant MacEwan University. The visit to Edmonton was part of a cross-Canada series of working visits and events organized by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE). One of the chief purposes of the visit was to promote academic ties between Ukrainian universities and their Canadian counterparts.

On their first day in Edmonton, the three visitors went to the University of Alberta. Here, accompanied by Drs. Katelyn Petersen (University of Alberta International), Bohdan Klid and Roman I. Shiyan (Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, CIUS), the Ukrainian delegates held a morning meeting with CIUS director Professor Volodymyr Kravchenko and staff, where they were informed of the Institute’s work, especially its activities in Ukraine.

Later that morning, the three Ukrainian visitors held discussions with the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Professor Lesley Cormack, on prospects of joint programs, joint degrees, a summer school in Ukraine, and student exchanges. In order to provide a legal basis for further cooperation, involving such undertakings as exchanges and visits of university instructors and students, joint research and publications, jointly organized seminars and conferences, exchanges of materials and other information, a Memorandum of Understanding between the V. N. Karazin National University of Kharkiv and the University of Alberta was signed by Dr. Girka and Dr. Martin Ferguson-Pell, Acting Provost and Vice-President (Academic) of the University of Alberta, at a ceremony in the late afternoon of November 22.

In an afternoon meeting with University of Alberta faculty members involved in Ukrainian studies, the Ukrainian guests discussed challenges and opportunities in this important field. Among the participants in this meeting were Professors Olenka Bilash (Secondary Education), Andriy Nachachewsky (Kule Folklore Centre), Natalia Pylypiuk (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies (MLCS), and Alla Nedashkivska (MLCS; ULEC at CIUS).

At another afternoon meeting, the Ukrainian guests discussed with Doug Weir, Executive Director of Student Programs and Services, prospects of student exchanges between the three Ukrainian universities and the University of Alberta.

In the evening, Drs. Ihor Girka, Pavlo Khobzey, and Serhiy Kvit took part in a community forum on “New Developments in Exchanges between Universities of Canada and Ukraine” co-sponsored by the Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre (URDC) at Grant MacEwan University and St. John’s Institute. The three delegates discussed topics related to their academic expertise, as well as activities and plans of their respective institutions. Their presentations were of great interest to members of Edmonton’s Ukrainian community.

The following day, Drs. Kvit and Khobzey were hosted by Dr. Roman Petryshyn, director of the Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre at Grant MacEwan University. That afternoon, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Grant MacEwan University and the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy National University.

Dr. Girka remained at the University of Alberta, where he met with scholars engaged in scientific research and teaching. During his meeting with Professor Gino Fallone, Dr. Girka discussed the importance and prospects of medical physics in Ukraine, as well as arrangements for training specialists in this important field in Canada who would then return and work in their homeland. Dr. Girka also held meetings with Drs. Andriy Kovalenko (Senior Research Officer, National Institute of Nanotechnology), Richard D. Sydora (Department of Physics), and Ioanis Nikolaidis (Computing Science Department).

Overall, it is hoped that this visit will lead to cooperation between Canadian and Ukrainian universities, in particular between the University of Alberta and the V. N. Karazin National University of Kharkiv.