EUniWell celebrates Europe Day in a Dialogue with President Zelenskyy

05/11/2023 | by EUniWell | European Universities Students

On Europe Day, EUniWell hosted special online events focused on peace, unity and solidarity with Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine participated in a virtual discussion with EUniWell students. In a subsequent discussion, panelists from the EUniWell Alliance discussed European values and well-being in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

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Students in Cologne listening to the conference by President Zelenskyy
Students in Nantes listening to the conference by President Zelenskyy

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressing the European University for Well-Being

On 9 May, EUniWell hosted an online live meeting with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy as a part of events celebrating Europe Day. 

The online meeting provided a platform for our EUniWell community to engage with President Zelenskyy. The event was held for this purpose locally at each of the EUniWell universities, where attendees were greeted with words of welcome and Student Board members were able to address a question to the Ukrainian President. Due to the presidential security protocol, the online event was open only to invited students, researchers and university staff from the EUniWell universities.

In his opening speech, President Zelenskyy stressed the need to remember the fundamental values that created the European Union.  The President dedicated his speech to bravery as it is important in all spheres of life. According to the President, personal bravery grows into the bravery of people, societies, and states, and as a result, into the bravery of the continent. He noted "All of you can look at the path that your countries have taken in the struggle for freedom for people, in the struggle for our Europe, which we know and value, and see that it was the path of courage - of specific courageous people who built our community of free nations." 

Following his speech, President Zelenskyy took questions from EUniWell students on topics ranging from European values to Ukraine’s position in Europe. . He expressed his gratitude to those universities hosting Ukrainian students since the beginning of the conflict, and invited students to visit Ukraine following the war.

This unique event was facilitated by EUniWell member Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (KNU). The Rector of KNU, Professor Volodymyr Bugrov commented, “We sincerely believe that the ideas of well-being and sustainable development should be applied in the field of education, promoting the activity and involvement of all stakeholders - students, teachers, university staff and representatives of the public sector. Such cooperation, based on our common values, has a future in a united and fraternal Europe.”

Professor Beatrix Busse, the EUniWell Chief Development Officer and Vice-Rector of the University of Cologne commented after the event, “This was a fantastic opportunity for EUniWell to engage with President Zelenskyy.  We believe that EUniWell’s mission focused on Well-Being reflects European values. The fact that the President of Ukraine chose to meet with EUniWell students and staff on Europe Day, demonstrates that pursuing well-being at individual and societal levels is essential even in the midst of the war.  We are grateful to the President for speaking with us on this day.”

Europe Day panel discussion: Peace and unity within the European Union

Following the discussion with President Zelenskyy, EUniWell hosted an open panel discussion, addressing the current situation in Ukraine and exploring the role of European University Alliances in fostering peace and unity within Europe. Distinguished speakers included EUniWell's Chief Development Officer, Prof. Beatrix Busse, Prof. Kseniia Smyrnova, Vice-Rector for Education at KNU, and educational and science journalist Katja Nellissen.

KNU has been severely impacted by the ongoing war,  EUniWell is committed to  its ongoing support for peace, democracy, and human rights in solidarity with our KNU colleagues and students.

Background: Europe Day

The events took place in the framework of Europe Day 2023. Europe Day is celebrated annually on 9 May to mark the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration of 1950, which proposed the creation of a European trade union and is considered the foundation of the European Union. 


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