As the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine continues, Western has announced an increase of $600,000 in direct financial support for students and scholars facing disruption and displacement due to conflict or war in their home countries.
“Our goal is to create new pathways to Western for those looking to pursue education and scholarship in the safety of our campus community, and to enhance support for current international students from countries in crisis,” said Western President Alan Shepard.
Financial support will be made available to both current and new international undergraduate and graduate students in need of assistance whose home countries have been devastated by wars and other disasters.
In addition, new six- to 12-month research opportunities will be made available to visiting undergraduate or graduate students displaced by global crises.
Working in partnership with the international Scholars At Risk network, Western will also provide support for three new displaced scholars to come to Western. This is in addition to Scholars at Risk support for Afghan scholars Western announced last year.
“This new commitment builds on existing programs and supports Western already has in place and provides additional funding to support both our current students and displaced students and scholars,” said Lise Laporte, senior director, Western International.
Over and above current financial support, the Ivey Business School plans to welcome 12 Ukrainian students through the new Ivey MBA Ukraine Students Academic Shelter Program, which will offer displaced graduate students from Ukraine free tuition, housing and learning materials, including a monthly stipend, to attend Ivey on an exchange basis. The program will be open to students enrolled in a masters-level program in business, finance, marketing, technology or economics at Lviv Business School and the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Should all 10 spots be filled, Ivey’s total investment would be more than $1 million.
Western is also launching a fundraising campaign to establish a Student Crisis Relief Fund, with the goal of providing ongoing support for current students whose education has been disrupted by natural disasters, war or other geopolitical events.
The university is currently supporting a number of international students from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, who are facing disruption and uncertainty due to Russia’s war on Ukraine.
“The Western community has a compassionate history of offering this kind of support, as demonstrated by our response to humanitarian crises in Syria and Afghanistan, and our scholarships for Iranian students following the downing of Flight 752 in 2020,” said Shepard. “Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, teams in Western International, the Registrar’s Office and across the university have mobilized to support those most affected by the crisis.”
In addition to financial assistance, Western is providing health and wellness support for students.
“Financial assistance is one piece, but we also have critical well-being supports in place to help students, including priority access to mental health and counseling appointments,” said Laporte.
With supports and services available across campus, Laporte said the goal is to provide a single point of entry for affected students, as well as for community members interested in helping displaced students and scholars.
“We want to provide a central point of contact for students and prevent them from having to knock on different doors during a difficult time,” said Laporte. “Western International acts as this access point for students, and we then help connect them with additional, wrap-around supports – whether they be financial, or health and well-being-related.”