Israel-Ukraine: Intensifying partnership in higher education

Rector of Poltava National Technical University Volodymyr Onishchenko during the EducationalForum in Israel.

The Israeli-Ukrainian educational forum “EduMission-2019” was an important event for the intensification of direct cooperation between the universities of the two countries.

Representatives of eight Ukrainian universities met with their Israeli counterparts at the end of June 2019. Israelis and Ukrainians exchanged best practices and also discussed international partnerships in higher education.

The Ukrainian guests visited the Shimon Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, as well as five Israeli universities: Hebrew (Jerusalem), Tel Aviv, Ariel, Technion, and the University of Haifa.

This forum, organized by the Israeli Friends of Ukraine NGO was made possible with the support of the Canadian philanthropic fund Ukrainian Jewish Encounter, as well as with informational support from the Embassy of Ukraine to Israel and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. The Ambassador of Ukraine to the State of Israel, Hennadii Nadolenko, and Roman Hreba, the Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, personally participated in this forum.

When a delegation of twelve rectors and heads of international departments from various universities of Ukraine visited the University of Haifa, the guests heard first-hand the story of Dr. Valentyna Klymyuk from Ukraine, who has achieved brilliant research results as part of the Institute of Evolution of the University of Haifa.

The practical result of this forum was the signing in July 2019 of the first-ever cooperation agreement between the universities of Odessa and Haifa. Professor Manfred Green, head of the international program at the School of Public Health at the University of Haifa, and Professor Valeria Marichereda of the Odessa National Medical University signed a memorandum of understanding and partnership. Professor Green received the status of a visiting professor, and he will join the academic staff in Odessa in November 2019.

Ukrainian guests of Educational Forum-2019 in Israel.

Forum participant Olena Shapovalova, director of the Ukrainian State Center for International Education, told the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter that 2,460 Israelis are currently studying in Ukrainian universities. This figure is growing. Ukrainian universities for the 2018-2019 academic year alone received applications from 1,061 Israelis. Most (1,550) study at medical universities in Odesa, Kharkiv, and Dnipro. The most popular academic fields among Israelis in Ukraine are general medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine.

In reality, to the number of Israelis mentioned above, we need to add several thousand more people having both Ukrainian and Israeli passports who study in Ukraine. These are people born in Ukraine and repatriated to Israel during childhood or adolescence. They are registered in universities of Ukraine as Ukrainian citizens, but for Israel they are Israelis. Thus, today, at least four to five thousand citizens of Israel study at the universities of Ukraine.

Summing up the Educational Forum-2019, the Rector of Poltava National Technical University Volodymyr Onishchenko told the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter: “It’s my first time in Israel. This is a very interesting country, with many historical places, and wonderful and kind people. After our visit to Israel, we have developed new ideas—for example, the creation of an innovation center at our university.”

Text and photos: Shimon Briman (Israel).
Edited by Peter Bejger.