Rector: Ukraine is fighting for the whole free world
On 22 August, the UT Botanical Garden hosted Rector Toomas Asser's reception to Ukrainian members of the university in honour of the Independence Day of Ukraine. Ukraine gained independence in 1991 and celebrates Independence Day on 24 August. Rector of the University of Tartu Toomas Asser and Lecturer in Artificial Intelligence of the Institute of Computer Science Dmytro Fishman spoke at the event.
"Unfortunately, this year's Ukrainian Independence Day is not just a day of joy," said the rector in his speech. "For half a year now, Ukraine has been a war zone. A battlefield where a criminal regime is waging an imperialist war to expand the borders of its reign of terror in order to maintain power, committing ever more unspeakable crimes in the process. Ukraine and Ukrainians can be proud of their heroic resistance to the aggressors, and feel the sympathy and admiration of the whole free world. Ukraine is fighting for the whole free world."
Asser emphasised that this war can only end with the victory of truth and justice – with the victory for Ukraine. "Even after victory, however, the troubles are far from over, for there will be a great reconstruction work ahead. This work will require motivated and skilled people. Ukrainians can count on the help of all their friends. The University of Tartu is also willing to contribute by helping train the professionals that Ukrainian society desperately needs. This autumn, the university family will be joined by more than 200 new Ukrainian students who will start their studies on free student places opened with the support of the Estonian state," said Asser.
Dmytro Fishman, Lecturer in Artificial Intelligence of the University of Tartu Institute of Computer Science, who has represented the university's Ukrainian staff since the beginning of the war and been the main spokesperson for the University of Tartu's Ukrainian working group, began his speech by congratulating Estonians on the occasion of their recent Restoration of Independence Day and then continued in Ukrainian. "Unfortunately, this is not an ordinary reception on the occasion of our Independence Day, and I will not make it look like nothing is happening. There is a full-scale war going on, and our brave armed forces and self-defence forces continue fighting the enemy," said Fishman.
The University of Tartu has not simply stood by but has made a clear commitment to Ukraine and Ukrainians from the very first day of the aggression. Already on the second day, the Rector's Office held a meeting to discuss a plan for helping our teaching staff, researchers, students and their families. I am delighted that a large part of what was planned has been put into practice," said Fishman. According to him, the most important has been creating new student places for Ukrainian students who can now continue their studies at the University of Tartu.
"Ukraine was, is and will remain an independent and sovereign state. We were not defeated in three days, nor thirty-three, and we will not be defeated in three hundred thousand and three," said Fishman at the end of his speech.
At the reception, Heinike Heinsoo, Associate Professor emeritus of the University of Tartu and Lecturer of Estonian Language and Culture at Lviv University, presented her new bilingual Estonian language textbook written specifically for Ukrainian learners, Естонська мова з пів слова. Eesti keel ja eesti meel. "This book aims to help the learner use the Estonian language creatively. In addition to grammar, language learning must include a playful component and improvisation, be related to real life and engage the learner", said Heinsoo. She added that her students from Lviv University also contributed to the textbook.
Accordion and violin duo Alamakstud Härrad from the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy set the mood at the event.
On Wednesday, 24 August, Ukrainian Independence Day is also celebrated at the Ukrainian House in Tartu. There will be a charity café, handicraft sale, camo net weaving, a collective artistic action supporting Ukraine's defenders and a concert of Ukrainian songs.
See the gallery.
The university repeats its call to help Ukrainian students continue their studies at the University of Tartu. More than 200 new Ukrainian students join the university family this autumn, so everyone's continuing support is essential.