Amid Crisis in Ukraine, Brown Community Unites to Provide Support and Host Discussions
Michael D. Kennedy, professor of sociology at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Tony Levitas, senior fellow at the Watson Institute, and Natasha Rybak, assistant professor at Warren Alpert Medical School who leads longtime Brown University in Ukraine. The collaboration through the University’s Global Health Initiative is between several leaders affiliated with the University of Friends of Ukraine RI, a private ad hoc group formed to provide funds to Ukrainian citizens who are mobilizing to defend their borders against Russian attacks. As of March 3, their fundraising campaign had raised $42,000 in less than a week for the purchase and delivery of medical supplies – such as medical splints, sterile wipes and thermal blankets – to Ukrainians who were installing makeshift hospitals to treat the wounded.
Levitas, who has spent much of his adult life working in Ukraine, said the group connects with Ukrainians on the ground through a network of 11,000 former Peace Corps members who had worked in Ukraine and Poland.
“We really started this out of a feeling of helplessness,” Levitas told ABC 6 television in Providence on Tuesday, March 1. don’t know what you can really do. So we just said, we have to fundraise.
During this time, scholars across campus worked to share historical context and provide forums for discussion and debate.
The Choices Program, a branch of Brown’s History Department where students and faculty work together to create innovative K-12 curricula on important topics in history and current issues, created a free downloadable lesson on the Ukrainian crisis available to all teachers. The program guides teachers through a one-day lesson that uses news and political cartoons to explore the current situation in Ukraine and its historical origins.
Nicole Jarvis, a ninth grade teacher in Vancouver, British Columbia, said on Twitter that the program helped her guide her class through the history of the conflict and the current international response this week.
“They support high school teachers like me who rightfully need relevant teaching resources and materials,” Jarvis said of the Choices program. “This lesson sequence is a wonderful thing for me.”
On Tuesday March 1, the Department of History organized a workshop and a roundtable on the crisis. The event featured short reflections from several faculty members with personal and academic ties to Ukraine, including history and Slavic studies faculty members Masako Fidler, Fabrizio Fenghi and Ethan Pollock, Ph.D. story. candidates Alexandra Morehead and Julia Gettle, former Harry Merritt and student Brehan Brady.
On Thursday, March 3, the Watson Institute convened a Ukraine Invasion Crisis Seminar, where visiting professor Lyle Goldstein led a panel discussion among students, faculty, and staff. Earlier this winter, the Watson Institute hosted a panel discussion highlighting Ukrainian, Russian and European perspectives on the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian crisis, and its Trending Globally podcast featured an interview with Kennedy, which provided historical context. for the current tensions between the two countries.
“As always,” Paxson wrote in his letter to the Brown community, “our university stands together in times of crisis. We have resources to support members of our community and scholars and students displaced by the conflict. We encourage you to stay informed and continue to support each other.