Support for the people of Ukraine

By Jeff Keshen, President & Vice-Chancellor Posted: February 25, 2022 2:00 p.m.

Like much of Canada, the University of Regina enjoys close connections with Ukraine.
Like much of Canada, the University of Regina enjoys close connections with Ukraine. Photo: iStock

These are indeed trying times for humanity.

As we continue to navigate the latest stages of the global pandemic and determine what it means to live in the context of COVID-19, we find ourselves subject to a constant stream of other negative news, including: the escalating costs of food, housing, and transportation; what many perceive as the increasing polarization of our society; and now, war in Eastern Europe.

The casualties of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began Thursday – the largest military incursion in Europe since the Second World War – are already mounting. Hundreds of military personnel and innocent civilians have been reported killed or injured. Families are being separated, with thousands of people forced from their homes in search of safety in other parts of the country and beyond. People are sleeping in subway stations to escape shelling, and thousands, if not millions, of civilians are risking their lives to try to repel the invading Russian military.

A modern democracy is under attack before our eyes, and with it, the lives of millions both within Ukraine and beyond are being shattered.

Here in Saskatchewan, our community and our campus have close ties to the people of Ukraine through our provincial Ukrainian communities, Ukrainian students studying either here or in their home country, and numerous partnerships and exchange opportunities that have been developed through the years. Our hearts ache for our Ukrainian friends and family.

In times like this, it is natural to feel powerless . . . even hopeless. But in such dark times, like many around the world – including countless citizens in Russia who are risking their own safety by protesting this war – we can find hope by demonstrating compassion and doing what we can to help address the plight of others. In short, we can find hope by affirming a sense of humanity that sometimes seems lost from our world.

One way we can take meaningful action to help ease the suffering of the Ukrainian people is by contributing to organizations devoted to helping those affected by this crisis. There are many ways to do so.

The Canadian Red Cross, for example, has set up a dedicated fund for donations in support of the Ukrainian humanitarian crisis. The Government of Saskatchewan is encouraging people to join it in donating to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation, a registered charity created by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress to deliver aid to the people of Ukraine. And there are many other organizations that are providing diverse supports to Ukraine.

Every member of the University’s Executive Team – including me – has committed to personally make a donation to help the people of Ukraine, and we encourage other members of our University community to consider doing the same as you are able.

Perhaps we won’t feel quite as powerless if we provide what support and hope we can when others need it most.

Jeff Keshen
President and Vice-Chancellor