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Purdue to welcome Ukrainian scholars following Russia's invasion

Purdue University leaders said they plan to receive up to 20 people who were faculty members at Ukrainian universities to continue their research here.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Indiana may soon welcome some Ukrainian scholars who are displaced by war. 

Purdue University leaders said they plan to receive up to 20 people who were faculty members at Ukrainian universities to continue their research here. With staff ties to the ongoing conflict, they felt compelled to act. 

"We're trying to step up and be of help," said Michael Brzezinski, dean of international programs at Purdue.

It's been more than a month since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. Weeks later, the war has killed thousands of Ukrainian citizens and displaced millions of men, women and children across the globe.

Soon after the conflict began, some Purdue faculty with Ukrainian ties came forward, calling for action. Brzezinski said the university quickly put together a plan to bring up to 20 Ukrainian scholars to campus.

"It is not going to be easy to implement," Brzezinski said. "We do have many faculty with Ukraine connections, other faculty collaborators that they've worked with in the past. So we believe we have a significant number of individuals that already have existing relationships that we could work together to pull this off."

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Brzezinski said finding men and women who fit the bill may be tricky. Ukraine has placed a ban on men ages 18 to 60 from leaving the country, while others are displaced around Europe, and simply reaching the U.S. to get to Purdue may be challenging. 

But already, Brzezinski said they've had some Ukrainian citizens reaching out about their offer, as have faculty members with ties to Ukrainian scholars. Already, they have several people lined up that they hope to invite soon.

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"Now we're in a matchmaking business, trying to find parties from abroad in Ukraine who are interested in certain research areas and then, finding Purdue host faculty who would have similar research interests," Brzezinski said.

Who is eligible? 

Purdue says those who held faculty positions at Ukrainian universities and were engaged in academic research and those who were enrolled in doctoral programs at Ukrainian universities and have reached the dissertation stage of their degree program. 

Scholars who come to Purdue will be able to stay for a year, possibly more, depending on the situation in Ukraine, continuing their research on campus.

Brzezinski said they're hopeful this act, though small, can make an impact.

"Purdue is trying to offer help to Ukraine in this small way," Brzezinski said. "We know this is not a major program, but it's one meaningful way we think we can contribute and be of assistance."

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