President of Ukraine

The First Lady and representatives of the Ukrainian Institute visited the Sorbonne University: a memorandum of cooperation was signed and books were donated to the library

9 November 2023 - 16:53

The First Lady and representatives of the Ukrainian Institute visited the Sorbonne University: a memorandum of cooperation was signed and books were donated to the library

First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska and Director General of the Ukrainian Institute Volodymyr Sheiko visited the Sorbonne, one of the oldest universities in the world. The Ukrainian Institute signed a memorandum of cooperation with the university, and now Ukrainian studies programs will be developed there again.

Olena Zelenska emphasized that since 2012, there have been no Ukrainian studies at the Sorbonne, while there are master's programs in Russian culture. After meeting with President of Sorbonne University Nathalie Drach-Temam, the First Lady expressed hope that a Ukrainian studies course would be introduced.

"It would be fair if the world studied the culture of those peoples who for many centuries were under the influence of the Russian and then Soviet empires. There are many of these peoples. I hope that someday the Crimean Tatar people, one of the peoples subjugated by Russia and now expelled from Crimea, will be studied in the same way. Until now, there was no Ukrainian studies at the Sorbonne. But today we have taken a step towards restoring it – the Sorbonne University has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Ukrainian Institute. We hope that over time, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar studies, internship and exchange programs dedicated to Ukraine will appear here. There will be specialists who will know and understand Ukraine, its history and culture," the First Lady emphasized.

Olena Zelenska also met with Ukrainian and French students of the Sorbonne. During the speech and discussion, the First Lady thanked the institution for hosting Ukrainian students who were forced to leave their country due to the Russian invasion and organizing speeches by Ukrainian intellectuals, writers, and human rights activists.

The President's wife emphasized that there is no safe place to study in Ukraine due to constant Russian attacks.

"Recently, a Russian missile destroyed a building of Kherson University. Russian bombs regularly fall on one of our oldest universities, Kharkiv University. It is usually emphasized that the Nobel laureate Lev Landau studied there. But in times of war, what is more important to me is what happens to today's students. Perhaps one of them is the future Landau. Maybe not. But they equally have the right to live. Instead, at Kharkiv University, there are dozens of names of deceased lecturers and students on a special honor board. Some died as a result of shelling of their hometown. Some went to the front just to prevent their loved ones from being killed by bombs on the street. When people ask what Ukraine is defending, what it is fighting for, it is precisely this: so that students can study and live in their country in peace, and not die under bombs in the streets," she said.

Olena Zelenska also donated Ukrainian publications on history, art, architecture, theater, and music to the Sorbonne University Library.

"Since the Russian invasion, the whole world has learned about Ukraine, mostly from the daily news. But I really want people to know about us from deeper sources. From scientific papers, from books. Because while the news tells us what is happening, books tell us why it is happening," the President's wife emphasized.