Masaryk University continues to support Ukraine. The event was a bit of a deviation from the usual forms of MU assistance such as scholarships, internships, employment, accommodation, Czech language courses and psychological counselling – a social gathering with the screening of the successful Czech film Zátopek.
In a short introductory speech before the screening, MU Rector Martin Bareš reiterated his support for the Ukrainian people. “What you and your country are experiencing is unimaginably hard. The Russian army’s conduct does not belong in the civilised Europe of the 21st century. Masaryk University, true to the name as well as the legacy of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, is trying to help as much as it can. Our assistance consists not merely of flying flags and other symbolic gestures – we offer concrete benefits such as scholarships and employment opportunities. And we thank you for choosing to work or study at Masaryk University while staying in the Czech Republic,” said Mr Bareš.
Zátopek portrays the Czech society in the post-WWII years and during the ‘normalisation’ period of the 1970s, but also the sportsmanship and strength of spirit that still inspires thousands of athletes around the world. The film also tells the story of the unique relationship of one of the most successful sporting couples in history, Emil and Dana Zátopek. Many of its scenes made the audience laugh out loud, bringing some much-needed mirth in these difficult days.
“I’m glad I could come here today, forget about what’s going on and relax for a while. The whole situation in our country is very difficult for me mentally. Most of my family remain in Ukraine, fortunately in places that are relatively safe,” said Sofiia Kachusova, a student at the Faculty of Arts, after the screening, adding that she appreciated that the Rector keeps reminding people about what is happening in Ukraine. “Most of all, I wish the war would finally end so that I could continue to live in peace and study like everyone else,” added Sofiia, who has lived in Brno for five years and is now finishing her Bachelor’s degree in Italian language and literature at the Faculty of Arts.
Anastasija Sokolova, who is an assistant professor at the Russian language department of the Faculty of Education, also welcomed MU’s assistance and position towards the Russian aggression in Ukraine. “I very much appreciate how the entire university and the Rector approach the situation, how they communicate a clear position – that we do not support the Russian invasion and we will continue to help Ukraine in any way we can,” said Sokolova. She has become actively involved in interpreting for Ukrainian employees at the Czech language courses and was pleased to meet many of them at the cinema for the screening of a Czech film.
One member of the audience was Alla Moskalets, who came to the Czech Republic from Mariupol two months ago. She now lives in Brno with her mother and daughter, while her husband and son remain in Ukraine. She has accepted an offer to work at the MU Faculty of Education, where she will deal with helping families and children with autism. “I am very grateful to Masaryk University for inviting us to this event. It is very important for Ukrainians here to meet not only each other but also to get to know the Czechs and their culture. I was very impressed by the film and I must admit that I have not laughed like this since the war began,” said Alla.
At the end of the meeting, Martin Bareš also emphasised the importance of integrating Ukrainians into Czech society. “I trust our students will do a great job in this regard. They are the ones who will show Ukrainian students around the university and the city and help them and their families integrate into our community.”
MUNI HELPS UKRAINE. You can continue supporting Ukrainian students and academics through aid earmarked for educational and humanitarian purposes. Financial contributions can be made in the form of a donation through the MU Shopping Centre. Information about the current amount donated can be found on the MUNI HELPS website.