Masaryk University has won the 2022 Award for Excellence in Internationalization from the European Association for International Education (EAIE). The EAIE has recognized MU for its activities aimed at helping international students during the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. University officials will receive the award on 13 September at the annual EAIE conference in Barcelona.
This year, the EAIE celebrates and calls attention to higher education institutions that not only have gone above and beyond in their internationalization policies and efforts but are also inspiring role models for other universities in today’s unpredictable world marked by the effects of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
The EAIE has highlighted Masaryk University’s responses to both global crises as this year’s most inspiring approach to internationalization. The EAIE has recognized MU for the activities of the newly founded MUNI HELPS Volunteer Centre, the University’s exemplary crisis communication and the support provided to international students during the pandemic, and activities helping Ukrainian students and academics after the war broke out in Ukraine, in which University departments and units across the University and its ten faculties are taking part.
In March, MU launched a fundraising campaign for Ukrainian students and academics fleeing the war; thus far, more than 800 donors have contributed nearly 1.4 million crowns. In addition, MU has created a special scholarship fund for Ukrainians, launched a special admissions programme, and opened Czech courses for them. MU also established a staff support programme to hire Ukrainian academics and researchers. The University has also offered all incoming Ukrainians accommodation, psychological counselling, and interpretation services.
“I am glad that we have been getting good news recently. It is almost unbelievable how much we were able to achieve during COVID-19 and this war, which is killing innocent people not very far away from us. In the last year, we jumped 200 places in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and for the first time in history, we are now one of the best 500 universities in the world. We have obtained prestigious international grants, and our volunteer activities have received acclaim throughout Europe. What volunteers from MUNI HELPS and others in the MU community have accomplished thanks to their commitment is admirable. I thank them for their efforts,” said Martin Bareš, rector of Masaryk University.
A second internationalization award
Masaryk University has received its second internationalization award. The first time was in 2012, when the EAIE began awarding the prizes. MU was the first institution to receive this new award. The jury awarded the prize to MU for its University-wide internationalization strategy, which few European universities had at that time, and for coordinating more than 40 Erasmus Mundus projects, the third highest number in Europe.
“The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a brand-new activity that would then be transformed to respond to the war in Ukraine. And this prize is evidence of the massive impact of our activities on the international community because it is awarded only to higher education institutions that have demonstrated outstanding results in this area and successfully implemented strategies and activities related to internationalization,” added Břetislav Dančák, MU vice-rector for internationalization.
MU officials will receive the Award for Excellence in Internationalization in mid-September at the three-day annual EAIE conference, which is attended every year by more than 5,000 people working in international education from around the world. Masaryk University will have a one-of-kind opportunity to present the MUNI HELPS initiative and other activities for international students, employees, and partners to the attendees at a special evening session.