From the Front Line to Master’s Programs

Within the pilot project which was initiated only few months ago, four veterans of the Ukrainian-Russian war will receive stipends for master’s programs at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy – one of Ukraine’s best universities. Razom volunteers, and especially Razom vice-president Lyuba Shipovich, invested much time and effort to help launch the project.

After the North-American tour of the documentary “Invisible Battalion” several discussions were focused on Ukrainian veterans and their adaption to “normal” life after returning home from service. One of the most appealing ideas was to provide veterans with an opportunity to gain education in a professional field of their choice. An agreement with Kyiv-Mohyla Academy was established and fundraisers to cover master’s programs began.
“I truly believe that investment in education is a key to making the world a better place. Brave men and women who served our country deserve to get a chance for a good education in one of the best schools in Ukraine and once educated, they for sure can lead changes in the country,” said Lyuba Shipovich while organizing the biggest fundraiser for the cause.
This year, through various funding sources and thanks to numerous donors, the pilot project received $9,300. The raised amount was donated to the Kyiv-Mohyla Foundation of America and will finance the upcoming academic year for the four veterans, as well as small stipends to help them cover living expenses.
While the donations were made by many supporters inspired by the project, veterans were encouraged to apply to Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Out of all the veterans who applied, eleven were admitted to the university. Consequently, the project committee had to make tough decisions to determine who would receive this year’s stipends.
Interestingly, although every applicant could choose to study in any of the professional fields, they still all chose the same one.
“All candidates have chosen to apply to master’s program in Public Management and Administration, possibly because the key motivation of each of them is to develop the country they have been defending,” suggested one of the project committee members, Oksana Ivantsiv. Undoubtedly, what could be a better path for these veterans than to enable them to project their passion for Ukraine by continuing their service, but this time in a peaceful context? Oksana adds, “I thank everyone who supported creating of this stipend program; it is a unique chance to change the life of a certain person, as well as society at large. I believe that with new knowledge veterans will continue their service, as we have a different front line of change right here.”
As the Fall semester of the academic year approaches quickly, let’s meet the four successful applicants. The first stipend recipient is Dmytro Sychenko, who received a degree in history from Shevchenko Kyiv National University, went to serve directly after education, participated in ATO at different times, and wishes to directly influence the processes of state management. The second stipend goes to Roman Antyuhov, who was born and raised in Kyiv, joined the ATO in 2015 at 20 years of age, and dreams of becoming a civil servant to rebuild Ukraine – the country he defended in a war zone. The third stipend recipient is Andriy Matseyko. Andriy served in the ATO from June 2014 until February 2015. After his demobilization Andriy became a passionate activist and created a veteran movement in Kyiv. He is a cofounder of the NGO “Kyiv City Association of ATO Veterans.” Andriy wishes to join the civil service to apply his expertise from the private sector to building the state.
The fourth and the only female veteran who received the stipend this year is Andriana Susak. To ensure impartiality and objectivity, before making the decision to award the stipend, the project’s committee openly disclosed that two out of the four committee members know Andriana personally. But her story, experience, passion for learning, and incredible personality objectively played to Andriana’s advantage. Before Maidan Andriana Susak was a brand manager of an international company, later – a stormtrooper in a territorial defense battalion from 2014 to 2015, civic activist, a people’s diplomat, and a movie character in the documentary “Invisible Battalion.” She is now a student in the master’s program in Public Management and Administration at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.
We will certainly follow the academic progress of these promising students in Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and will share their stories and future successes. We wish them as much determination in conquering the academic “territories,” as they had in fighting for Ukraine!

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