Author Margaret Atwood, historian Timothy Snyder (Yale), two of Ukraine’s preeminent public intellectuals, Mychailo Wynnyckyj and Volodymyr Yermolenko, will join a slate of well-known philosophers at an online benefit conference for Ukraine taking place next month.
The conference, “What Good Is Philosophy? The Role of the Academy in a Time of Crisis,” is intended to raise funds to establish a Centre for Civic Engagement at Kyiv Mohyla Academy, which in turn will provide support for academic and civic institutions in Ukraine to counteract the destabilizing impact that Russia’s invasion has had on Ukrainian higher education and civilian life.
The conference is being organized by Aaron Wendland (KCL, Massey College). He spent the past summer covering civilian life in Ukraine for The Toronto Star. He says, “My desire to generate support for the Ukrainian academy emerged when I started working on a story about the state of education in Ukraine and when I realized how much maintaining a functioning civil society meant for Ukraine’s morale.” He provides the following background:
According to the latest report from the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science, seven thousand scholars have fled Ukraine and thousands more have been displaced within the country since Russia launched a full-scale invasion on 24 February 2022. To date, over 170 Ukrainian institutions of higher education have been damaged and more than 20 have been completely destroyed. And the academics who stayed in Ukraine now conduct their research, teaching, and public service in very challenging circumstances.
After Russia invaded Ukraine, universities around the world began helping Ukrainian academics in exile through a mix of publicly and privately funded ‘scholars at risk’ initiatives. These initiatives have done much to help Ukrainian refugees. But the loss of faculty combined with the destruction of basic infrastructure means that the Ukrainian academy is in dire need of international assistance. That said, the Centre for Civic Engagement will begin addressing the needs of the Ukrainian academy by offering institutional, intellectual, and financial support for students, scholars, and publicly engaged academics in Ukraine.
The philosophers speaking at the conference include Peter Adamson, Elizabeth Anderson, Seyla Benhabib, Judith Butler, Agnes Callard, Quassim Cassam, Tim Crane, Simon Critchley, David Enoch, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Sally Haslanger, Angie Hobbs, Barry Lam, Melissa Lane, Dominic Lopes, Kate Manne, Jeff McMahan, Jennifer Nagel, Philip Pettit, Kieran Setiya, Jason Stanley, Timothy Williamson, and Jonathan Wolff.
If you are interested in contributing to the fundraising effort, you can make a donation here.
UPDATE (3/14/23): Dr. Wendland shares a link to the conference schedule and writes:
Abstracts for all the talks can be found here. It is also worth noting that there was recently a time change in North America, and that means Toronto will be 4 hours behind London, 5 hours behind Berlin, 6 hours behind Kyiv, and 15 hours behind Sydney when the conference takes place on 17-19 March 2023.
The conference will be broadcast for free on the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy’s YouTube channel. However, we clearly encourage everyone who attends to donate, and we recommend the following ‘conference fee’ for members of the academic community:
$25 – Undergraduate Students
$50 – Graduate Students
$75 – Post-doc Researchers
$100 – Junior Faculty
$200 – Senior Faculty
All donations can be made here. Donors will be immediately issued a receipt for tax or expense purposes. And we are certainly grateful for any and every financial contribution.