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Invisible University for Ukraine (IUFU)

CEU launched a certificate program (offering ECTS credits) for junior and senior undergraduate (BA) and graduate (MA and PhD) students from Ukraine, whose studies have been affected by the war, whether still residing in Ukraine or in refuge.

The name of this transnational solidarity program evokes the various nineteenth and twentieth-century underground and exile educational initiatives (such as the “flying universities”) in Eastern Europe, as well as the tradition of Invisible Colleges formed after 1989 in the region.

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The program offers an intensive learning experience on the role of Ukraine in changing European and global contexts, placing questions relevant for Ukrainian students into a transnational comparative perspective.  The program is not meant to replace or duplicate the existing education opportunities in Ukrainian universities, but to support them by filling the lacunae that temporarily emerged due to the Russian invasion. By strengthening the ties of Ukrainian educational institutions, as well as scholars and students, to transnational networks, we hope to counter the destructive effects of brain drain through creating access to educational infrastructure and academic knowledge for students irrespective of their current location. The program is designed in a hybrid format (online teaching with a possibility of shorter on-site visit to Budapest in the form of a winter and summer schools). 

The program is implemented by Central European University (Budapest Campus), in cooperation with the DI and Ukrainian (Ivan Franko National University of Lviv and Ukrainian Catholic University), and EU-based (Imre Kertész Kolleg at the University of Jena) university partners. CEU recently joined the Ukrainian Global University initiative; we also seek to expand partnerships with universities in Kyiv, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Odesa and other Ukrainian university centers.

The educational program is comprised of three components:

  • online thematic lecture courses (in the humanities and social sciences),
  • mentoring (in English and Ukrainian)
  • skill-building (academic English, academic writing) and career support for future education.
The project is supported by the Open Society University Network, with co-funding from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), as well as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Learn more here


Program director: Ostap Sereda, Associate Professor in History at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv and recurrent guest professor at CEU.

Main organizers:

  • László Kontler, CEU Professor, History, Acting Rector of Közép-európai Egyetem, Research Affiliate, CEU Democracy Institute
  • Vladimir Petrovic, Research Professor, Institute of Contemporary History, Belgrade, and Research Affiliate, CEU Democracy Institute
  • Joachim von Puttkamer, Professor in History at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena and Director of the Imre Kertész Kolleg
  • Nazar Stetsyk, Associate Professor, Department of Theory and Philosophy of Law, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv.
  • Balázs Trencsényi, CEU, Professor, History Department, lead researcher of Democracy in History WG, CEU Democracy Institute
  • Renáta Uitz, CEU Professor, Legal Studies, Co-Director, CEU Democracy Institute

Watch the video of the 2023 Summer School in Budapest:

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The program is taught by prominent scholars linked to the Central European University (including members of its faculty, as well as researchers of CEU Democracy Institute and the Open Society Archives), Ukrainian and German partner institutions, and internationally renowned specialists of the topics from East Central Europe, Western Europe, and North America. The mentoring is offered by advanced doctoral candidates from these institutions.

The program categorically excludes any cooperation with scholars having current affiliation with any Russian state institutions or anyone supporting the Russian aggression. Some prominent Russian colleagues who protested against the Russian invasion in Ukraine, gave up their position, and emigrated, after being targeted by the authorities for their critical stance, will also contribute to co-teaching some of the classes. In addition, some current CEU PhD students of Russian background who publicly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine will take part in the small group seminars.

Watch a report about the Invisible University for Ukraine by Szabad Europa Radio (Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty):

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