It was a unique moment Wednesday for 10 Canadian universities, including Queen’s.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke remotely to students and scholars from his war-torn country.
Through a translator, President Zelenskyy spoke to university students and scholars from as far away as the University of Prince Edward Island to universities west of Calgary and Alberta.
Katrina Korotky, co-president of the Ukrainian Student Union at Queen’s University, says she has no words to describe how the Ukrainian president took the time to talk to students and answer their questions.
“We know we’re doing our part, and we know we’re doing our best, and to have him have the time to speak with us is just very, very emotional,” Korotky said.
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In his speech, the Ukrainian president continued his political offensive to maintain and strengthen global support for his country, which was invaded by Vladimir Putin’s Russia last February.
Zelenskyy highlighted common Canadian and Ukrainian values such as democracy and how education has changed in times of war.
“Teachers at our universities sometimes teach from the trenches, from the front line,” Zelenskyy said.
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These statements have affected the public of university students.
“Honestly, very inspiring,” Korotky said. “I had no idea teachers were doing this on the front line, and it’s great that they can do this.”
A University of Alberta student asked Zelenskyy what they should ask of Canada’s political leaders to better support the Ukrainian people.
Zelensky’s response was familiar and consistent.
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“We need weapons, we need financial support, we need humanitarian support, and we need permanent 24/7 sanctions pressure,” Zelenskyy said. .
Korotky, in his role with the Ukrainian Student Association, has organized rallies and says he has worked with the charity Help Us Help, which collects medical supplies for civilians in Ukraine.
And Korotky says other initiatives are in the works.
“What we’re really missing are feminine hygiene products, so I think one fundraiser that will separate us from other universities is that we’ll probably fundraise for those kinds of products,” she said. declared.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is now almost four months old.
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