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Experience of the University of Latvia in Crisis Response and Support of
Ukrainian Community in Riga

The University of Latvia (UL) team hosted an engaging event on May 19th, 2023,
focusing on education institutions experience in crisis response and support for the
Ukrainian community in Riga. The event featured the participation of 25 students, 4
researchers, and 1 student council representative.

The primary goal of the event was to explore how educational institutions can
empower students and citizens for social action during crises while highlighting the
University of Latvia’s practices in crisis response. Additionally, the event aimed to
share valuable research experience from Ukraine in Riga, providing insights and
lessons learned for enhancing crisis management strategies in educational settings.
Ukrainian researchers and students from the University of Latvia actively participated
in the event, providing valuable input on how to enhance support mechanisms for the
Ukrainian community.

The impact of the event was significant, with participants
delving into research conducted by universities on the Ukrainian war’s impact on
Ukrainians residing in Latvia. The discussions revolved around ongoing research
projects such as “The War in Ukraine – Measurement Tools for Neighboring
Countries” at the University of Latvia, which witnessed active student participation.
Participants also highlighted surveys conducted by organizations like the Student
Council, aimed at understanding the sentiments of Ukrainian students in Latvia.
Several valuable ideas emerged for further research areas related to the war in
Ukraine. These included the integration of Ukrainians into Latvian society, the quality
of assistance provided in Ukrainian refugee centers, and the reception capacity of
Latvian refugees.

To foster cultural exchange, participants suggested organizing more events to
introduce Latvians to Ukrainian culture and vice versa. To maintain public interest, it
was recommended that Radio NABA incorporate a weekly review of the ongoing
Russian war in Ukraine, involving experts and Ukrainian students to provide a
comprehensive perspective. Radio NABA could also promote cultural appreciation by
playing an increased selection of Ukrainian music. Acknowledging the challenges
faced by Ukrainian students in terms of isolation, networking events were proposed as
part of the learning process, providing support and helping them.

As a future recommendation, the event proposed the creation of a mentoring program
where each Ukrainian student would have a dedicated contact person, offering
individualized support and guidance to enhance their experience at the university.