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Ukrainian president gives live address to universities across Canada

By Roog Kubur, June 23 2022

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a live address via a YouTube livestream yesterday to post-secondary students at Canadian universities. 

The event was hosted by the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. It focused on how Canada and Canadian universities can support Ukraine amidst Russia’s invasion and included a question and answer session open to students attending in person.

The address opened with a statement from the director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy Dr. Peter Loewen. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland followed to introduce the president. 

President Zelenskyy said Ukraine remains committed to democracy despite the invasion. 

“We’ve already surprised the world,” he said. “And we shall prevail against all the odds for a free and democratic future.”

The questions from students touched on the future of Ukraine for Ukrainian youth, how different nations can support the country and the importance of the internet in raising awareness on the situation. 

“Social media and the internet is a space that gives an opportunity to cut distances,” he said. “In our case, it’s almost a weapon — it means freedom of press, freedom of speech and freedom of thought.”

He emphasized the importance of advocating for awareness of the war as a way to support the country. 

“With your actions, please do not allow anyone to forget about what’s going on in Ukraine,” he said.  

The address was broadcasted to the University of Calgary alongside nine other institutions across Canada, including the University of Alberta. 

U of C has opened the International Student Conflict Support Fund to provide financial support to undergraduate and graduate international students who have been affected by conflict in their home countries.

In addition to this, the International Graduate Student Crisis Support Scholarship has been made available to graduate students and the Students’ Greatest Need Fund for students unable to afford necessities.

The livestream can be found on YouTube.

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