President Bollinger announced earlier today that the University will begin assisting students and scholars that have been displaced by the war in Ukraine.

Columbia University will begin supporting students and scholars who have been displaced by the war in Ukraine, according to an email sent to students this afternoon from President Bollinger. As stated in Bollinger’s email, this is an extension of an earlier initiative that began last autumn and offered fellowships, residencies, and other academic opportunities to scholars from Afghanistan who were similarly displaced by crisis.

The original initiative was a joint effort between the Columbia Global Centers and the Columbia University Committee on Forced Migration. At the time, the University specified that the term ‘scholar’ should be broadly applied by academic units to “those from traditional academic disciplines– as well as practitioners, such as journalists, artists, and librarians” who were either at risk in Afghanistan or forced to flee elsewhere. The University particularly emphasized that the terms ‘scholar’ and practitioner’ should be interpreted as fluidly and widely as possible in order to provide assistance to as many people as possible.

The earlier initiative granted schools the ability to host at-risk or displaced scholars through such measures as “short-term visiting appointments, fellowships, assistantships, and residencies”, and also granted permission for schools and other academic institutions to “reallocate or accelerate” the number of visiting positions available for at-risk or displaced scholars.

Columbia has not yet released information on a process for identifying and vetting Ukrainian scholars and connecting them to academic opportunities.

In his statement, President Bollinger also emphasized the resources available to members of the Columbia community who have been affected by the war in Ukraine, directing those affected to messaging from the Office of University Life and the International Students and Scholars Office.

Email sent by President Bollinger to Students on Wednesday, March 2, at 4:19 pm: 

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

Following my statement from this past Thursday, I write on the horrors of the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine and the unspeakable acts of criminal violence, brutality, and violations of international law the world is now witnessing.

As hundreds of thousands of people are being forced from their homes, pouring into neighboring countries and nations across Europe, we, as an institution of learning, will expand the initiative we put in place for students and scholars displaced by the crisis in Afghanistan to include those seeking refuge from the war in Ukraine. We are eager to welcome these students and scholars to our campuses.

We also stand ready to support all members of our community whose lives have been upended by this war, particularly our Ukrainian and Russian students who are facing a bewildering and uncertain road ahead. The Office of University Life and the International Students and Scholars Office are reaching out to everyone affected to offer whatever assistance we can. More to follow.  


Lee C. Bollinger

Image via Bwog Staff