On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine, sparking a humanitarian disaster which has seen nearly 10 million flee their homes and 3.5 million leave the country altogether. Far removed from the brutal fighting, many in the IE Community wished to help. Nearly instantly, students, professors, and the administration used IE’s strong human and financial resources to help those affected. Below are a few examples of the IE Community’s efforts.
IE Foundation and the Spanish Red Cross
When the invasion occurred, the IE Foundation – which operates as IE University’s charity wing, sponsoring scholarships, events, and IE’s observatories – asked itself: “How can we help?”
“We don’t have any humanitarian aid action within our bylaws,” Director General Geoffroy Gerard explained to The Stork. This put the Foundation in a tricky situation; in what ways could they help the situation in Ukraine with their institutional limits?
“One was to create awareness around the cause,” furthered Gerard. This included the well-attended Global and Public Affairs School’s Ukraine discussion, featuring professors Michele Testoni, Nikolina Židek, Andrew Bertoli, Evan Liaras, and Susanna Torres, and moderated by Susana Malcorra. The discussion included a presentation by a Ukrainian student who had to flee to Western Ukraine from Kyiv.
However, the Foundation wanted to do more. “When this cause arrived in front of us,” said Gerard, “we felt like we needed to do something that was sufficiently general so that all of the community of IE, not only its students here but the alumni, the families, everyone, every stakeholder could join.”
Thus, the Foundation partnered with the Spanish Red Cross, allowing money donated on its special platform to go to the Red Cross’ efforts in and around Ukraine.
“That’s the first time we do a humanitarian aid initiative,” said Gerard.
To keep the efforts within the Foundation’s bylaws, it will “match everything that is raised into creating initiatives of scholarships, of support, that will go on top of everything that is raised.”
From the beginning, Gerard noticed a “great, strong will among the community” to support Ukraine through this war, and the IE Foundation has indeed stepped up to help as they can.
Save Ukraine Student Movement
The Save Ukraine Student Movement is an all-encompassing movement of students worldwide, which works on many fronts to help Ukrainians affected by the war. Currently in the process of registering as a French non-profit, the movement encompasses 169 members, across 67 cities and 41 nationalities. It stemmed from collaboration between students at the ESCP business school and students from IE University.
“The organization undertakes a variety of activities,” explained fifth year BIR-LLB student Ecab Amor, one of the directors of the Save Ukraine Student Movement, but it targets the conflict through two main activities.
First, the organization sells t-shirts, with 100% of the profits supporting humanitarian relief. The shirts are sold in partnership with Stand Up Ukraine, and carry Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky’s famous quote: “I need ammunition, not a ride.”
The organization also works to provide legal services to Ukrainian refugees. “By connecting refugee agencies with legal professionals,” explained Amor, “we seek to ameliorate their transition into a variety of different countries.” So far, much of this effort has focused on other jurisdictions, mainly France, but conversations in Spain are taking place to set up pro-bono work here.
“All of the work we are trying to do requires a lot of different people from a lot of different academic backgrounds,” said Amor to The Stork. Thus, they are currently looking for students worldwide to join their movement.
Any student interested “in either joining the movement directly and aiding us in the administration of the organization,” or looking “to give your own initiative greater exposure and legitimacy by incorporating [their] project into the movement” can reach out to the organization, either via Instagram (@Save_Ukraine_Student_Movement) or their website: https://saveukrainestudentmovement.org/.
Every facet of the IE Community, from students and alumni to the administration, have gotten involved to help the situation in Ukraine, and countless efforts have been made across the community. While not all covered here, the IE Community’s initiatives to help Ukrainian refugees only look to expand in the near future.