In mid-August, Palacký University Olomouc was the first Czech university to express support for Belarusian citizens striving for liberal and democratic development in their homeland. At that time, UP also promised to devise special scholarships for Belarusians interested in studying in the Czech Republic. The project is now taking real shape. UP is offering selected students and academics extraordinary scholarships for study or research internships in Olomouc, in the total amount of €33,000. The first scholarship holders will be able to arrive in Olomouc during the beginning of the summer semester of this academic year, i.e. in February 2021.
“I have been following the disturbing developments in Belarus from the very start and I believe that Belarusian society will eventually embark on the path of freedom and democracy. In these difficult times, we should try to offer Belarusians solidarity and any kind of help. UP is strongly involved in Scholars at Risk, which helps endangered academics anywhere in the world. And Belarusian students and scientists do fall into this category. I am glad that we can help them,” said UP Rector Jaroslav Miller, in appreciation of the newly established scholarship programme.
UP has prepared scholarships for a total of five students and three or four academics from Belarusian State University in Minsk and Yanka Kupala State University in Grodno. A scholarship for four months is being prepared for individual students, in the amount of 800 euros per month. As for academics, they can come to Olomouc for a monthly internship with a stipend of 3,500 euros. Both students and academics will receive a travel allowance of 275 euros.
“In the past, especially after 1989, Palacký University experienced the support and generosity of Western universities, and thanks to them UP was able to develop into today’s modern academy. I am glad that we are in a position today where we can help other universities in a similar way. Helping Belarusian students and academics is a joyous duty for us, but also a symbol of responsibility,” added Martin Kudláček, Vice-Rector for International Affairs.
It is not for the first time that UP has offered a helping hand to academics and students from countries that have gone through complicated political events. In 2016, for instance, UP employed two persecuted Turkish academics who lost their jobs during President Erdogan’s purges. In 2014, during the “Euromaidan”, UP offered scholarships to seven Ukrainian students who came to study law, medicine, and philosophy.