Ukrainian and Polish women for a digital future
The "INCUBATING FREEDOM - Adapting Women to Digital Economy conference in Lublin, 1-2 December, aimed at training in the field of IT of some 30,000 women from Ukraine staying in Poland since February 24, was organized by the "Perspektywy" Educational Foundation together with the Ukrainian Talent Foundation, the Mayor of the City of Lublin and academic partners from Poland and Ukraine.
Conference’s participants and guests included representatives of Polish and Ukrainian authorities, the US embassies in Warsaw and Kyiv, the high-level representatives of European Union and international organizations, as well as rectors of Polish and Ukrainian universities as well as heads of non-profit institutions and organizations supporting international exchange (OPI, NAWA, FRSE, PAFW, FK and others). The debates outlined new approaches to solving problems caused by Russian aggression against Ukraine.
– Is today, when there is still a war in Ukraine, a good time to talk about the future of Ukraine? – asked Dr. Bianka Siwinska, president of the Perspektywy Education Foundation, opening the conference. She then replied: - this is the right moment, because a strong, radically modern Ukraine is a condition of security for Poland, Europe and the whole world. In Poland, where there are over 1.5 million war refugees, we should address an important challenge: how to equip female refugees present in our country with appropriate digital competences. These women will then be a security base, also for us, for our country.
Dr. Siwińska emphasized that the project "INCUBATING FREEDOM for Ukraine - Adapting Women to Digital Economy", will be run by a Polish-Ukrainian consortium headed by the "Perspektywy" Educational Foundation – with has recognized competences and achievements in promoting women in the field of IT and STEM. It will be an example of how problems facing the two countries can be jointly solved.
Commenting on the initiative, Yulia Grishina, Chair of the Ukraine’s Parliament Committee on Science, Education, and Innovation, said: - I fell in love with this idea at first sight. This is a very important project for us, for our nation, and I declare that I will engage in it as much as possible so that its effects are as good as possible.
Janusz Cieszynski, Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the Polish Prime Minister, government plenipotentiary for cybersecurity, said: - This conference and the project inaugurated during it are a very important matter for me personally. It is the digital support that allows to change reality, so I hope that the seeds sown here today will sprout in the future.
Mark Brzezinski, US Ambassador to Poland: At the UN General Assembly in New York City, Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska asked the world: what doors you will open for Ukrainian women who have been forced to leave their homes. Today at this conference, Poland is answering that question and rising to the occasion once again.
I am proud to support the inauguration of the “Incubating Freedom for Ukraine - Adapting Women to Digital Economy” project. Drawing on the knowledge and support of iconic American companies like Intel, Amazon, Goldman Sachs, and Cisco over thirty thousand women from Ukraine and Poland will soon have the opportunity to be trained or re-trained to address the needs of the digital economy. And this is in addition to other programs that already exist.
For Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner for Equality: the “Incubating Freedom for Ukraine’” project is an inspiring example of what can be done to provide support for the integration and empowerment of women in the labor market and society as a whole targeting those women fleeing Ukraine as well as Polish women.
In Lublin, the Conference of Rectors of Polish Technical Universities (KRPUT) and the Association of Rectors of Technical Universities of Ukraine (ARWUTU) signed an agreement establishing a Polish-Ukrainian academic cluster in the field of artificial intelligence AI) and cyber security. Polish and Ukrainian universities have excellent traditions of cooperation, but the situation after February 24, caused by brutal Russian aggression, requires us to form new forms of cooperation - said prof. Arkadiusz Mezyk, chairman of KRASP, and Prof. Teofil Jesionowski, chairman of KRPUT added: We will do everything to face the challenges in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Security together with our Ukrainian friends, not only because they are currently facing war aggression, but also to take advantage of their huge potential and experience.
Whereas prof. Mykhailo Zgurowsky, chairman of ARWUTU, rector of the Igor Sikorski Kiev Technical University "KPI" stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation we have had excellent relations with Polish technical universities for years. We are now taking another step forward in the areas of the virtual world. We define social needs, prepare solutions, and submit them for implementation to create a better, safer world.”
The conference in Lublin was also the place where another pro-Ukrainian project was presented - New Technologies for Women, a scholarship program, for Ukrainian students in Poland run jointly by the Perspektywy Education Foundation and Intel Poland. Welcoming the scholarship holders, - 50 Ukrainian STEM students and PhD students at Polish universities, Dr. Siwinska said: The faces of these girls are the face of future Ukraine.
Agata Kornhauser-Duda, the wife of the President of the Republic of Poland, who held the honorary patronage over the conference, addressed the conference writing: - This is an important event initiating the program, thanks to which Ukrainian women will have a chance to acquire skills in the field of IT and use this knowledge as best as possible in the future.