- We consider Russia's invasion of Ukraine a violation of its borders, independence and integrity. We wanted to show our support in concrete terms, so we started to find ways to financially support the Ukrainians fleeing the war, says Arto Mäenmaa, Executive Director of the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation.
When universities announced their intention to grant study and research places to students and researchers fleeing the war, Mäenmaa said that a natural channel opened up to help.
According to him, these are people in need who need help, above all for human reasons.
- In addition, we want to show that we stand for free information, democracy, freedom of expression, human rights and integrity.
According to Arto Mäenmaa, targeting humanitarian aid to the scene would have been challenging to implement in view of the purpose of the Wihuri Fund, but instead, supporting Ukrainian students and researchers in Finland is quite natural.
- We already support international researchers and students who are studying and working at universities in Finland, Mäenmaa says.
The University of Helsinki directs donated funds directly to those in need
Kaarle Hämeri, Chancellor of the University of Helsinki, is grateful for the donation of the Wihuri Foundation to Ukrainian researchers and students.
- As a university, we have set out to support researchers and students who fled the war in many ways. The support of our partners in this work is extremely valuable. By joining forces, we can help the Ukrainians in a significant way.
- Together we have the opportunity to help those fleeing the war zone and to defend freedom of speech and truth. Researchers tend to be extremely committed to their own scientific community, to which commitment is often stronger than to their own university. It is important that we take responsibility for each other when we face difficulties, the chancellor says.
The first scholarships have already been awarded to Ukrainian students who have arrived at the University of Helsinki. More students have arrived during the spring and work to support them will continue.
The entire donation of 50,000 euros from the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation will be directed directly to support Ukrainian students and researchers.
The Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation is a Finnish non-profit foundation that builds the basic conditions for a prosperous society by enabling science, art and social activities.