Russia’s War on Ukraine:
a special series of six online events co-hosted by:
- Melbourne Eurasianist Seminar Series at the University of Melbourne;
- Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia;
- Ukrainian Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand
Part IV: “Solidarity”
Friday 16 September, 5:00 p.m. AEST
This session will feature:
- HE Nina Obermaier (Ambassador of the European Union to New Zealand)
- Professor Michèle Knodt (Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany)
- Professor Zdzisław Mach (Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland)
- Dr Olesya Khromeychuk (Director, Ukrainian Institute London)
This event will take place online via Zoom; all are welcome. You can register for this event via this link.
Registration is free, but attendees who wish to support Ukraine may make a donation to one of the appeals endorsed by the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstracts and Speaker Bios
“#standwithukraine: European Union Solidarity in Action”
HE Nina Obermaier
In response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine, the 27 Member States of the European Union acted with unprecedented speed, determination and unity in support of Ukraine. Solidarity with Ukraine and Ukrainians among European citizens remains strong despite the prospect of a winter mired in an energy and cost of living crisis.
@NinaObermaierEU has been the Ambassador of the European Union to New Zealand since November 2019. Prior to her arrival in Wellington, she was part of the EU negotiating team for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, in charge of issues related to Ireland/North Ireland. Earlier in her career as an EU official, she worked on relations with Switzerland, protection and crisis management, and the Middle East peace process. Before joining the European Union institutions, she worked in TV journalism. Nina attained an M.A. in European Studies as well as in Political Science and History. She speaks six languages at different levels of proficiency, and is able to work in four: English, German, French, and Dutch.
“Solidarity and European Integration: Supranational, Intergovernmental and Transnational Solidarity. The Case of Russia’s War on Ukraine”
Professor Michèle Knodt
Solidarity has served as a fundamental norm or motive for peaceful integration since the beginning of European integration after the Second World War. The Lisbon Treaty strengthened the principle of solidarity and brought it to the attention of European citizens as well as social scientists. European solidarity can occur within or across government levels as well as between different actors. We can witness not only supranational solidarity but also intergovernmental and transnational solidarity. The contribution will give insights in the light of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Michèle Knodt is Professor of Political Science, Jean Monnet Chair (ad personam) and Director of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence ‘EU in Global Dialogue’ (CEDI) at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Director of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence ‘EU@School’, Chair of the COST Network ENTER (EU Foreign Policy Facing New Realities), Co-leader of the Loewe-Excellence Centre ‘emergenCITY’, and Co-leader of the DFG Research Training Group ‘Critical Infrastructures’, Principal Investigator in the Kopernikus Project ‘Ariadne – Evidence-Based Assessment for the Design of the German Energy System Transformation’ and leader of smaller cooperative and interdisciplinary projects. She has published widely on the EU, is especially interested in energy and climate governance and has received research grants from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), the German Research Council (DFG), the Volkswagen Foundation and the European Commission.
“Why do Poles Show Solidarity with Fighting Ukraine?”
Professor Zdzisław Mach
Poland often declares its commitment to the value of solidarity, which is rooted in the history of the Solidarity movement. However, in the EU Poland’s understanding of solidarity is ambiguous: Poland expects other members of the EU to show solidarity, while it is not willing to reciprocate. This was particularly seen during the migration crisis of 2015 when Poland refused to accept refugees. Given this, the genuine involvement of many thousands of Poles in various actions to help Ukraine may seem unexpected and difficult to understand. The answer may be a kind of post-colonial syndrome, a mixture of patronising and responsibility, and also the perception of Ukrainians as close to Poles in their way of life. There are a lot of disturbing memories in Polish-Ukrainian relations, but in Poland today there is a widespread feeling that finding solutions should be postponed while now Poles should support Ukraine. Another reason is perhaps the perception of the war in Ukraine as Russian aggression which revives Poland’s own memory and presents Ukrainians as freedom fighters against the common enemy.
Zdzisław Mach is Professor of Sociology, Social Anthropology and European Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. Founder of the Institute of European Studies at the Jagiellonian University, and one of the main authors of the European Studies curriculum in Poland. Former Dean of the Faculty of International and Political Studies, Jagiellonian University, where he also holds a UNESCO Chair in Education about the Holocaust, and the Chair of European Society and the Cultural Heritage of Europe. His research interests cover issues such as nationalism, minorities and ethnicity, the development of European citizenship, migration, cultural construction of identities, collective memory and cultural heritage as well as the development of the idea of Europe. Professor Mach has been leading teams of researchers in the Polish National Science Centre and EU supported projects, including Sixth Framework and Horizon 2020.
“Epistemic (Dis)trust: Learning from ‘the Other Europe'”
Dr Olesya Khromeychuk
When Russia began its full-scale invasion, there were many in Europe who did not expect Ukraine to last longer than three days. The belief in Ukraine’s resilience and solidarity was strongest and fastest to form among the countries that had experienced Russian or Soviet rule historically and were thus in possession of first-hand knowledge of imperialist repression. Focussing on the case of Ukraine, the talk will consider whether Russia’s war has encouraged a new phase of epistemic trust in countries that are traditionally perceived as newcomers in the European family.
Dr Olesya Khromeychuk is a historian and writer. She has taught the history of East-Central Europe at the University of Cambridge, University College London, the University of East Anglia and King’s College London, and written for the New York Review of Books, Der Spiegel, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and openDemocracy. Khromeychuk is the author of The Death of a Soldier Told by His Sister (2022) and “Undetermined” Ukrainians. Post-War Narratives of the Waffen SS “Galicia” Division (2013). She is currently the Director of the Ukrainian Institute London.
Recordings of previous sessions can be accessed online:
Part I: Resistance
Part II: History
Part III: Propaganda
Part V ‘Poetry’ will take place on Friday 14 October at 5 pm AEST.
For enquiries, please email Felicity Hodgson at Felicity.email@example.com