[Interviewer] If you speak about the university, why did you once choose it? What distinguishes it from other educational institutions?
[Mikheieva] I hope that we have a mutual partnership with UCU. I did not entirely choose UCU. When I was forced to leave Donetsk because of the Russian aggression and occupation of my city, I myself chose Lviv… The kind words of my friend and colleague Viktoria Sereda [also an UCU professor] made this choice possible. At a difficult moment of indecision, a misunderstanding of what was happening, a direct threat to our lives, she said: “Come here. We’ll think of something”…
Oksana Mikheieva with Dean of the UCU Social Sciences Faculty Volodymyr Turchynovskyy at a presentation of the results of the project “Ukraine’s hidden tragedy: Understanding the outcomes of population displacement from the country’s war torn regions,” which they conducted with colleagues from the universities of Oxford and Birmingham.
I came to Lviv with no idea where I would work. And then a miracle happened – a whole chain of somehow accidental meeting, unexpected proposals, and I ended up at the Ukrainian Catholic University. I’m glad that happened, because I found the kind of environment which I hungered for my whole life. This is a place free from corruption, which does not poison relations between people, does not create unpleasant situations. For me, the moral component of instruction is important, and the values which are produced at UCU are not dissonant with mine, so I’m comfortable. Of course, like at any living institution, UCU faces a number of external and also internal problems and challenges. It’s impossible otherwise. We often have hot discussions because of various internal questions. However, I see in this rather advantages than flaws. Because the presence of discussions demonstrates that we are working in a team rather than an administrative hierarchy. So, sometimes we win, sometimes lose, but we still have the opportunity to defend our values.