Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Norway and UN Women Representative in Ukraine visit Poltava Polytechnic

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Norway to Ukraine, Ms. Helene Sand Andresen, and UN Women Representative in Ukraine, Ms. Sabine Fraser Gunes visited Poltava Polytechnic on the eve of the first anniversary of the Gender Centre. Together with the university administration, academics and student self-government, they discussed the concept of cooperation in implementing European practices of building a harmonious society, gender-oriented components of activities.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Norway and UN Women Representative in Ukraine visit Poltava Polytechnic

The delegation, consisting of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Norway to Ukraine Helene Sand Andresen, UN Women Representative in Ukraine Sabine Fraser Gunes, Norwegian Embassy employee Ina Siversten and UN Women Programme Specialist in Ukraine Halyna Meshcheriakova, met with the administration, heads of structural subdivisions and student self-government of the National University “Yuri Kondratyuk Poltava Polytechnic”. The visit was made possible as a result of the successful cooperation with the Gender Centre of Poltava Polytechnic in the project on combating gender-based violence.

The Gender Centre of National University “Yuri Kondratyuk Poltava Polytechnic” is the only social platform in the Poltava region that aims to eliminate gender stereotypes and any kind of discrimination by consolidating the efforts of different structures, departments, organisations (including non-governmental ones), educational institutions and law enforcement agencies. On the occasion of its first anniversary, the conference “The Right to Be Yourself” will be held with the support of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) under the “EU4Recovery – Community Empowerment in Ukraine” (EU4Recovery) project, with financial support from the European Union.

“It is a great honour for us to meet with such distinguished guests and I am extremely pleased that you have found the time and opportunity to visit the university. The topic of our discussion is extremely important. I thank UN Women and the European Union for supporting Ukraine in its struggle for independence and territorial integrity. We greatly appreciate the assistance provided by the European community in bringing our Victory closer. We sincerely want to become a part of the European community, so National University “Yuri Kondratyuk Poltava Polytechnic” is implementing the European integration processes at the level of education and science, trying to bring to life the ideas of equality, non-discrimination, and human rights. The establishment of the Gender Centre is one of the strategic measures to implement the ideas of equality and anti-discrimination. Incidentally, women predominate in the top management of the university and among the heads of structural subdivisions.

I have put faith in this project, the Academic Council of the university supported it, and we have already achieved a lot of results. The Gender Centre team has now presented the idea of creating an agents of change network – Gender Centre ambassadors – across the Poltava region, which will involve young people. The first ambassadors will be presented during the conference on the occasion of the Gender Centre’s anniversary. At the same time, we are working on engaging men in advocating for women’s rights. Our university is always open to new exciting projects!” – greeted the delegation the rector of the National University “Yuri Kondratyuk Poltava Polytechnic”, Professor Volodymyr Onyshchenko.

First Vice-Rector – Vice-Rector for Scientific and Pedagogical Work and Economic Development Olena Filonych presented the university’s activities, focusing on the internationalisation and European integration of the educational process, as well as innovative solutions for implementing the idea of equality, combating discrimination and respecting human rights, as well as the successful experience of cooperation with the European Union. The Vice-Rector noted that Poltava Polytechnic had become a leader in the implementation of the European project of comprehensive energy-efficient renovation of campuses, it is a member of the European University Association (EUA), it implements large-scale projects of academic cooperation with partner universities and humanitarian initiatives in response to the challenges caused by the war.

“We admire what we have seen and are impressed that despite 10 years of war, the university has so many achievements, and most importantly, continues to make many progressive changes,” – said Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Norway to Ukraine Helene Sand Andresen.

“European integration processes are a kind of accelerator for promoting gender equality. For me, Poltava is the capital of women’s leadership in Ukraine, the centre of the fight for gender equality. We are very pleased that your university has created and raised the level of the Gender Centre, with which we have successfully collaborated on a project to overcome gender-based violence. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of engaging young people and men in cooperation. And your initiatives are a direct support to the National Action Plan for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and your university has done a lot,” – commented UN Women Representative in Ukraine Sabine Freizer Gunes.

Head of the Gender Centre of the National University “Yuri Kondratyuk Poltava Polytechnic” Olena Dubynka presented in detail the activities of the unique structural subdivision of the university and the achievements of the first year of its work.

“During the implementation of the UN Women “EU4Recovery” project in the Poltava region, which lasted almost 9 months, the Gender Centre team became passionate about the idea of involving men in advocacy for women’s rights. The joint efforts of girls and boys to overcome stereotypes, combat violence and ensure respect for human rights have yielded positive results, and next year we will focus on engaging young people in the work of the Gender Centre. Students are idea generators and agents of change,” – summed up the Head of Gender Centre.

“Poltava Polytechnic has a whole community of motivated and caring people who can and want to work on changes for the better, implementing European integration processes on the local level. The university management supports the implementation of gender equality ideas with real deeds. You have had the opportunity to see some of them in person. We are sincerely grateful for your support and look forward to meeting you at the conference,” – added Nataliia Novikova, officer, Head of the Support Sector of the Patrol Police Office in Poltava Region of the Patrol Police Department, member of the Board of the Ukrainian Association of Women in Law Enforcement.

The speaker presented the concept of the conference “The Right to Be Yourself” and the project on scaling up the ambassadors’ network.

It should be recalled that Poltava Polytechnic presented the first Gender Centre in the Poltava region, National University “Yuri Kondratyuk Poltava Polytechnic” became the first higher education institution to sign a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, and on the occasion of Human Rights Day, Rector of Polytechnic was awarded the Citation of the Ombudsman of Ukraine.

Recently, the Gender Centre held a training on countering bullying for educators, the coaches of the Gender Centre conducted a training on the basics of first aid and tactical medicine for the student self-government, and the Gender Centre of Polytechnic received a package of methodological materials from UN Women.

Media Center of
National University “Yuri Kondratyuk Poltava Polytechnic”