The UK’s University of Birmingham issued the following press release on Sep. 1:

Working in partnership with Ukraine’s Constitutional Court, the University of Birmingham and Ivan Franko National University, Lviv (IFNUL) have defined the first 1,000 terms in a unique handbook for scientists, human rights defenders, and legal experts further developing the country as a constitutional democracy.

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Backed by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) funding, the Twinning for Identity, Sovereignty and Resilience project will create an ‘English-Ukrainian Dictionary of Legal Terms’ - helping to address issues created by historical use of post-Soviet legal language in Ukrainian law.

IFNUL Department of Constitutional Law’s team of lawyers along with their colleagues from the Faculty of Philology have prepared the translation of the initial tranche of legal terms and Professor Lisa Webley, from the University of Birmingham’s Law School, is providing expert opinion on appropriate examples from court decisions or scholarly sources.

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University of Birmingham Pro-Vice Chancellor (International) Professor Robin Mason and Professor Webley marked Ukraine’s Independence Day with IFNUL partners by celebrating the first milestone of this flagship initiative.

Professor Webley commented: “Defining the first 1,000 terms for our Legal Dictionary represents a major step towards creating a handbook for scientists, human rights defenders, lawyers, judges, parliamentarians, and everyone who deals with Ukrainian legal documents – the first handbook of its kind.

“Providing accurate and precise definitions of legal terms will further embed the rule of law in Ukraine, support Ukraine’s development as a constitutional democracy and further Euro-Atlantic integration, whilst addressing legacy issues caused by applying post-Soviet legal terminology in the Ukrainian legal system.”

The project also unites doctoral students and researchers in the two universities, creating a long-term portfolio of collaborative research contributing to the development of Ukraine's culture, economy and society and the UK's understanding of and response to the crisis.

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The underpinnings of Ukraine’s resilience to Russian aggression lie in its dynamic and contested political and legal system, including the 1996 constitution and constitutionalism. The Legal Dictionary will help to clarify the application of the rule of law in Ukrainian jurisprudence.

Birmingham and Ukrainian academics also celebrated Independence Day by commemorating the two universities’ longstanding partnership in the field of Shakespearean studies.

IFNUL academics had spent time with the University of Birmingham in June – taking part in a UKRI Rebuilding Identity and Community through Theatre and Applied Performance workshop, as well as workshops and discussions on best practice and delivery of academic and practical classes in Drama Studies.

The University is helping IFNUL’s to develop a Master’s program in this field, with a longer-term ambition to develop a twinned MA program with reciprocal exchange places. Birmingham academics are also supporting the creation of a Shakespeare Garden on IFNUL’s campus, with the themes of love (Romeo and Juliet), choice (Hamlet), courage (Henry V), improvisation (Midsummer Night’s Dream) and wisdom (King Lear).

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Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of Birmingham, commented: “We were delighted to celebrate Independence Day by showcasing our most impactful collaborative initiatives which will contribute to supporting the future development of our two nations. Our universities are building a resilient international partnership that is purposeful, committed, comprehensive, and sustained.

“It was with great sadness that we learned of the untimely death of our colleague and friend from Ivan Franko, Professor Maiia Harbuzyuk, an outstanding scholar in theatre studies, and Shakespeare in Eastern Europe. With the agreement of IFNUL’s Rector, Professor Volodymyr Melnyk, we will set up an academic fellowship, and student bursaries, in her memory.”

The partnership is building research networks that strengthen Ukraine's resilience and help British researchers better understand and respond to the crisis across areas such as:

  • The effects of Russian military occupation on Ukrainian reconstruction;
  • Re-building Ukrainian identity and community through theatre and performance;
  • Cross-border resilience of critical transport infrastructure; and
  • Post-Soviet security.

IFNUL Rector Professor Volodymyr Melnyk commented: "If we analyze the history of our cooperation, it becomes obvious that the University of Birmingham was side by side with the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv at every moment that was important for us. Not to mention the constant words of support after each massive missile attack on Lviv. This is a case where actions speak louder than words."

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The partner universities also delivered a Ukrainian Studies Summer School, hosted at the University of Birmingham in July. This focused on Ukraine Culture, Language, and History -broadening Birmingham students’ geopolitical awareness, language, and intercultural learning, and raised the profile of Ukraine culture and context to a broad audience, including the general public, diasporic Eastern European communities, and hosts of homes for Ukraine.

The twinning partnership was launched last year on Ukraine’s Constitution Day, 28 June, with a joint seminar between legal and Eastern European political experts on ‘British and Ukrainian Constitutionalism’.  It is showcased in the Universities UK’ #TwinForHope campaign, which highlights the impact that partnerships between UK and Ukrainian universities are having as they twin to share resources, learning and ideas during the humanitarian crisis in the Ukraine.

The University has also secured funding from the British Academy and the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA), for five fellowships hosted by its Department of Civil Engineering, which is also supporting the Fellowships financially.

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 8,000 international students from over 150 countries.

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