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On the occasion of the first National Development Day of the Czech Republic on 25 April 2024, a project entitled Strengthening Capacity and Knowledge Transfer in higher education institutions (HEI's) for the Development of Affected Areas of Ukraine was also launched. The project will be implemented in 2024 by the Masaryk Institute of Advanced Studies of Czech Technical University in Prague, in particular the Institute of Public Administration and Regional Studies, in cooperation with the O. M. Beketov National University of Urban Economics in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

The project was financially supported in the tender of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic for the support of Ukraine and is part of the Czech development aid. The principle of cooperation and sharing of experience in the reconstruction of war-affected territories will be the main motive and thread linking lectures for students and academics in Ukraine, and also in the Czech Republic for students from Ukraine who study in the Czech Republic.

The programme started with the implementation of an internal workshop with multiple experts and organisations, where the focus of the development lectures for students, PhD students and government, local movers and shakers and infrastructure managers was specified. The lectures should ultimately help to prioritize and develop action to rebuild current and post-war Ukraine, whose territory has been devastated during the Russian aggression. This workshop took place on Wednesday 15 May 2024 and was attended by the facilitators of the Ukraine assistance projects from the NGOs Arnika and People in Need (Člověk v tísni), in addition to representatives of the MoHA. Inputs and comments of Prof. Ivan Holoubek, who is a specialist in decontamination of territories, were very beneficial for the results of the workshop.

The main part of the project will be a learning course, which will be implemented on a pilot basis in June 2024 for students residing in the Czech Republic and then in early October for students of Beketov University in Kharkiv. The form of this course (whether on-site, online or combined) will be decided according to the current situation in Kharkiv. The course will be supplemented with examples of devastated urban spaces and areas and will be tailored to local opportunities, security, social and climatic conditions. The restoration course will also be oriented on the best available techniques and technologies leading to climate protection and long-term sustainability, and examples of functional participation in addressing development issues will be presented.

In the second part of the project, a group of six best course participants from Beketov University in Kharkiv will visit the Czech Republic, where they will be presented current solutions in the Czech Republic in the form of good practice examples, so that the course participants will be able to incorporate positive experiences in their home environment, with the help of the project's support materials, into university teaching and practice in the northeast of Ukraine.

One of the objectives of the course and the study trip to see examples of good practice will be to present the available practices and activities in sustainable regional development in the Czech Republic and Europe. In the preparation and implementation of the course and the study tour, attention will be paid to environmental friendliness, sustainability, balance and gender equality.

Representatives of the Masaryk Institute of Advanced Studies hope that the grant will be implemented without any problems, both in the Czech Republic and Ukraine, and will strengthen the teams' capabilities for targeted and sustainable regional development of the war-ravaged country already in the spirit of future technologies. The goal is a sustainable and vibrant Ukraine.

(Project logo author: Radko Palic)