Statement 14th March 2022
International House World Organisation continues to condemn the actions of the Russian Federation as it wages its abhorrent war on Ukraine, with more death, injury, destruction, misery and homelessness. The people of Ukraine are living through a human tragedy, and our deepest empathy and concerns are with the millions of people impacted by these terrible events.
During the past week, the IH World Organisation has launched various positive initiatives to provide support for the staff at our four IH affiliated schools in Ukraine, as well as aid for those in the wider population who have been forced to leave loved ones, their homes, their livelihoods and their country. Our friends and colleagues at IH Dnipro, IH Kharkiv, IH Kyiv and IH Lviv have had to suspend all, or almost all, of their usual activities as their premises are inaccessible and their staff and students are dispersed and dealing with the awful consequences of this unprovoked war.
As part of our ongoing internal review of the situation, the IHWO Board met again on Friday 11th March and, after far-ranging discussion, took the very difficult decision to suspend the affiliation of our IH schools in Russia. As an organisation that is strongly opposed to war and committed to international understanding and cooperation, we feel that it is inappropriate to maintain a business relationship with Russian institutions at this time.
We continue to be mindful of the fact that this terrible act of war is not supported by everyone in Russia, our thoughts are with those who do not support it and are very bravely risking their own safety in protesting against it.
As a network we are committed to working together to provide humanitarian support to the people of Ukraine while also striving to use communication and education as a positive force for good. Our schools are raising money, as well as collecting and sending clothes and other useful items for those who need them. The network is helping IH Ukraine teachers to find work – either online or in posts in other IH schools around the world. In some cases, directors and staff in other countries have welcomed some of our displaced colleagues into their homes. We are organising free online courses in the languages of the countries who are welcoming Ukrainian exiles.
The International House World Foundation has set up a webpage where anyone who wishes to can make a donation to World Central Kitchen – a charity that is on the ground at the border crossings, providing hot food and drinks to the women and children who are arriving from the east or who are waiting to cross into Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania or Moldova.
Statement 4th March 2022
The unprovoked invasion of another sovereign nation is unconscionable and we at IHWO join in the condemnation of the illegal and unwarranted horrors being visited upon Ukraine. We unconditionally support our schools in Ukraine – their staff, their students and their directors - as such darkly disturbing events unfold in the country.
In light of this, the IHWO Board held an Extraordinary Meeting on 2nd and 3rd March. For nearly 70 years, we at International House have prided ourselves on our commitment to promoting meaningful transnational communication and increasing cross cultural knowledge and understanding. We are concerned for the safety and wellbeing of those affected by this devastating war. The Board agreed to use all efforts to bring together the 135 schools in our network, across 50 countries, to offer practical humanitarian support to the people of Ukraine.
We are also mindful of the fact that this conflict is not supported by everyone in Russia, as has been illustrated in the reports and photographs of the many citizens publicly protesting against this brutal war. We are reviewing the status of our member schools in Russia in response to international sanctions.
We know that we are not alone in hoping that there is some sort of resolution very soon and we all stand ready to be an active part of a future where collaboration, mutual appreciation and positive communication are re-established. In the interim, we will be striving to do whatever we can, across the network, to practically support our friends and colleagues in Ukraine through fundraising and other joint efforts and projects.