A Ukrainian professor put a human face to the attack by Russia on her country in a talk during Social Justice Week at Durham College.
Iryna Starovoyt, associate professor of Cultural Studies at Ukranian Catholic University in Lviv articulated the diverse challenges facing her people, including political cataclysm, economic instability, and conflict with Russia.
“We live in scary times,” Starovoyt said, “This is a war against Ukraine, not with Ukraine.”
The talk lasted an hour and 20 minutes and provided participants with a more in-depth experience of the situation in Ukraine from a professor’s perspective. Almost a hundred people joined online.
The talk was in an interview format conducted by Andre Spence, a first-year journalism student from Durham College.
Starovoyt painted a vivid picture of the difficulties living through the war as well as the daily effects of the conflict on regular people like herself.
She also articulated the devastating impact of the war on her students, revealing that she lost two of them to the conflict.
“It is heart-wrenching to see young lives taken away like this,” she said emotionally. “My students were full of promise and potential, and it is truly a loss for the world that they are no longer with us.”
Music professor Larissa Szepetyk, who has Ukrainian family roots and family there, was one of the attendees and found the talk vital and moving.
“It was so impactful to hear about the reality of Ukraine from someone who has experienced it firsthand,” said Larissa. “I believe this discussion will motivate others to pursue resources and make a difference in the lives of those in need.”
Larissa shared how critical these times are and how much action is needed and encourages people to get involved in events and help.
“We’re facing some really dangerous times, and events like this make folks come together and lend a hand to those who need it most right now.”