Rector of Mariupol State University, Professor Mykola Trofymenko completed an internship in the United States of America under the Hubert Humphrey Scholarship Program.
The program is usually designed for one-year internships at leading US universities, but this year the scholarship program was held for the first time in a three-week period and was designed for outstanding scholars who cannot leave their countries for one year.
In addition to Mykola Trofymenko, who became the only representative from Ukraine, 13 participants from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey, Lithuania, and Latvia joined the program.
Hubert Humphrey's program is designed for enterprising, active and dedicated leaders who are ready to work for the public good and are interested in the strategic development of their spheres of influence. In addition, it provides good opportunities for professional development and takes into account the personal interests of each participant.
The first two weeks were devoted to lectures and presentations from practitioners and scholars. The third week was marked by meetings, which were individually selected for each participant. As a member of the city council and rector of the university, I had the honor to meet with mayors and members of city and district councils, as well as with the administration of the University of Washington. It was very interesting to learn from best practices from foreign colleagues.
Rector of MSU met with Mercy Bellevue, Redmond, Kent - Lynn Robinson, Angela Byrne, Dana Ralph. He shared the successes of the deputy's work in the city council, told about Mariupol and its ambitious goal to create comfortable conditions for residents and guests of the city. The leaders of the American cities were pleasantly surprised by the active work of the local self-government bodies of the front-line city and stressed the possible partnership for the implementation of joint projects. The meeting with Kelly Snyder, the director of public works of Snogomysh district, turned out to be no less productive. She shared her experience of upgrading the local infrastructure, which could be useful for Mariupol.
Professor Trofymenko also had a unique opportunity to talk to Courtney Hull, an employee of the Ukrainian department of the US State Department, who was preparing for the official visit of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to Washington.
The trip to the United States gave MSU rector the opportunity to meet Jack Martin, vice president of communications at the University of Washington. A foreign colleague shared his experience in responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic to educational institutions. Vaccination is an opportunity to return to a full life. The American university is an example to follow, as 90% of its students, faculty and staff have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Among other things, the head of the Mariupol State University met with the Vice-Rector of the University of Washington College Rovi Branon. Educators discussed the challenges faced by higher education institutions during the pandemic, shared experiences in distance learning and lifelong learning, and agreed that a modern university should be flexible and responsive to the needs of employers and the authorities. In addition, the representatives of the universities agreed not to lose contact and to establish cooperation between the University of Mariupol and the University of Washington.
During the internship special attention was paid to the topic of misinformation and the fight against it. Professor Mykola Trofymenko and his American colleagues came to the common conclusion that education is the main weapon against deliberately false messages.
The most effective weapon against propaganda is education. We play a very important role in the fight against misinformation. The university graduates not only specialists in their field, but also established individuals. Participating in the internship gave me the best practices of the US, now my main task is to use it for the development of the city and the university!