Invisible University for Ukraine

invisible university zoom callAfter the successful 2022 Spring and Fall Semesters, Central European University is continuing the INVISIBLE UNIVERSITY FOR UKRAINE (IUFU) certificate program (offering ECTS credits) for junior and senior undergraduate (BA) and graduate (MA and PhD) students from Ukraine, whether residing in Ukraine or in refuge, whose studies have been affected by the war. The name of this transnational solidarity program evokes the various nineteenth and twentieth-century underground and exile educational initiatives (such as the “flying universities”) in Eastern Europe, as well as the tradition of Invisible Colleges formed after 1989 in the region.

The program offers an intensive learning experience on the role of Ukraine in changing European and global contexts, placing questions relevant for Ukrainian students into a transnational comparative perspective. The program is not meant to replace or duplicate the existing education opportunities in Ukrainian universities, but to support them by filling the lacunae that temporarily emerged due to the Russian invasion. By strengthening the ties of Ukrainian educational institutions, as well as scholars and students, to transnational networks, we hope to counter the destructive effects of brain drain through creating access to educational infrastructure and academic knowledge for students irrespective of their current location. The program is designed in a hybrid format (online teaching with a possibility of shorter on-site visit to Budapest in the form of a winter and summer schools).

The program is implemented by Central European University (Budapest Campus), in cooperation with Imre Kertész Kolleg, University of Jena, as well as other Ukrainian (Ivan Franko National University of Lviv and Ukrainian Catholic University) and global university partners. CEU joined the Ukrainian Global University initiative; we also seek to expand partnerships with universities in Kyiv, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Odesa and other Ukrainian university centers.

IUFU is supported by the Open Society University Network, with co-funding from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), as well as the as well as the Porticus Foundation, the Institute of International Education (US), and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

IUFU students also edit their own web journal:

The educational program is comprised of three components:

  • online thematic lecture courses (in the humanities and social sciences),
  • mentoring (in English and Ukrainian)
  • skill-building (academic English, academic writing) and career support for future education.

The program is taught by prominent scholars linked to the Central European University (including members of its faculty, as well as researchers of CEU Democracy Institute and the Open Society Archives), Ukrainian and German partner institutions, and internationally renowned specialists of the topics from East Central Europe, Western Europe, and North America. The mentoring is offered by advanced doctoral candidates from these institutions.

Eligibility: Any student who has been pursuing a BA, MA, or doctoral degree program in a Ukrainian university in the academic year 2021-22, or who starts her/his university studies in 2022. Participation in the program is free of charge.

See also:

Full list of instructors

Previous courses and initiatives

Winter help

Report on Invisible University for Ukraine – Winter School 2023

Personnel and Organizers


Ostap Sereda

Ostap Sereda, Associate Professor in History at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv and recurrent guest professor at CEU.

Welcoming word from the director (Panopto video):

Main Organizers

  • László Kontler, CEU Professor, History, Acting Rector of Közép-európai Egyetem    
  • Vladimir Petrovic, Research Professor, Institute of Contemporary History, Belgrade, and CEU Democracy Institute
  • Joachim von Puttkamer, Professor in History at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena and Director of the Imre Kertész Kolleg
  • Nazar Stetsyk, Associate Professor, Department of Theory and Philosophy of Law, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv.
  • Balazs Trencsényi, CEU, Professor, History Department, lead researcher of History WG, CEU Democracy Institute
  • Renáta Uitz, CEU Professor, Legal Studies, Co-Director of CEU Democracy Institute


  • Ágnes Kinga Páll, CEU DI, Project Coordinator
  • Yevhen Yashchuk, main Student Coordinator

The program categorically excludes any cooperation with scholars having current affiliation with any Russian state institutions or anyone supporting the Russian aggression. Some prominent Russian colleagues who protested against the Russian invasion in Ukraine, gave up their position, and emigrated, after being targeted by the authorities for their critical stance, will also contribute to co-teaching some of the classes. In addition, some current CEU PhD students of Russian background who publicly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine will take part in the small group seminars.

Spring 2023 Course Information

Core course:

Rethinking Ukrainian Studies in a Global Context (Ostap Sereda, Vladimir Petrović, Balázs Trencsényi), supported by DAAD, implemented in cooperation with the University of Jena

Six thematic courses:

In addition, we offer a Graduate Masterclass on Entering Global Academia (Alexandra Vacroux, Davis Center at Harvard University).

Application Details and How to Apply


Research scholarships (up to 800 Euro per semester) are available on a competitive basis for those students who wish to implement a special empirical or theoretical project in addition to their course work in IUFU, drawing on their academic background, previous work, and relevant to the current situation and/or related to the themes of the courses. Students receiving research funding will be required to submit a paper of 10-12 double-spaced pages based on their research at the end of the semester. The results of these projects will be published on the website of IUFU and the site Visible Ukraine ( Those who receive the grant are required to participate also in the mentoring sessions.


The duration of the Spring semester classes is 13 February – 26 May 2023. The most motivated and successful participants will have an opportunity to participate in a Summer School on CEU’s Budapest campus in June.

How to apply?

Applications should contain a short (up to 1 page) motivation letter including:

  • reason for applying to IUFU and expectations from the course(s)
  • a description of the applicant’s thematic interests (e.g., research topic or thesis topic if applicable)
  • choice of preferred course(s) an applicant would like to take;

 and a short CV with information on

  • name in Ukrainian and in the version used in international passport
  • e-mail address
  • current location
  • previous education, current university and program of study
  • involvement in civil activities/volunteering
  • level of English language competence.

 Those who wish to apply for a research scholarship should include a concise project proposal (between 400 and 800 words), describing the main lines of the envisioned research project and its desired outcome, including references to the relevant sources and secondary literature on the topic.

The applications can be submitted in English or Ukrainian.

Further questions

With questions about the application please turn to the IUFU student coordinators:


  • Deadline for applications: 5 February, 2023, 12 pm
  • Deadline for research projects: 19 February, 2023

but those who submit it by 5 February will also get a feedback from the organizers and might also resubmit an updated version.


Application Forms

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