President Zelenskyy Speaks at the University of Toronto

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On June 22 2022, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed students and faculty at the University of Toronto. His address was introduced by Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Other Canadian universities also took part virtually from universities across Canada, including; the University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan, Université de Montréal, University of Prince Edward Island, University of Alberta, University of Manitoba, Western University, Queen's University, the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Dalhousie University.

President Zelenskyy was given an enthusiastic welcome by the audience who were there to listen to him speak about how Canadian Universities can help Ukraine win the war against Russia.

In the weeks immediately following Russia’s invasion, the Univeristy of Toronto community acted swiftly to strengthen ties with Ukrainian universities and bring students and faculty to Toronto.

This has been in part thanks to a $3.2 million donation from the Temerty Foundation which will allow  more than 200 students from Ukraine whose studies were disrupted by the war to continue studying at the University of Toronto. The first group of 30 students from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (KMA) arrived last month through an exchange program with University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts & Science. A second cohort of students is scheduled to arrive in September. Three KMA faculty are also at University of Toronto as visiting professors.

The President answered questions from students and described what it is that Ukraine needs from the international community. He said that he is grateful for the international support, including weapons, that Ukraine has received so far. He also noted that the internet and the spreading of information about the reality of what is happening on the ground in Ukraine has proven a powerful weapon, "we can cut distances between our countries and other countries, between the government and society," he said. "For us, internet is a kind of weapon because we can show what's going on."

Speaking about the fatigue that some people might be feeling in relation to the war, he urged people not to "become tired of the war" and to continue rallying their communities to action.

Finally, he reaffirmed exactly what Ukraine needs right now, "We need weapons, we need financial support, we need humanitarian support, and we need permanent 24/7 sanction pressure," he said. "No matter how many times I repeat this, it will never be one too many while the war is going on."

Watch the full address

 

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