Presenting Aurora’s Capacity Development and Eastern Partnership at ACAs “What’s New in Brussels”. 

On the 2nd and 3rd of February, Selma Porobic was invited to ACA’s (Academic Cooperation Association) seminar “What’s new in Brussels? – Recent Developments in European Policies and Programmes”  to share Aurora’s pioneering work on Eastern Partnerships exemplified by its Capacity Development Support (CDS) programme with special focus on its institutional support to the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University in Ukraine.  

In her session, “Working with Global Regions – Eastern Partnership“, Selma Porobic shared the results and best practices of Aurora’s unique CDS programme in Central & Eastern Europe, and how it was transformed into a tailor-made support scheme to address the needs of the war-affected Aurora associate partner, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. These activities set Aurora apart from other European University Alliances.  Since  March 2022, as Ukraine Support Coordinator in Aurora, and in a close collaboration with Karazin’s leadership, she has been fully managing the emergency response as well as designing and implementing the long-term, systemic and institutional support for this partner university in Ukraine, which include fundraising, relocating displaced academics and staff, and joint online education on peacebuilding. More detailed information can be found here.   

In this panel, Selma also introduced the continuation of this engagement in the next phase of the Aurora Alliance’s programme as part of the work package Capacity Building and Community Engagement. During the next four years, another fully dedicated task team, Karazin University Peace Education Hub, led by Palacký University Olomouc, plans to work towards further strengthening of the Karazin University’s capacity for education and training in conflict transformation, and peace building within the wider Kharkiv region.

After two consecutive years online due to COVID, ACAs flagship seminar “What’s new in Brussels?” was this year organized in-person in Brussels, providing a full overview of the latest developments in the European Higher Education Area, with a global perspective.  

The 2023 agenda offered a wide range of high-level panels and gathered various policy advisors, membership associations and European Commission representatives, such as Vanessa Debiais-Sainton, Head of the Higher Education Unit  at the  Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sports and Culture. The sessions addressed the latest trends in the European higher education and research and innovation including the European University Initiative’s policy developments and long-term funding, as well as other areas of European University Strategy like Diversity and Inclusion. Different approaches, opportunities and programmes for global partnerships were also introduced focusing regional collaborations within the Eastern Partnership, Western Balkans, Sub-Saharan Africa & South Mediterranean.

Mentorship programme for PhDs and early stage researchers at Pavol Jozef Safarik University in Kosice

On behalf of the AURORA alliance, we are pleased to invite you to the Capacity Development Support (CDS) Training event organised by Pavol Jozef Šafárik University (Kosice, Slovakia), in collaboration with the Aurora CDS Task Team at Palacky University (UP) and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).

The two-day training event with a focus on  Mentorship programme for PhDs and early stage researchers will take place in hybrid format on 26-27 October 2022.

The event is open to academic staff of the Aurora Associate partners and the universities in the CDS Network involved in mentoring and supervision of PhD students and young researchers as well as staff involved in the development of a mentorship programme at their own university.

In case of interest, please register to the event via this online form Registration is open for both in-person and online attendance.

More information about the trainers and the programme can be found here.

War in Ukraine: Support to our Aurora partner V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

UPDATE 01.09.2022: Overview of Support to our partners at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University:

A full, updated overview of our support to our partners at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University can be found here. 

PDF – UP Aurora Ukraine Support Efforts Overview

UPDATE 15.03.2022: UP Coordinated aid for Ukrainian Students: 

Any Ukrainian student interested in studying at Palacky University Olomouc can fill in the following questionnaire: 

Questionnaire – Ukrainian Students interested in studying at UP

At the moment, no limit has been set on the amount of Ukrainian students that Palacky University Olomouc can welcome. 

We can offer Ukrainian Students the following: 

  • Ukrainian Students are eligible for a scholarship of 10 000 CZK a month offered by the Czech government, and paid by Palacky University Olomouc.
  • The students will be accepted as exchange students.
  • Students can attend Czech language classes, and classes in English for Erasmus students. 
  • Teachers will be asked to give all Ukrainian students a chance to finish their classes successfully and receive credit, if necessary with some extra work. 
  • Each student is eligible for two semesters of such support. 
  • National legislation currently allows entry into studies only through the standard admission procedure. A new special procedure for Ukrainian students is currently being prepared. 
  • Ukrainian Students can apply to study at Palacky University as permanent students if they pass the test and get B1 level of Czech. 


UPDATE: As we speak, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University is facing massive damages to its buildings. Our colleagues from Kharkiv made the following video and ask for your help! 

Video – Help V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University!


Coordinated Aurora support to Karazin University

Given the leading role our university has in the Aurora Capacity Development Support Program, UP has taken a coordinating role to help colleagues at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University on behalf of the Aurora universities.

The Aurora UP office ​is currently undertaking following short-term (humanitarian) actions in collaboration with VU and Aurora Network:

  • Ensuring the immediate protection and securing relocation, employment, and accommodation at UP for Aurora focal points at International office of Karazin ​University 
  • Supporting online teaching of Karazin Kharkiv per internal fundraising and purchase of equipment by Aurora universities 
  • Continuous assessment of needs and fundraising for Karazin staff and students and info-sharing among Aurora universities
  • Systemic and collaborative bottom-up support development: Implementing range of support actions ​for Karazin institution and its students and staff as per continuous assessment of needs in collaboration with Karazin Intenational office. 

For more details on full scope of our planned actions (short-term, mid-term and long-term), see our Action plan (April update)

UP will continue planning ahead and communicating these available protection resources to V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University staff and students and has set up a website in Czech, English, Ukrainian that is a focal point of official info-sharing

We are grateful for joint efforts and Aurora’s collaboration in supporting the colleagues at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University and look forward to your continuing support.

If you wish to help and support our partners at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University or wish to reach our colleagues from Ukraine, please contact our Institutional Coordinator Selma Porobic.

Aurora Spring Biannual a great success for Palacký University

The Aurora Spring Biannual which took place in Innsbruck between the 10th and the 12th of May was a great success for Palacký University, looking back on our achievements so far and paving the way for the road ahead.  

Palacký University Olomouc has been elected to become a full member of the Aurora Network, now giving us full access to decision-making within Aurora.  

Palacký University Olomouc was awarded this improved position due to our excellent contribution to the Aurora European University Alliance programme, leading by example in its implementation.

The Aurora Network is focused on fulfilling the global mission of Aurora, stretching beyond the borders of Europe and the European Universities Initiative. Its various tasks include lobbying, international outreach, and collaboration with non-European partners in the field of education and research.    

JUDr. Mag. iur. Michal Malacka, Ph.D., MBA, Vice-Rector for Strategy and Regional Affairs and UP’s Aurora Strategic Manager: “We are really pleased with the great success of our entire UP team in paving the way towards becoming a full member of the Aurora Network after one and half year of intense Aurora Alliance collaborations. Network membership guarantees the full potential of our university to accelerate towards becoming global leaders in innovative education, research, and sustainable growth.”

During the biannual special consideration was given to the horrendous aggressions faced by our Ukrainian colleagues at V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Tetyana Kaganovska, the president of V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University made the perilous journey from Kharkiv to Innsbruck to show appreciation for our support raising a substantial amount of money  and support to Karazin University’s continuing academic mission.

Other important takeaways of the Biannual are UP signing a Letter of Intent with our Aurora Partners to create an innovative European Master’s degree in Digital Society & Global Citizenship. “Palacký University’s contribution to the development of this European Degree is a great opportunity for us to be at the forefront of these cutting-edge developments” according to Vit Zouhar, Vice-rector for Education. This interdisciplinary joint-degree will be developed in the months to come.

Student participation is at the heart of Aurora’s mission and goals through Aurora Student Schemes. Starting this summer, they are being led by Palacký University. A call for application will be published at the end of June.

Sustainable growth and development, one of the main topics of the biannual, remains an important priority for all Aurora Universities.  Zuzana Hunkova, Palacký University’s Coordinator for Sustainable Development: “We have proposed to the Board of Presidents that each university will count their baseline CO2e emissions, implement Aurora travel codex, and set and publish at least three targets from eight areas defined in the Sustainable Campus Action Plan.”

For more information on the excellent work of the Aurora Universities, and our continued collaboration offering opportunities to our students make sure to visit our renewed website or

Press statement – President of V.N Karazin Kharkiv University, Ukraine on the Aurora Biannual in Innsbruck

During the Aurora Spring Biannual special consideration was given to the horrendous aggressions faced by our Ukrainian colleagues at V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Tetyana Kaganovska, the rector of V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University made the perilous journey from Kharkiv to Innsbruck to appeal for our support, below you will find her statement . 

Original PDF Available here.  

“I travelled here to be with you, despite of the dangerous journey through my home country to share my feelings and gratitude. Right now we are going through its hardest survival moments since Ukrainian independence. I come bearing a witness of war, killing and displacement of my staff and students. In these moments, I am especially honored to be able to in-person represent our community of Kharkiv Karazin University from the East of Ukraine.

Our University is a consolidated team of 28,000 employees and students, proud of their educational institution’s 217-year history. According to the QS rating, we are the best Ukrainian university, the country’s powerhhouse of educational and scientific resources. The University is the heart of Kharkiv, and it remains in Kharkiv, despite the city’s being shelled and numerous attempts of siege lasting for 77 days.

We were able to shelter the University’s staff and students as best we could and launched the educational process remotely on the 33rd day of the war. Our teachers give lectures from basements and shelters, and those who have left the country – from different parts of the world. Many students volunteer by day and study by night. Many of our students, teachers, graduates are now among the defenders of Ukraine. The University’s humanitarian headquarters is working to help those who were hit the hardest. We are working on the restoration of the destroyed buildings, the sports complex and dormitories.

Unfortunately, there are irreparable losses in the University family. At least 17 people are known to have perished, among them 2 students, 5 professors and 10 alumni’s.

And yet, we are fighting and actively planning the future University activities. We continue to cooperate with partners in Ukraine and abroad as we believe that the values of freedom and justice will prevail. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Aurora Alliance partners who from the very first days of invasion were active in supporting and helping. Partners who encouraged us, gave hope that all the European Academic Community is backing up Ukraine.

The dedicated team of Aurora CDS (Community Development Support program) immediately reacted to our newly faced war-conditions. We worked together to assess the urgent needs. The Action plan was created. The plan where the supporting mission for “right now”, “short-term” and “long term” help was highlighted. First, it was a financial aid to support our on-line education. But, what is more important that Action plan projects the needs into long-term collaborations with all the partner universities. It will help Karazin to overcome the war destruction, and to rebuild our future.

Moreover, half of the staff and student are now displaced, internally or abroad, being hosted by the Aurora universities as well. We are deeply moved and grateful for all European universities providing them opportunity to work and study in these extreme conditions for us. We have a strong wish to be able to join you as academic community and as reliable partner as soon as the war ends. I took a personal risk to both thank you for your support and to tell you that we will resist and prevail in our fight for independence and democracy.”

Tetyana Kaganovska, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv University President



Capacity Development Support (CDS) Awareness Raising and Training event at University of Tetova, North Macedonia (30-31 March 2022)

The 4th CDS Awareness Raising and Training event was hosted by the University of Tetova (UT) in North Macedonia on 30-31 March 2022. It was organized in collaboration with the Aurora CDS Task Team at Palacky University (UP) and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). The central theme of the event was: “Transforming Higher Education with a focus on Social entrepreneurship & Diversity and inclusion”. The two-day training event took place in hybrid format: online via Zoom and face-to-face at UT campus in Tetova. The event was open to academic and non-academic staff of the Associate university partners and members of the broader CDS Network involved in teaching, students’ mobility, internationalization of study programmes and university social engagement.

Training on social entrepreneurship was conducted online by Prof. Kai Hockerts (Copenhagen Business School) and Dr. Ondřej Kročil and Prof. Jaroslava Kubátová (Palacky University Olomouc). Diversity and inclusion was presented in person by Prof. Ruard Ganzevoort (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam).

The training sessions were video-recorded and made available together with all training materials through the AURORA-CDS virtual catalogue:

Social Entrepreneurship & Diversity and Inclusion Workshop – University of Tetova

We’d like to share with you the upcoming Social Entrepreneurship & Diversity and Inclusion Workshop organised by the University of Tetova, North Macedonia, in collaboration with the Aurora CDS Task Team at Palacký University Olomouc and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The two-day training event will take place in hybrid format on 30th and 31st of March 2022. The workshop focuses on:

  • Social entrepreneurship concerns organizations that pursue explicit social missions through business-inspired, earned-income strategies, with the express goal of creating market disequilibria.
  • Diversity and inclusion aim to create equal opportunities for various staff and students, create a working and learning environment at universities in which different perspectives are explicitly valued and to capitalise on the ability to generate creativity from different perspectives both in teaching and in education.

Social entrepreneurship diversity and inclusion – flyer

The event is free for all Aurora universities to participate in and is open to academic and non-academic staff of the Associate partner universities, in addition to members of the broader CDS Network involved in teaching, internationalization of study programmes and university social engagement.

You can register before the 21st of March for online participation: Register Here
If you have any questions about the workshop, don’t hesitate to reach out to Tereza Kalousková

War in Ukraine: Rector’s Statement regarding our Aurora Partners V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

Below please find the statement of our Rector Martin Procházka on the current situation in Ukraine, in relation to our Aurora partnership with V.N Karazin Kharkiv National University.

Dear Aurora Alliance Presidents, and
Aurora Alliance Associate Universities’ Presidents

I would like to voice my concerns and deep disappointment regarding the ongoing Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine and the gross violation of international law. I have great fears – not only for the citizens of Ukraine – but also for the values upon which contemporary democratic governments in the countries of the European Union and elsewhere are founded. I fear that not only the people of Ukraine but also all democratic states are now facing a very difficult trial.

Palacký University Olomouc joins in expressing solidarity with the people of Ukraine, with all Ukrainian universities, and their students and employees. Our thoughts and solidarity are especially strong towards our Ukrainian students here, and colleagues and students of our partnering Aurora university, V.N Karazin Kharkiv University, and their families.

Importantly, I am using my voice to convey to you that Palacký University Olomouc, leading the activity Capacity Development Support Programme in Central-Eastern Europe, on behalf of all Aurora Alliance universities, is ready to provide immediate help and has put to use all the existing resources to support the incoming staff and students from Ukraine seeking shelter in Olomouc. Our emergency assistance is organized by the UP Volunteering Centre, and all the aid efforts are coordinated in line with the regional and national authorities.

I would also like to inform you that Palacky University Olomouc has centralized its overview of available resources and help it can offer to our Ukrainian students and partnering staff on the following webpage: These resources are available in Czech, English, and most importantly in Ukrainian.

Finally, Russia’s aggression on Ukraine has severely eroded Czech-Russian collaborations, including academic ones. We are currently considering to discontinue the existing MoUs as well as Erasmus collaboration with Russian and Belorussian Universities, in protest of the developing situation.

Our history and experience allow us to generate deep understanding of the desperate situation Ukraine and its people now find themselves in. We stand together with Ukraine; we stand together with our fellow European citizens, and we invite you to join us!

Martin Procházka 
Rector, Palacký University Olomouc

A pdf of this letter can be found here.


Czech for Beginners – Free Online Course

Would you like to learn how to say “strč prst skrz krk” , and do you want to start learning a Slavonic language? Than this is the course for you!

Through this online course of Czech for beginners, you will start your discovery of the Czech language, and learn all the necessary basics. This class could be an ideal preparation for a stay in the Czech Republic, for example on an Erasmus Exchange, an Aurora Mobility, or even a holiday.

The Czech for Beginners course will comprise of ten one-hour classes. The weekly classes will be taught by Tereza Koudelíková and will take place on Zoom.

This free online language course is open to all Aurora students and employees. Interested? Register for Czech for Beginners here!

The full program (pdf) of the course can be found here.

The classes take place every week on Wedneday:

    • April 6, 2022 03:00 PM, CET
    • April 13, 2022 03:00 PM, CET
    • April 20, 2022 03:00 PM, CET
    • April 27, 2022 03:00 PM, CET
    • May 4, 2022 03:00 PM, CET
    • May 11, 2022 03:00 PM, CET
    • May 18, 2022 03:00 PM, CET
    • May 25, 2022 03:00 PM, CET
    • June 1, 2022 03:00 PM, CET
    • June 8, 2022 03:00 PM, CET

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.

After registering, you can join the classes with the zoom link below: 

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 974 8333 4287
Passcode: 378265


Organized by Palacký University Olomouc in the framework of the Aurora Multilinguistic Proficiency Plan.

Aurora Newsletter #3 – December 2021

Aurora has released its latest newsletter with seasonal greetings on December 23rd, 2021. The newsletter features a comprehensive update on the latest developments in Aurora, looking back at our achievements in 2021 and looking ahead at the year(s) to come.

Next to that, the newsletter contains interesting blogs, columns, and profiles, created by the active and engaged Aurora Community, including an internview with our UP Aurora Student Representative Hanus Patera.

You can read the newsletter here.

Want to stay updated, and be among the first to read about the latest Aurora developments? Why not subscribe to the newsletter!