Supported by the rector of the Precarpathian National University, Professor Igor Tsependa, the Director of the Center for Innovative Educational Technologies “PNU EcoSystem”, Professor Olena Budnyk, and Associate Professor Kateryna Fomin, visited Italy from June 14th to June 21st to initiate scientific and educational cooperation with a number of Universities in Rome.

The visit commenced with a formal meeting with Professor Vincenzo Buonomo, the Rector of Pontificia Universita Lateranense. During the meeting, our university’s mission, accomplishments as a distinguished state institution adhering to European educational standards, development strategy, and experience in times of martial law were presented. Preliminary agreements were reached regarding the potential signing of cooperation agreements between universities in various areas, including academic mobility and scientific projects focusing on global peace education, intercultural dialogue, and children’s rights in times of war. Professor Vincenzo Buonomo emphasized the crucial role of the academic community in nurturing skilled professionals and underscored the importance of developing interdisciplinary programs in the social sciences and humanities.

Another significant aspect of the collaboration involves student academic mobility, offering extensive possibilities for Ukrainian higher education students and graduates to pursue studies at the Rondine Cittadella della Pace International School. Situated in a charming medieval Tuscan village in Italy, this institution gathers young individuals from diverse nations, fostering the development of their professional competencies in the pursuit of global peace and the resolution of armed conflicts worldwide. Founded 25 years ago as a component of the World Peace House initiative led by the Pontifical Lateran University, this student community welcomes students from over 30 countries across various continents each year.

In the context of involving young scientists and academic staff in joint research activities, the involvement of young scientists and teaching staff in research at the Pontificia Università della Santa Croce was also discussed at a meeting with the rector, Rev. Prof. Luis Navarro, head of the Association of Pontifical Universities and Institutions (CRUIPRO), who showed openness and sincere willingness to cooperate to help Ukrainian educators in times of war. At a roundtable discussion held with professors from the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences Auxilium in Rome, the participants engaged in a comprehensive dialogue addressing the current challenges and circumstances faced by Ukrainian education in the context of martial law. Moreover, they shared their valuable experiences in working with students who have endured the traumatic effects of war. Under the guidance of Rector S. Prof. Piera Ruffinato, an introduction was given to the various domains of education at the university, with a particular emphasis on disciplines such as philosophy, sociology, psychology, theory and history of pedagogy, communication theory, anthropology, and more. During the discussions, several areas of collaboration between Precarpathian University and the partnering institution were identified. These include organizing joint webinars, collaborating on scientific publications, and reviewing pedagogical articles for professional university publications, among other initiatives. During the event, the participants shared their personal insights and reflections on various topics, including strategies to overcome crisis situations, fostering intercultural and interreligious dialogue, and nurturing the spiritual growth of young professionals amidst war in different regions of Africa, Asia, and South America. They also highlighted the importance of conducting comparative research in the historical and pedagogical contexts.

During their visit, Olena Budnyk and Kateryna Fomin had the opportunity to explore Italy’s rich historical and cultural heritage. They visited renowned landmarks such as St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Grottoes, ancient architectural monuments, Roman fountains, various palaces, museums, and bridges in Rome. Additionally, they had the chance to visit the ancient town of Assisi, which holds significance as the birthplace of the Roman poet Propertius and as the hometown of St. Francis. Inspired by the saying “All roads lead to Rome!”, we are eager to foster ongoing and fruitful collaborations in the fields of science and education at the international level, partnering with esteemed universities worldwide.