Exhibition to honour lost lives of Ukrainian students

The University Library has become the latest home to a worldwide exhibition that seeks to honour the stories of 36 Ukrainian students who were killed in the war that has ravaged the country.

University's Main Library
The University's Main Library

‘Unissued Diplomas’, a project initiated in February 2023 to mark the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, honours the memory of those who will now never graduate because of it.

More than 50 universities have hosted the exhibition, which combines both physical and digital elements, to express solidarity and support to Ukraine, with Edinburgh the second to host in Scotland. 

The students’ stories along with portrait images of each of them will be on display, as well as their posthumous University certificates.

Personal connections

The short stories in ‘Unissued Diplomas’ build personal connections to the Ukrainian students who, like many others, used to spend their days in study halls enjoying university life.

Volodymyr Ivashchenko's Unissued Diploma
Volodymyr Ivashchenko's Unissued Diploma

Volodymyr Ivashchenko, a 20-year old who was studying Cybersecurity at the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, is just one of the students whose story is shared.

Volodymyr loved travelling and dreamed of starting his own IT company in the future. Instead, he joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine at the beginning of the war and subsequently died from mortar shelling while evacuating his fellow wounded soldiers.

Andriy Dalibozhko was studying at Kherson State Agrarian and Economic University. He was 23 when he and his family were all killed after being shot at by Russian soldiers while in their car.

More than 6,000 Ukrainian civilians and 13,000 soldiers have been reported killed since 24 February 2022. The exact number of students among them is unknown, with losses continuing to increase.

Postcards from Ukraine  

The exhibition is intertwined with another project established by the Ukrainian Institute, an independent charity that champions Ukrainian culture and shapes the conversation about Ukraine in the UK and the rest of the world.

‘Postcards from Ukraine’ is a series of images showing the country’s landscapes and landmarks before and after the war, highlighting the mass damage and destruction caused to the physical surroundings.  

Before and after of the School of Economics of Karazin University
Before and after of the School of Economics of Karazin University

Immersive experience

The free exhibition will be open to University staff and students from 26 October to 15 December in the Main Library Mezzanine on the First Floor from 09:00 to 17:00.

In its final week at the University (11 - 15 December), the exhibition will open its doors to the general public. It will be accessible up the stairs to the left when you first enter the Library, before the electronic gates. 

The local Ukrainian community, student groups, academics and the Ukrainian Consul will officially launch the exhibition at the Library on 26 October.

These young students with their lives ahead of them dreamt of helping their country to blossom one day. Even when the war started, some of them tried to keep up with their studies while fighting to save their homes and loved ones at the same time – something that no person should ever have to go through. Worldwide academic support for Ukraine and its citizens has been overwhelmingly evident and we will not stop continuing to show our solidarity.

Nataliya BezborodovaTutor at the University’s School of Social and Political Science and coordinator of the joint exhibition

The futures of so many young people have been taken away by the war in Ukraine. In telling their stories, this deeply moving exhibition helps us to celebrate and commemorate their lives, and to see them awarded the diplomas that they so rightfully deserved.

Professor Sir Peter MathiesonPrincipal and Vice-Chancellor of the University

Related links

Find out more about ‘Unissued Diplomas’

Find out more about ‘Postcards from Ukraine’