Dear relatives and members of the THM ,
We are stunned by the military escalation in Ukraine. War in the heart of the European continent - an attack by one state on the territorial integrity of its neighbor. A breach of the law, a breach of taboo. A turning point, as the federal government calls it. This turning point affects every area of life, including science. Bundestag President Bärbel Bas recently put it in a nutshell with regard to Ukraine: "Every war only knows losers".
All of our scientific, social and interpersonal commitments in Eastern Europe were – and continue to be – bridge-building. THM has stable connections to universities in Ukraine and Belarus. At the moment we can hardly find out how things are with those people whom we call colleagues, also friends. What we know: none of them wanted a war, but a common Europe based on cooperation and peace, prosperity and freedom.
It is thanks to a global pandemic of all things that no researchers or students from the THM are currently in the affected areas. Nevertheless, there are members of the THM from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. Many of us have family and friendship connections in those states. You have our solidarity and also an offer: come to us if you have something on your mind.
The Russian ruler Vladimir Putin is to be held responsible, not the people of his country. We have to assume that the majority of the Russian population has little or no idea that their “president” is at war in the neighboring country – control over traditional and modern media has increased again in recent weeks. Those who can sense the suffering and destruction in Ukraine stand in central squares throughout Russia in the evening hours and dare to demonstrate against the war of aggression.
It is this Russia, it is its people that we are shaking hands with now and in the future. Science has always proven to be an important civil society actor, also as a communication channel. We are convinced that joint research and student exchange will serve international understanding in the long term and secure peace. History, for example between Germany and France, proves this.
"Every war only knows losers" also means that cooperation with some of our Eastern European partners will change in the medium term. To what extent, that is simply not foreseeable at the moment. In the short term, the presidium of the THM welcomes all support activities that form in the environment of the university. We are in agreement with our partners from the other two universities in Central Hesse on how we can be active and supportive ourselves. Central Hesse is in solidarity with the Ukraine. We also want to give a spark of hope. Also not to lose yourself.
Prof. Dr. Matthias Willems