A Poland-based effort to provide online professional development opportunities for Ukrainian geoscientists has received an important boost from the AAPG Foundation.
Foundation Trustees, meeting in mid-November, approved a $9,000 grant to the Polish Geological Society that will fund two educational courses designed to help Ukrainian colleagues in a practical way as they continue to adapt to the war in their homeland.
Specifically, the grant will ensure the development of two online courses that will help geoscientists as they seek new employment or to broaden their involvement in international projects.
The courses are:
- Academic English for Ukrainian Geologists – funding for two groups to receive 30 hours of instruction
- Polish for Ukrainian Geologists – funding for four groups to receive 50 hours of instruction
The initiative originated with AAPG Member Piotr Krzywiec, associate professor at the Institute of Geological Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences, who will be developing the courses along with three colleagues from the University of Sosnowiec – Anna Gumsley, Ashley Gumsley and Oleksandra Tsymbal.
“It is really great that the AAPG Foundation is willing to support these activities,” Krzywiec told the EXPLORER as the proposal was being considered. “This is truly appreciated by our Ukrainian friends and colleagues.”
Krzywiec, in speaking with EXPLORER correspondent Emily Smith Llinás for the November issue, said he is planning basic language courses but also specialized geological, geochemical and geophysical courses and workshops.
Krzywiec has been an active member and influential voice since joining AAPG in 1991, including leadership roles with the Committee for History of Petroleum Geology group and Visiting Geoscientist Program.
Foundation Trustees, in approving his request, expressed their enthusiastic support to Krzywiec for his creative and tireless efforts in helping geoscientists at a dangerous and challenging time.
“This is a great project that will directly help geoscientists who have faced not only the horrors of war but must now adjust to an uncertain future,” said Foundation Chair Jim McGhay. “We’re proud that the AAPG Foundation could help make it possible.
“They’re outstanding professionals and colleagues with us all,” he added, “and with these courses they’ll have the tools to help them go forward through troubling times.”
Trustees also applauded and endorsed other efforts to assist displaced Ukrainian geoscientists that have been led by AAPG members – specifically the work spearheaded by Honorary Member and past AAPG President Robbie Gries.
Gries, who visited Ukraine as AAPG president in 2002, recognized an immediate need to help almost as soon as the war began. She started (and manages) a GoFundMe page campaign this past summer titled Female Ukrainian Geoscientist Refugee Funds. (See "AAPG Members Mobilize Support for Ukrainian Geologist Refugees" in June EXPLORER.)
Helping her with the concept and continuing energy were other past AAPG presidents Randi Martinsen, Denise Cox and Gretchen Gillis.
Trustees enthusiastically endorsed Gries’ efforts at their November meeting, with several saying that they have already had personally contributed to help the Ukrainian geoscientists.
While Gries manages the program and promotes the fundraising, she works with Krzywiec to identify eligible candidates to receive funding from the GoFundMe account, which typically is used to provide for basic necessities such as housing, food and medical support.
Most Ukrainian refugees are female – men are required to stay home and fight – and finding jobs is crucial not just for their own existence, but for being able to support family left behind.
Krzywiec has been helping Ukrainians settle in Warsaw since March; more than three million Ukrainian refugees have fled to Poland since the Russian invasion.
He said in the June EXPLORER the displaced population “has been welcomed in Poland with open arms and hearts.
“Poland does whatever is possible to help, but our resources – of the state and of the Polish citizens – are of course limited,” he said. “On the other hand, needs are enormous.”
“We ask AAPG members and all geoscientists to help in any way they can,” Krzywiec told Llinás in November, “whether it’s contributing to the GoFundMe campaign, paying dues for Ukrainian members or donating their time and expertise to help develop specialized courses for Ukrainian colleagues,” he said.
“For them it is also very important to see that international geo-community cares.”
To contribute to Gries’ campaign visit GoFundMe.com and search “Female Ukrainian Geoscientist Refugee Funds.”
To contribute to the AAPG Foundation’s efforts with this or any other program visit the website at foundation.aapg.org.