Brookdale Shows Support For Ukraine

Shawna Rodgers, Staff Writer

On Monday, March 28 at 8 p.m., Brookdale’s Global Citizenship Project hosted a Zoom event to educate and show support for the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Led by Assistant Professor of History and faculty liaison to the International Education Center Ashley Zampogna-Krug, the event featured guest speakers, Director of Diversity and Inclusion Angela Kariotis and History Professor Dr. George Reklaitis. With more than 100 students and faculty in attendance, the Global Citizenship Project event succeeded in its mission to encourage reflection, education and advocacy.
Kariotis provided the humanitarian perspective on the situation, while Reklaitis supplied in-depth historical context. To begin, Kariotis led the group in a short grounding exercise while fostering connection and involvement among participants.
Following this brief opening, Kariotis shared insights into properly representative terminology and pronunciations, such as the use of “Kyiv” rather than “Kiev” and omitting the use of “the” when speaking about Ukraine.
Kariotis continued to emphasize the civilian perspective by sharing two very different, but equally impactful videos. The first video from the NY Times demonstrated how everyday Ukrainians are lining up to defend the country they call home, while the second video featured the poem Home by Warsan Shire (Links to an external site.), showed us just what “home” means.

Among these moving topics, Kariotis also brought awareness to refugee circumstances, African students facing prejudice while trying to flee, compassion fatigue and other ongoing international humanitarian crises such as the ongoing situations in Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Cuba and Syria. Global headlines were also examined, highlighting international points of focus and awareness.

Following Kariotis’ presentation, Reklaitis educated students and faculty on the history of Ukraine’s relationship with Russia, and why Vladimir Putin so desperately wants to control the sovereign nation. Looking back to circa 1054, Reklaitis walked viewers through what could be considered “Ukraine 101.”

Meaning “Borderland” Ukraine has always been a nation caught between two worlds – Europe to the west, and Russia to the east. Constantly redivided, and continually influenced from all directions, Ukraine is a nation that has endured much change and hardship.
“It is a marvel what the people of Ukraine have been through historically.” Reklaitis said.

By explaining how the current relationship between Ukraine and Russia came to be, Reklaitis prepared the audience to better understand why the current conflict is happening. Reklaitis educated viewers on the political interactions between Russia and its neighbors over the past few decades and demonstrated Russia’s preoccupation with control of Ukraine – as well as Ukraine’s continued resistance to Russian influence.
Reklaitis ended his presentation by thoughtfully and thoroughly answering audience questions.

To close the event, Kariotis returned to unite attendees in offering words of support and encouragement to Ukrainians facing this crisis. Kariotis also led a final discussion on how to get help most effectively to those who need it most. Viewers shared ideas and resources, which are provided below.

Ukrainian Assistance and Information Links:
Red Bank Couple Launch Grassroots Rescue Mission to Ukraine (Links to an external site.)
29 Meaningful Ways You Can Help Ukraine (Links to an external site.)