Finland Uni Freezes Student Exchange with Israel Institutions

Finland Uni Freezes Student Exchange with Israel Institutions

Students demonstrating at universities throughout the US, UK, and Europe have been urging their academic institutions to divest from Israeli-affiliated entities amid the ongoing Israeli onslaught in the Gaza Strip. (Photo: Anadolu)

The University of Helsinki has made the decision to pause its student exchange programs with Israeli universities, an action that follows concerns over civilian casualties and the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The university's move comes in response to ongoing student protests since May 6, which have criticized the university's collaborations with Israeli institutions amidst the conflict in Gaza.

These protests align with a broader global movement that has seen significant demonstrations at universities in the United States and Europe.

In a statement posted on its website on Tuesday, the University of Helsinki cited the suspension of student exchange agreements with Israeli universities due to civilian casualties and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza. However, the university emphasized that research cooperation would continue, highlighting the importance of academic freedom while pledging to enhance ethical reviews of research collaborations.

The university also expressed its commitment to supporting the rebuilding of higher education institutions and research centers in Gaza.

According to Anadolu, Vilja Hermansson, a member of the group Students for Palestine, stated that cooperation with Israeli universities contradicts the ethical principles of the University of Helsinki, alleging that these universities are complicit in genocide, apartheid, and human rights violations.

The conflict between Israel and Gaza has resulted in over 115,000 casualties, predominantly among children and women, with approximately 10,000 individuals reported missing. The region has witnessed extensive destruction and famine, leading to the loss of lives, particularly among vulnerable populations.

Despite calls from the UN Security Council to cease hostilities and demands from the International Court of Justice for immediate action to prevent genocidal acts and address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Israel continues its military operations.

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