Skip to main content

Former PM Brian Mulroney addresses U of R Project Resilience fundraiser

Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney spoke at a fundraising event in support of Project Resilience at the University of Regina (U of R) on Wednesday evening.

The 18th prime minister appeared via video conference and answered questions about climate change, democracy and the war in Ukraine.

“We’re living in, as we all know, very, very challenging and difficult times,” Mulroney said.

“It was very tragic for me and for Canadians generally, to see [Ukraine’s] independence being stripped away, gun by gun, tank by tank, bullet by bullet.”

Mulroney, who served as prime minister from 1984 to 1993, said his government was the “first industrialized government” to recognize the independence of Ukraine.

Mulroney served as co-chair of the United Nations World Summit for Children and played a big role in the campaign against apartheid in South Africa, the reunification of Germany, and the liberation of Kuwait in the First Gulf War.

He commended the university for creating the Project Resilience fund, which aims to support students affected by war and political violence in their home countries.

“This is an extremely formative time in (students’) lives,” Mulroney said.

“We can only imagine how tough it is for those students who are not from Canada and who come here from war-torn countries and are preoccupied with what is going on with their families and their home countries while trying to maintain good averages.”

The Project Resilience fund was established in April 2022 in response to the escalating war in Ukraine.

The fund offers scholarships, emergency funds and other supports such as mental health and academic counseling to qualifying students.

Four scholarships will be available each year and will be renewable for an additional three years. In four years, up to 16 students will be supported through Project Resilience at any given time, according to the U of R.

Nadiia Komarnytska, a recent graduate from U of R, came to Regina from Western Ukraine in 2013.

She spoke to the crowd about the challenges that come with being from a war-torn country and having family and friends back home facing violence.

Komarnystka’s cousins and aunts are still in Ukraine. She said they often have to hide away in bomb shelters or basements.

“There are still a lot of people who are studying here at the university who are international students from Ukraine,” she said.

“It’s hard to keep up with the daily routine, with the homework, with the going to your classes.”

She said scholarships through Project Resilience will play an important role in helping international students continue their studies while offering mental health support to help students process the turmoil happening back home.

“Even though it feels frustrating to go to classes, it keeps up the routine and schedule,” she said.

“Keeping up the routine took me out of the constant thinking about the war and the constant bad thoughts.

Project Resilience is for students who come from any war-torn country, not just Ukraine.

The university has about 2,500 international students. Many of them are experiencing various types of hardships, according to Jeff Keshen, president and vice-chancellor at the U of R,

“In this case, we are targeting students who have hardships related to political violence and war, but there are so many other needs that we can respond to so perhaps this is the platform upon which we can really support students who are experiencing that type of distress,” Keshen said.

This was the first Project Resilience fundraiser. The university expects to host more in the future. Top Stories

Stay Connected