Bratislava/Simferopol (22 April 2009): The International Visegrad Fund presented its grant and scholarship schemes at the Simferopol-based Information Press Center on 22 April 2009. We would like to foster a much closer cooperation between civil societies in Crimea and in the Visegrad Group [V4] countries, as well as exchanges of scholars between our countries, said Ambassador Kristóf Forrai, Executive Director of the Fund, at the meeting. We have to do all we can to prevent any future walls which would divide Europe--as it was the case in the past. We consider our activities in the greater region of East and Central Europe humble contribution to closer cooperation among the countries and their peoples, said Forrai.
Ukraine as the Biggest Beneficiary
According to Forrai, the number of beneficiaries from Ukraine has been growing steadily year by year since the establishment of the Fund in 2000 with Ukraine having the highest approved funding among all other non-V4 countries. In 2008 more than 15% of the Fund's approved funding was allocated to non-V4 countries. Ukraine was a beneficiary with the total approved sum of EUR 359,000 which amounted to 8% of the Fund's 2008 allocated budget. Crimean scholars, NGOs and universities can apply for almost all programs the Fund offers in its 11 annual deadlines.
Scholarships for Crimean Students and Universities
Scholars from any private or public university in Crimea are eligible for scholarships within the so-called Ukrainian Scholarship scheme. Crimean scholars can apply for funding of 1- to 4-semester studies at any public or private university in the Visegrad Group countries. The funding amounts to EUR 2,500/semester for each selected scholar, and to EUR 1,500 per semester/scholar for the respective university. The same rules are applicable for Visegrad scholars to study at any public or private university in Crimea. The next deadline for scholarships is 31 January 2010.
Funding University Courses
The Fund's newest program, Visegrad University Studies Grant
(VUSG), was established in 2008 to support the development and launching of outstanding university courses or whole programs which deal with specific phenomena related to Central Europe and namely the Visegrad Group states. In a single annual deadline, the VUSG offers lump sums of EUR 15,000 for selected courses or EUR 50,000 for accredited programs to any public or private university in Crimea. Next deadline is in November 2009 (to be specified).
The International Visegrad Fund is an international organization founded by the governments of the so-called Visegrad Group (V4) countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) in 2000. With the seat in Bratislava, the Fund operates as a major donor organization in the Visegrad region but also in the wider Central and Eastern Europe. The Fund has an annual budget of EUR 5 million which consists of equal annual contributions of V4 countries.