Universities, like cathedrals and parliaments, are a product of the Middle Ages. In Ukraine the first educational establishment that had all the features of organized education was founded in the 17th century. The Kyiv Mohyla Academy was a precursor of Kyiv Taras Shevchenko National University of today. It was then that all the basic principles of instruction with which we are most familiar, represented by faculties and colleges and courses of study, examinations and academic degrees, sprang up. But still the contrast between that early university and the one of today is broad and striking. And yet, great as these differences are, the fact remains that the Kyiv Shevchenko University of the twentieth century is the lineal descendent of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy. The Kyiv Shevchenko University is an embodiment of continuity, it upholds traditions and at the same time blazes new paths of progressive development.
There are many universities to be found now in Kyiv and Ukraine but only one of them has such a long history of continuous development. The Kyiv National University bears the name of Taras Shevchenko, a pivotal figure in the Ukrainian culture of the 19th century, whose contribution to stirring up the awareness among the Ukrainians of their Ukrainian identity has only begun to be appreciated in full measure.
Basic Historical Facts
In 1652 there was founded in the city of Kyiv an establishment of higher learning, the first not only in Ukraine but in a large area of Eastern Europe, Russia including. It is usually referred to as the Kyiv Mohyla Academy. Petro Mohyla, a Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was the founder and a spiritual leader who showed a way for a further development. The Kyiv Mohyla Academy made a worthy contribution to Ukrainian culture. Among its graduates and professors were remarkable figures of Ukrainian philosophy, theology and letters (Hryhoriy Skovoroda, Feoafan Prokopovych and many others).
In the early nineteenth century it became evident that an institution of a new type was needed and upon the foundation of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy such an institution was eventually built. It was Kyiv University which started functioning in 1834. The only School of Philosophy it had then was divided into two departments: the Department of History and the Department of Physics & Mathematics. With the passage of time there were new additions: the Schools of Law, of Medicine, of History and Philology and of Natural Sciences. The twentieth century saw a further growth both in the number of Schools and students. The list of prominent scientists and scholars, who were members of the faculty or graduates, is a long one indeed. They provided a solid foundation upon which culture and science of the present-day Ukraine is built.

Kyiv Shevchenko University Today
The Kyiv Shevchenko National University trains students and conducts research like any other major modern university should. But one could say that Kyiv University enjoys a special status among other educational establishments in Ukraine. It is one of the biggest as far as the number of students and members of the faculty are concerned. But it is not the sheer size that makes it special. It is the traditions, excellent training provided and very high qualification of the faculty that make it a truly national, number one university of Ukraine.
Kyiv University is made up of many Schools and Departments, among them those of Biology, Geography, Geology, Economics, Foreign Philology, History, Cybernetics, Mechanics and Mathematics, Radiophysics, Sociology and Psychology, Physics, Philology, Philosophy, Chemistry, Law. Within the structure of Kyiv University one also finds a zoology museum, botanical gardens, Institutes of Journalism, of International Relations and of Ukrainian Studies, a computer centre, libraries, departments of military training and physical training, plus a lot more. Even this skeletal enumeration will probably give the reader a fairly good idea of the University’s size and scope.
The Kyiv Taras Shevchenko University maintains partnership relations with many universities around the world and keeps abreast of the latest advances in sciences and liberal arts.
Ukraine is facing many problems and graduates of Kyiv University help solve them. The University, in spite of economic hardships, has managed to maintain high standards of training and research. But just maintaining is not enough and new ways of training are being researched and introduced. Kyiv University is a living organism that fully understands its important role in providing a better future for Ukraine. Kyiv University is striving, as it has always been, to provide a truly universal education and training.

School of Foreign Philology
After regaining her independence Ukraine has opened herself to the world and Kyiv University trains people who may be very helpful indeed in getting Ukraine integrated into the world’s community of independent nations. To receive guests from abroad, to do business, to spread word about Ukraine one has to have highly qualified translators, interpreters and teachers of foreign languages. The School of Foreign Philology, at its various departments, trains scholars, teachers, interpreters and translators fluent in the English, German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Greek, Italian, Arabic, Persian, Chinese and Japanese languages. Graduates of the School work for Ukrainian ministries, governmental and international bodies, at schools of all the levels, for embassies and diplomatic representations, banks and various companies. One can be sure that some members of the faculty, graduates and best students will be engaged as interpreters and translators during the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the EBRD to be held in Kyiv in May’ 98.

Looking into the Future
Since the time of its foundation Kyiv University has been generating progressive ideas, shaping Ukrainian intellect and providing champions of Ukrainian culture. It will continue to do so in future. The University has withstood the hard pressure of economic hardships and continues to be a centre of intellectual activity turning out scientists and scholars who will carry the torch of knowledge and enlightenment into the next millennium.

By Olexandr Cherednychenko, Ph.D.,
Dean of the School of Foreign Languages,
Kyiv Shevchenko University.