Taras Dobko took part in IFCU’s ( International Federation of Catholic Universities) webinar on Catholic Identity. He made a presentation on the Enacting Catholic Identity in the post-colonial, post-communist and post-totalitarian context. A Case of the Ukrainian Catholic University.
In the webinar, Dr. Taras Dobko shared with participants what it takes to run a Catholic university in the post-colonial, post-communist and post-totalitarian cultural setting.
Among other things, Taras Dobko spoke during his lecture about UCU as a place for introducing and promoting a dialogue between faith and reason in the academic context. “At first, the post-Soviet academia affected by the radical secularization did not take UCU seriously. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46) Could one really expect from a university that was given rise by a religious community a genuine commitment and capability to maintain high academic standards? UCU has emphatically demonstrated that a spiritually inspired education is consistent with the rigorous criteria of research and intellectual culture. Nowadays, secular universities learn from UCU how to hold to principles of academic integrity, develop strategies for institutional development, practice social responsibility, build an efficient network of stakeholders, and offer a holistic education to its students”.
In 2021, Ukraine celebrates 30 years of independence. Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic Church of the Byzantine tradition, emerged after decades of underground existence to engage in the process of rebuilding its structures after violent suppression by the communist regime. One of its achievements is the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv which together with an institution in Georgia are the only Catholic universities on the territory of the former Soviet Union and in predominantly Orthodox countries. Today UCU is a Catholic academic institution that has attracted the students with the best SAT-equivalent academic scores in the country for the past 4 years in a row.
Taras Dobko, PhD is Senior Vice-Rector at the Ukrainian Catholic University. He oversees the strategic development and general management of the university with a focus on university services like the Rector’s Office, HR, legal affairs, pastoral life, student affairs and accommodation. Dr. Dobko also teaches philosophy at UCU. His research interests cover phenomenology, personalism in ethics, secularization in post-modern culture, philosophy of religion, education and integral human development, university autonomy and academic culture. He is a member of the National Team of Higher Education Reform Experts in Ukraine. He is also a member of the Supervisory Board of the Lviv City Institute.
The International Federation of Catholic Universities today brings together nearly 250 universities worldwide. Created in very diverse conditions, with a variety of religious sensibilities, our universities also evolve in extremely different contexts. One of the constants of their work, however, is always to question their Catholic identity, which is a matter of constituted traditions as well as of constituent traditions.
IFCU presents a series of interviews with Catholic figures who come to bear witness and share their reflections and experiences on what it means to be a Catholic university today.