Since the Middle Ages students from the territory of Ukraine have been recorded to take their degrees at the University of Oxford. For much of the 20th Century the Iron Curtain had temporarily stopped this intellectual and cultural exchange, while with the break-up of the Soviet Union and the establishment of an independent Ukraine students were once again given opportunities to study at one of world’s oldest and most prestigious universities. Since 1991 the flow of students from Ukraine has been constantly on the rise. The establishment of the Ukrainian Society at the University in 2004 created a locus for the tightening of relations between Ukrainians who studied at Oxford, and upon their return to Ukraine Oxford alumni began to informally meet in Kyiv for numerous social and academic activities. Our most active alumni during this period included: Oleg Akhtyrskyi, Olena Boytsun, Dzvinka Kachur, Nadiya Kravets, Ola Onuch, Olena Ovchynnikova, Anya Plotnikova, Rostyslav Semikov, and Roman Stasiv.
The Boat Race in April, the annual Oxford and Cambridge rowing regatta, has traditionally gathered the Oxbridge alumni in the Golden Gate Irish Pub at the heart of Kyiv. In 2007 Dzvinka Kachur (Green College, 2006), while working for the UNDP Chornobyl Development and Recovery Programme, together with Oxford alumni, local partners, and the Ukrainian Society at Oxford initiated the ‘Oxford Volunteers for Chornobyl Scheme’, which since then yearly brings some 5-10 students from Oxford and other Western universities to spend several weeks in Chornobyl-affected communities, working on development issues. In November 2008 in Kyiv, the Ukrainian Society at Oxford, with the help of local alumni, organised an international, graduate conference titled “EU-Ukraine: Members or Neighbours” in cooperation with the National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”, Student Brotherhood of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, British-Ukrainian Society, Polish Institute, EUNIC, and Open Ukraine Foundation. Increased number of retuning alumni created a need to formalise their activities and in November 2011, the official Oxford University Society Ukraine was established.
The Society, headquartered in Kyiv, aims to continue uniting Oxford alumni throughout Ukraine by holding social events, inviting prominent Oxford scholars to Ukraine, pioneering social and academic activities to raise the bar of public policy discussions in Ukraine, and advising aspiring students on pursuing their education at Oxford.