LCC International University, a Mennonite Mission Network partner, prepares students from around the world to build peace and respond to victims of trauma.
LCC International University, an internationally recognized liberal arts institution in Klaipèda, Lithuania, builds community among nearly 800 students from 60 countries. This year, in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 176 Ukrainian students and 34 Russian students are studying together.
"Each of us views the current war from our own perspective, with opinions that are determined by life experience, or education, or geography," wrote Marlene Wall, LCC's president, in an email update sent Feb. 25. "Living in community means that we work on what unites us and not what divides us. We are people interacting within a diverse learning community that transforms people for servant leadership."
Wall stated that LCC stands against war and supports the sovereignty of the Ukrainian people. "We pray that aggression and loss of life will end immediately, and that dialogue replaces war," she said.
Mennonite Mission Network has partnered with LCC since 1995. Robin Gingerich serves with Mission Network and is chair of the university's English program. She has been part of the LCC faculty for more than two decades.
The university's Center for Dialogue and Conflict Transformation prepares LCC students to be peacemakers and peacebuilders. A campus ministries team and trauma counselors are available to students as they process the emotional toll of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"We are monitoring the spiritual impact of war for our students — encouraging hope and resilience through dialogue and listening and through collective and individual prayer," Wall wrote. "We must demonstrate our faith in the One who holds the future. We pray for each other, for national leaders, for safety and security, for the church everywhere, for peace, … for our students and their families."
For updates on how the war is impacting the LCC community, see #lccvoicesukraine. Iryna Forostian, who graduated from LCC in 2018, is living in Zolotonosha, a relatively calm city in central Ukraine.
She wrote: "Panic has turned into hopelessness and a fear of not helping enough. My life completely changed on February 24; a new reality with its own rules set in. You go to bed fully dressed. You are scared 24/7. The worst: You feel guilty for being at a more-or-less quiet and safe place compared to the cities like Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa … where there is non-stop shelling and bombing."