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Pursuing mediation in a time of war

Pursuing mediation in a time of war

Ukrainian scholars find refuge at UM through the Scholars at Risk program

JULY 5, 2022 — 

When Natella Malazonia began her career path in law 12 years ago, she had little idea how much conflict would shape her life. An undergraduate student at Donetsk National University in Ukraine, she completed her bachelor’s degree in 2014, with hopes of continuing her studies in law.

But shortly before she graduated, Russian military invaded the Crimean Peninsula, igniting the Russo-Ukrainian war. The military conflict in Donetsk forced Natella to put her plan to continue her studies on hold, as she stayed at home for her safety. The following year, Natella was able to move to Kharkiv to pursue her master’s in law.

While attending Karazin Kharkiv National University, she met Illia, a fellow law student who shared her values and desire to use their legal education to create positive change in the world. Drawn to ideas of restorative justice and the importance of mediation in resolving conflict, the couple began a relationship and were married the following year.

In addition to their scholarly work, the couple started a business together – a coffee shop named Philosopher – choosing the name as a place for “thinking and coffee”, while conducting research for a private research institution on constitutional rights, consumer rights, and discrimination.

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