To advance knowledge of Ukraine through teaching, research, and publication in the humanities and the social sciences at Harvard and worldwide

HURI was established to advance knowledge of Ukraine in the United States and abroad through research, teaching, and publication, particularly in history, language, and literature. This mission was shaped by HURI's founder, Omeljan Pritsak, the first Mykhailo S. Hrushevs'kyi Professor of Ukrainian History, and by Ihor Sevcenko, Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Byzantine Literature and History.

With Ukraine's independence in 1991, the Institute's mission has broadened to include contemporary political, social, and economic issues. HURI also supports the study of diverse religious and ethnic groups that make their home in Ukraine, acts as a bridge between Ukrainian studies and the study of Russia, Poland, Turkey, Belarus, and Moldova, and works to develop connections with Ukraine's emerging cultural and academic institutions.