EHU celebrates 25th anniversary in the new University premises

Photo: Kilimas Arts

On November 17, European Humanities University (EHU) 25th Anniversary ceremony took place in Vilnius. The guests of the Ceremony gathered at the new EHU Campus in the premises of the former Augustinian monastery. Distinguished guests from Lithuania, other European Union (EU) member states and the United States arrived to congratulate the whole EHU academic community on this special day.

After its establishment in 1992 in Minsk, EHU was forced to leave Belarus and continue its operations in Vilnius, which was made possible thanks to the support of Lithuania and EU. During 25 years of EHU operations, 3044 alumni have graduated from the University. The majority of them have returned home and now are working in Belarus. In November 2017, the Government of Lithuania adopted a decision to provide the former Augustinian monastery premises in the Vilnius Old Town for the needs of EHU. 25th anniversary Gala ceremony was organized jointly with one of the major partners of EHU — Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) Belarus Country Office, which is also commemorating its 10th anniversary of operations.

“25 years ago, when EHU was just established, we believed that our work and the mission of the University will contribute to improving the quality of higher education and democratization of the Belarusian society. However, the post-totalitarian reality, in which EHU existed, wasn’t ready for transformations. Yet, today EHU continues to exist, proving the viability and importance of our mission”, — said the President of EHU Prof. Anatoli Mikhailov, on whose initiative EHU was founded and continues to operate.

The Speaker of the Swedish Riksdag Urban Ahlin, followed by the Head of the European Union Delegation to Belarus Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin delivered their congratulation addresses to the EHU academic community.

“The mission of EHU is of particular importance, because it develops an alternative way of thinking, contributes to the strengthening of civil society and fosters the democratization of Belarus. Besides, EHU promotes intercultural dialogue in the multicultural space of Vilnius”, — emphasized the member of the Seimas of Lithuania and Signatory of the Act on the Re-establishment of the Independence of Lithuania Emanuelis Zingeris, who for many years has expressed his utmost support to EHU. Gala Ceremony was attended by many prominent Lithuanian politicians and diplomats, including former Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, Member of the Seimas Dr. Mantas Adomėnas, Ambassadors Jonas Paslauskas, Eitvydas Bajarūnas, Deividas Matulionis, Andrius Pulokas and others.

During the Ceremony, Chair of the Senate Prof. Emeritus Ryhor Miniankou has announced the decision of the Senate to bestow the Doctor Honoris Causa degree to two distinguished personalities: the Chairman of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Dr. Hans-Gert Pöttering and the President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Dr. Jonathan Fanton.

“For many years Konrad Adenauer Foundation cooperates with the European Humanities University. During this time many joint projects, courses, and publications were implemented. EHU’s mission is particularly important for Belarus and I am pleased to recall my meetings with University students in the European Parliament and the discussions we had. It is an honor to become EHU Doctor Honoris Causa for me”, — said Dr. Pöttering in his keynote lecture.

A famous Belarusian writer and journalist, Assoc. Prof. Victor Martinovich addressed EHU academic community and guests on behalf of all the University faculty. Assoc. Prof. Martinovich stressed: “For me and other blacklisted Belarusian writers and researchers EHU has become a force, which allows them to be visible and heard in the Belarusian and European community”.

The guests of the Ceremony were joined by two graduates from Minsk and Vilnius generations of EHU Alumni: famous Belarusian musician, the leader of the rock-band J:Морс Uladzimir Puhach and Homel NGO activist Alexandra Lazarenka. Referring to the importance of the University’s mission to Belarus, Puhach said: “EHU provides unique knowledge, encourages critical and creative thinking, cultivates life-long learning — the skills that are of critical importance for a successful professional career in the contemporary world”.

EHU acknowledges every person’s contributions to the development of the University. That is why during the Ceremony, the Laudatio Magnum and Laudatio diplomas were bestowed to those faculty and staff members,  who served for EHU for 20 and 15 years, respectively.

During the joint reception on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of EHU and 10th anniversary of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Belarus Country Office, the guests had a chance to enjoy the theatrical performance by EHU students, created within the Core Curriculum in assistance with the lecturer of the EHU Academic Department of Humanities and Arts and prominent Lithuanian director Ervinas Koršunovas. Afterwards, guests of the Ceremony explored exhibitions of 25 best student graphic works and 25 photographs from the history of the University.