On April 6 a delegation of the Danish Foreign Policy Society paid a visit to the European Humanities University (EHU) in Vilnius and held a discussion on the state of affairs, political, economical and societal developments in contemporary Belarus. Group of the Danish distinguished experts in the area of international relations and diplomacy were joined by Belarusian and Lithuanian counterparts.
In his opening address Acting Rector Jørgen Jørgensen expressed his gratitude for Danish experts in choosing EHU as a part of the Belarus study trip, in order to perceive deeper understanding and critical assessment of the developments in the country and across the region.
Executive Director of the Society Ms. Charlotte Flindt Pedersen said: "Critical thinking, reflection and active participation is of paramount importance to cultivate in the education system, especially when society is going through a transformation from an authoritarian style of governance towards a democratic style of governance. Critical thinking supports the students in acting independently, which is a prerequisite for active participation and taking responsibility for your own life as well as engaging in society as such”.
Director of the Vilnius Office of the Freedom House Vytis Jurkonis and EHU alumnus (Class 2012) and expert at the SYMPA-BiPart Uladzimir Kavalkin joined members of the Society’s delegation in discussing contemporary Belarus, geopolitical settings in the Europe’s East, Freedom in the World 2017 report, and various aspects of Belarus’ public policy, corruption and economic agenda.
In his follow-up of the discussion University President Prof. Anatoli Mikhailov presented the overview of the University’s development since its foundation in Minsk in 1992 in the context of the respective timeline of Belarus’ development. Prof. Mikhailov stressed the necessity of genuine assessment and evaluation of all sorts of Western aid-led initiatives implemented towards the development of human rights, civil society, and academic freedom in Belarus throughout last 25 years in order to avoid stereotypical approach to analysis of the political and societal state of affairs in contemporary Belarus and in the future.
“I learned today that teaching critical thinking is an important part of EHUs mission and they therefore fullfill and important task vis vis Belarus. I hope that one day in near future they will be given the possibility to be University in Belarus again" added Ms. Pedersen after the discussion at EHU.
The Danish Foreign Policy Society is a private, non-profit organisation, founded in 1946 with the purpose to promote interest in and create awareness about foreign policy and international affairs in general. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik is the Patron of the Society. Currently the Society has around 1000 personal members.