Two hundred and thirty two students—175 undergraduate and 57 graduate—were awarded diplomas by the European Humanities University (EHU) at a graduation ceremony held July 10 in the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society.
The Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Committee for European Affairs of the Lithuanian Parliament Gediminas Kirkilas delivered the commencement address to EHU’s Class of 2015.
“If somebody had told me 30 years ago that we would have European Humanities University in Vilnius, where subjects are taught in the Belarusian language, it would have sounded like fiction. But we can say today that EHU Project is successful. Why? Because Belarus is a very close country for Lithuania, with our common heritage and past. Moreover, the country obviously belongs to Europe,” Kirkilas has noted.
Mr. Kirkilas wished everybody success and happiness and asked the students: „Please, use your knowledge and your energy to make our countries even closer, more developed, both working on new technologies, advanced industry, and the welfare of our people,“ Mr. Kirkilas said.
EHU Rector prof. David Pollick congratulated students, their families, faculty and staff on what they have done.
“These graduates whose lives have been touched by the faculty and staff of the EHU will now, in turn, touch and influence the direction and future of the societies they enter—particularly Belarus. They are EHU‘s great legacy,” EHU Rector said.
Mr. Pollick emphasized that ”it isn‘t just what you‘ve learned here, it‘s the choices you‘ll make in your life that will matter the most”.
EHU Founding Rector and President Anatoli Mikhailov reminded young people that their education is never complete.
“You are facing with the choice of your further professional and individual development now. Some of you will proceed with academia, some of you will go back to Belarus, some of you will explore other highways. However, none of you will ever forget our unique project of EHU. After your graduation, we will need your input in developing and strengthening our unique project,“ EHU President said.
During the ceremony, Dzmitry Bazhko (BA, Cultural Heritage and Tourism 2009) was presented with this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Bazhko works as a Hospitality Project Manager at Airbnb in Dublin, Ireland. He graduated from EHU with honors and has kept in touch with his alma mater ever since. He is responsible for creating and administering EHU‘s Alumni LinkedIn page.
Jan Guardian (Master of Law) was honored as the best graduate students in his class, and Yana Liashkovich (Bachelor of Arts in Communication) was honored as the best BA student.
The vast majority of awarded students hail from Belarus, where EHU was established in 1992 and operated until it was forced into exile in 2004. The two-hour long graduation ceremony was attended by Lithuanian officials, local diplomats, business people, civil society leaders, parents of students, and other guests.
Around 1,200 students are currently studying at the European Humanities University: more than 95% are Belarusians. Since its founding, more than 2,400 alumni have graduated from EHU.