Danuta Pavilenene, BC, Vilnius,
On January 18 in Vilnius, during the meeting with Rector of the European Humanities University (EHU) Anatoli Mikhailov, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Azubalis welcomed the university's determination to accept all students, who may be expelled from Belarusian universities for political reasons, reported BC the press service of the Foreign Ministry.
The minister stressed that it was important not only to provide the students with an opportunity to study, but also to enable them to study more subjects in their mother tongue. Minister Azubalis informed the EHU Rector that after the elections he had personally addressed the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and responsible European Commissioners, confirming Lithuania's commitment to continue supporting this university and asking the European Commission to maintain its support. "The campaign in support of arrested students, which was organized by your university's youth soon after the elections, testifies to the civic maturity of the students. This shows that the project to support democracy in Belarus is effective. It helps to reach the goal, so that the Belarusian civil society would further evolve and strengthen despite of whatever decisions the EU may take regarding future relations with the official Minsk," Minister Azubalis said.
According to the minister, the key advantage of this university is that it provides its students with an access to higher education without any ideological constraints and the students not only acquire academic skills, but are also educated as civic-minded, independent personalities - the leaders of a future democratic Belarus. The minister emphasized the importance that the youth was educated in a free environment with the freedom of expression and a possibility to engage in discussions without fearing consequences.
During the meeting, the minister expressed support for the detained students and assured comprehensive assistance to the university's activities through the EHU Trust Fund and various projects. The EHU was closed down in Belarus in 2004 and since 2005 it has been based in Lithuania in exile.