Lithuania intends to continue its support to the Vilnius-based European Humanities University (EHU) until this education institution is able to be settled again in Minsk, country's Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Azubalis said on 2 June in Vilnius, addressing the participants of the third EHU Trust Fund Donor Assembly.
According to the Minister, Lithuania's decision to open the EHU in Vilnius was based on respect to democracy values, freedom and human rights, but the mission of the EHU is impossible without the support from partners.
Minister A.Azubalis thanked the European Commission and the Nordic Council of Ministers, the biggest donors of the university, and expressed hope that the support of these institutions would not decrease in the future.
"The EHU is one of the most prominent international projects of democracy promotion, and it became a reality because of your support", the Minister told the participants of the donor conference.
Minister A.Azubalis also noted that the EHU is an important promoter of Belarusian culture and identity. Therefore, in the opinion of the head of Lithuania's diplomacy, it would make sense to teach more subjects in the Belarusian language, in addition to the existing studies of Belarus.
In 2008, Trust Fund was established at the initiative of the European Commission. The fund aims to guarantee continuous funding to the EHU, it is administrated by the Nordic Council of Ministers, which makes payments for the activities of the university only according to the strategic plan and budget, that are adopted by the Governing Board of the EHU.
Currently, the Trust Fund has become the main source of the EHU's financial stability. The fund is supported by the European Commission, Nordic Council of Ministers, the U.S.A., the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Spain, and Sweden.
Advisory Committee of the fund was established aiming to effectively attract funding from governments and private sources. Members of the committee are representatives of Estonia, Lithuania, Norway, and the U.S.A.
The first Donor Assembly was held on 23 October 2008 in Brussels, the second was organized on 2 June 2009 in Vilnius. The third assembly was attended by representatives of the European Commission, Nordic Council of Ministers, McArthur Foundation, United States Agency for International Development, the EHU, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and the U.S.A.
The European Humanities University was originally based in Minsk, but in 2004 it was closed down for political reasons. At the invitation of the Government of Lithuania, the university moved to Vilnius in 2005. In 2006, it was granted the status of a Lithuanian university. Currently, it is has more than one and a half thousand Belarusian students. By inviting this Belarusian university to renew its activities in Vilnius, Lithuania undertook a commitment to support it.