Education is the foundation of the development of democratic societies, the essential premise for the modernization and evolution of nations towards an increasingly prosperous standard of living, President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday, in his message sent by the State Councilor Catalina Galer at the International Congress „Dialogue and Cooperation in the Black Sea and Balkan Regions,” organized by the Black Sea Universities Network (BSUN) and the Balkan Universities Association (BUA), according to Agerpres.
„Education is the foundation of the development of democratic societies, the essential premise for the modernization and evolution of nations towards an increasingly prosperous standard of living. Higher education is the one that lays the foundations for progress, through its mission to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to innovate and find the right solutions to the challenges of the present and those of the future. Besides educating highly qualified graduates, universities must also be important voices in the society, influencing public policies, stimulating civic involvement and encouraging ideas and behaviours that define the communities,” said President Iohannis.
According to him, globalization, climate change, technological progress and the accelerated pace at which the world is changing require an increasingly rapid degree of adaptation, all of which generate the need for specialists in emerging fields, and universities play a fundamental role in training professionals who will respond the requirements of the labour market, which are in continuous evolution.
„Currently, the countries of the Black Sea and the Balkan region are facing many similar, extremely complex challenges, considering the security context generated by Russia’s war in Ukraine, high gas and energy prices, and inflation. In order to find innovative solutions in addressing these challenges, it is necessary to increase the degree of inter-university cooperation,” the message of the President of Romania states.
In his opinion, the academic communities must make joint efforts, so that, by incorporating different perspectives and ideas in the researches they carry out, they will provide valuable and impactful results.
„During such periods dominated by crises, the values that define our societies, including our democracies, are questioned and tested. All the more important is the role of universities, which can help their students acquire the skills and competences necessary to combat disinformation, to have informed opinions and become active members of their communities,” said Klaus Iohannis.
According to him, the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic had a considerable impact on the educational process, and the multiple changes and evolutions of the pandemic waves put pressure on universities, which had to adjust and organize remote courses, so that the negative effects of this period are felt by the students as little as possible.
Klaus Iohannis recalled that universities, in the context of the crisis in Ukraine, offered assistance to refugees, offering accommodation in student campuses and organizing fund-raising campaigns.
„We are currently going through a deep security crisis, triggered by Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. The academic environment has condemned the unprovoked war, and universities have offered assistance to refugees, through fundraising campaigns, providing accommodation on student campuses or support to Ukrainian students. This is what a significant social impact universities can have. They must continue to be a factor of change, promoting relations between different cultures, tolerance and strengthening social cohesion. I am sure that, by working more together, universities in the Balkan regions and the Black Sea region will be able to overcome the current challenges, offering at the same time innovative perspectives and motivating students to learn and contribute to the economic and cultural development of our countries,” the head of state said.