“Regardless of the difficulties we have been through in the last couple of years, we have to be optimistic. The first steps that we are seeing now at EHU—developing a mission, a strategy, teamwork on a budget—are very encouraging,” said Frederic Coene, Head of Operation Section of the Delegation of the European Union to Belarus, at the EHU Trust Fund Assembly of Donors.
“We should give a mandate to the university and the Governing Board to get EHU back on track, to make it a sustainable university and the European Union is definitely willing to support you in that,” Coene said.
The European Humanities University (EHU) Trust Fund hosted its eighth annual Donor’s Assembly on June 4, 2015 in Vilnius. More than 60 participants discussed the current situation and future of EHU.
“The Governing Board needs to understand the soul of this university and that their decision making needs to take the political consequences more into account than they have done until now. The university’s donors need to unite and stand behind this project together. In the Nordic Council of Ministers we have an idea of closer donor contacts, not only meeting once a year in a Donor Assembly but to have discussions during the year on the university’s strategy and on what we want,” noted Kenneth Broman, Head of the Secretary General’s Office of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
EHU Rector David Pollick presented the general development of EHU and the challenges ahead, including a retrospective view of the 2014-2015 academic year, the Governing Board’s “Charge” document, the university’s restructuring and strategic planning process, review of the university mission, institutional fundraising philosophy, budget process and goals for 2015-2016.
EHU Trust Fund Manager Mads Meinert gave an update on the EHU Trust Fund’s finances: current financial situation, development since the last Donor’s Assembly, amendments to the Trust Fund’s terms of references and fundraising in the future.
“I am confident that we will get a good strategic plan and balanced budget of EHU eventually. The balanced budget and our right actions will get us back on track. We have to rebuild the trust of donors, because there was a lot of misinformation and misunderstandings inside and outside of the donors’ community. We affirm our basic commitment to EHU”, summarized Mads Meinert, EHU’s Trust Fund Manager.
The EHU Trust Fund is an independent body, established by mandate of the European Commission and responsible for managing donations and overseeing the university’s budget. It works closely with EHU to secure donations to the university. Approximately two-thirds of EHU’s budget is funded by EHU Trust Fund donations, which makes an education at EHU affordable for students from Belarus.
Participants of the Donor’s Assembly also held a meeting at the university’s campus with EHU students and faculty, where they exchanged views and held discussions.
The Donor's Assembly followed a scheduled meeting of the University's Governing Board, where the Interim report, draft budget of the 2015/2016 academic year, administrative restructuring process, strategic planning process, review of the university mission, pre-conditions for EHU’s return to Belarus, student representation in the Governing Board, and other issues were discussed.
The next EHU Trust Fund Donor’s Assembly will take place in June 2016.