The United Kingdom's Minister for Europe David Lidington met with European Humanities University (EHU) students and spoke with them about their studies at EHU, the political situation in Belarus, and their own experiences living under two very different regimes in two countries–Lithuania and Belarus. Lidington asked students to share their experiences of living and studying in Lithuania.
Students said the main reason they are studying at EHU is the ability to study what they want without ideological indoctrination. Unfortunately, they said, Belarus does not provide this opportunity. Speaking about the future, students stressed that it’s important to establish a strong Belarusian diaspora in Lithuania that could make an impact on Belarus.
“We are like mediators who try to connect Belarus with Western culture. The distance between Vilnius and Minsk is about 200 kilometers, but a difference in mood is noticeable,” said one student. Students expressed the hope that study and internship exchange programs with UK universities could be established. The Minister for Europe promised to look into it and see how he might be helpful. Lidington said he appreciated the time spent with EHU students. “To come, see and talk to you all directly is a certain advice. You have very good qualities,” he told participating students. Lidington is a British Conservative Party politician who has been a Member of Parliament since 1992.
He is currently a Minister of State at the Foreign Office, serving as Minister for Europe. The European Humanities University is a private, non-profit liberal arts university founded in Minsk in 1992. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the university has been headquartered in Vilnius, Lithuania since authorities expelled it from Belarus in 2004. It serves nearly 2,000 mostly Belarusian students, offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs and promoting research in the humanities and social sciences.