"For change to take place in Belarus, we must change the way people think."
This was the main message of the founder and rector of the European Humanities University (EHU) Anatoli Mikhailov when he addressed the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Mikhailov emphasized that the role of education is critically important to this task, and EHU stands as a “beacon of hope" in this regard.
Mikhailov was joined by Belarusian opposition activists Aljaksandr Milinkevic, Anatol Liabedzka, and Aleksandr Feduta (who teaches at EHU) as well as Lubow Kovaliova, mother of one of two young men sentenced to death for the April 2011 subway bombing in Minsk, who described to the committee the situation in Belarus at its January 23 meeting.
On January 25, PACE adopted a resolution on the situation in Belarus. The resolution calls attention to the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, persecution of journalists and political activists, and the treatment of political prisoners in Belarus.
Among adopted recommendations – Council of Europe member states are urged to offer opportunities for young Belarusians to obtain an education in a free environment. PACE also encourages member states to support the European Humanitaries University in Lithuania.
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.