VMU. The Age of Education
Lithuania and Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) marked their 25th reestablishment anniversaries within a similar timeframe. We appreciate the trust we have gained from the students, the nation, the international community, and the public at large, and we take pride in what we have achieved in this period. The only artes liberales in Lithuania, a classical university of liberal arts, VMU has developed a modern Harvard-based concept of studies, which helped it become the first university to implement interdisciplinarity and internationality into its study process. The university has also set up the most cutting-edge labs that are among the best in the country, has modernized its infrastructure, and has nurtured a strong humanist spirit, which has helped VMU remain a strong intellectual and civic breeding ground of the society. All of the above are what separates VMU from other universities.
Throughout the period since rebirth, VMU has blossomed into mature adulthood, which encourages us to progress even further: establish even higher national and global goals of honourable existence and improve the role of science in the country’s sustainable development.
The pursuit of knowledge should be the definitive state of mind in a modern society which is open to information. Therefore, in the 21st century, education is not only one of the fundamental human rights, which ensures gender equality, cultural diversity, peace, and public spirit, but also the driving force of sustainable development. Universities are the training grounds for ideas, in which the concentration of the most advanced minds is the greatest and the space to practice spreading these ideas around is the best.
Evidently, in the 21st century, it is insufficient to speak only about internationality, interdisciplinary research, linkage between different research areas, and collaboration between business and science. There must be many more, and more varied, criteria for high-quality education: the ability to teach oneself, to be able to give birth to knowledge from within oneself becomes a challenge to the country’s entire educational ecosystem. From kindergarten to university, from the parents to the public – all of this has to be focused on high-quality education of progressive personalities, in order for the soil where the seed falls and grows to be fertile and beneficial to the sprout’s upward growth.
A tradition must emerge for discussions between equal participants about science which would reflect today‘s public and environmental challenges, technological and non-technological innovations, involved and creative society, and creation of a competitive environment, all the while retaining a set of values, a unique identity and singularity in a global market. Interaction between sustainable development and science is inevitable.
Only careful listening to the era, the environment, and the needs of the public and the person gives birth to genius ideas and helps one predict the outlines of the future. Never before in history have the borders between countries been as faded as they are now. In such a context, singularity is much more defined by the small things, the miniatures. Globalization diminishes national identity, but not the specific daily life we live in a particular, unique setting. In the ever-changing world, the individual must be able to move in branching angles, to resist the set patterns and to accept the world as a giant workshop of opportunities.
It is precisely the modern, artes liberales-based learning process implemented at VMU that is the closest to today’s volatile existence. Equal opportunities to pursue expert knowledge are provided here, and no one is restricted to only one option. After all, both the multidimensional experts and the masters of one specific field are essential nowadays.
As a visionary and constantly self-reinventing university, VMU begins the new stage in the reconsideration of educational ideas and declares this era to be the Education Age, in which the idea is the currency of the highest value. It is the age when we must once again remember and rethink the past, the present, and the future together.