Address of President Siljanovska Davkova at the ceremony marking 75 years since the establishment of the “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” University

21 May 2024 | Press Releases, Speeches

President Gordana Siljanovska Davkova addressed the ceremonial academy on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” University and the celebration of the University’s patron day.

Below is the integral text of the address of President Siljanovska Davkova.

Distinguished Madam Rector of the “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” University,
Respected Vice-Rectors, Deans, Professors,
Dear Students,
Esteemed Colleagues,

I am honored that this is one of the very first addresses of mine after assuming the office of President. Indeed, my place was and still is among you. This University is the source of knowledge, inspiration and motivation for me. 75 years later I think that it is the time when we can say that the wisdom is with us. I gained knowledge from my senior respected professors under whose mentorship, such as Telemax, I studied law. Not only law, but also justice. Even today I draw inspiration from my esteemed colleagues, both women and men, with whom I have collaborated and I will continue to collaborate. And, most importantly, UKIM is the source of motivation and inspiration to the new coming generations.

We are celebrating 75 years since the establishment of the “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” University, but we are also marking 80 years of ASNOM Macedonia. Of course, from the church-school municipalities until today, teachers have had an important place in the history of this country. UKIM is united, UKIM is in harmony with the Macedonian state. The university was and remains the alma mater of generations that became more tolerant with knowledge, became competitive, left traces here, and leave traces around the world. What the economy, science, technology, culture and art are to a large extent is due to you. UKIM is not an oasis. UKIM cooperates fruitfully with numerous higher education institutions and organizations around Europe and the world, UKIM allows us to be part of the single educational space, from the sea of knowledge, to deepen the knowledge and skills of European universities, and I wish that the students return here and put the knowledge in the function of the state.

The fate of our state is to be closely related to the oldest university – “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”. And vice versa. UKIM has always gone through the challenges our country is going through.
Esteemed Attendees,

For several consequent years, UKIM is among the top 2,000 world universities. Still, it was much higher. I can say that it is encouraging to be among the two thousand best, but if we look at the wider regional and European context, we will see that the situation is not bright. That is why I wish that UKIM is not the only Macedonian university on this ranking list, but that it climbs higher on the Shanghai list.

This situation prompts me to ask the following question: Can the oldest and largest university, whose staff built this state and embedded themselves therein, have a chance to climb higher? I am sure. A responsible state will invest in education and science. There are no small or large states in education, science and culture. Let us not allow ourselves the luxury of being at the bottom of this list. I think that I pose this dilemma not only as a president, but as a professor who cannot live without education and science, without law and without justice.

There are several reasons for this situation. However, I think we need real reforms. Reforms that will not end as dead ends. I repeat once again – a responsible government will realize that there is no better investment than that in education and research. Development is based and will remain based on good education. It is clear to us that the gap between the educational profiles and the real needs of the labor market has increasing. Some scientific fields remained neglected. But we should pay attention to them.

In order to change the situation we are in, we need to pay attention to the overall higher education, to achieve well-thought-out and essential reforms, as our teachers did. We are proud of them, but we deserve our students to be proud of us.

We need to defend freedom. There is no freedom without critical thought. Education is the channel, education is the institution, education is the home in which we will pass ideals from one generation to another. We all say that schools and universities are bastions of freedom and independence. Our modern heroes, your modern heroes, dear students, should be the teachers, educators, professors. They have a responsibility to create generations that will ask questions that will be critical, that will criticize us, that will be better than us. And we, together with them, will offer answers and solutions for the challenges brought by the future. The future is already happening to us, in front of our eyes.

Respected Guests,

The digital transformation that was conceived in some of the top universities is now transforming all the universities, including the universities in our country. Those universities that adapt to the digital age the fastest will survive at the top of the Shanghai ranking, as well as any other ranking.

Therefore, the state should adopt a comprehensive approach to digital transformation, through the implementation of a precise national digital strategy, in accordance with the digital agenda of the European Union and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We need digital literacy. We must improve digital literacy of the population, invest in upgrading the digital infrastructure and develop innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Education has always been a top priority for the Macedonian state. We will be respected in the European Union and in the world if we develop quality, competitive education and science, and if we nurture and reward the best. Therefore, education must be modernized, adapted to world trends and dimensioned in accordance with the real needs on the labor market. We must strengthen the link between educational institutions and companies. We have to invest in research and development. This will reduce unemployment and stop the exodus of the smartest and moist needed.
Dear Friends,

As your colleague, I am aware that such reforms require great investment, but also sacrifice, as demonstrated by the patrons of our university – the All-Slavic educators and saints – brothers Cyril and Methodius.

Historians agree that the Thessaloniki brothers had clear instructions from the Byzantine state to make the Slavic peoples literate so that they would not fall under influence. In other words, for the Byzantine state, education was only a means to spread political influence, we know that literacy, i.e. education is neither, nor must it be reduced to a means for political purposes. Education is an end in itself. And for this purpose, we must be aware that we must start working on achieving this goal immediately.

I said that this is my first address. My first visit abroad is related to the work of Ss. Cyril and Methodius. In three days I will have the honor to curtsy in front of the tomb of Constantine the Philosopher – Cyril in the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome. If we want to be faithful followers of his work, we must selflessly elevate Macedonian higher education and thus secure the future of the young generations that come after us.

Congratulations on this great jubilee and may the upcoming holiday of the All-Slavic educators be eternal!

Thank you.




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