January 1, 2015
In an official ceremony held on December 25th, Dr. Andriy Meleshevych assumed the position of president of National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy. The inauguration ceremony included the former two presidents, Dr. Vyacheslav Bryukhovetsky, who re-established the university in 1991 and continues to serve the university as its honorary president, and Dr. Serhiy Kvit, who currently serves Ukraine as minister of education, and members of the faculty, administration, and students.
Both former presidents transferred the bulava to the new president (“bulava” is a scepter- a symbol used to bestow authority and responsibility to elected hetmans throughout Ukraine’s history). With this transfer of authority comes the responsibility of leading a university that is Ukraine’s most renown and oldest, celebrating its 400th anniversary in 1615, and at the same its most contemporary and progressive, advancing Western-style educational and national reforms.
Andriy Meleshevych was born in Kyiv in 1962. In 1984 he graduated from the Department of Law of Taras Shevchenko National University. In 1992 he received an M.A., and in 1998 he received a Ph.D. in Political Science at Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. After living in the United States, he returned to Ukraine and became professor and dean of the Department of Law of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Dr. Meleshevych is the author of numerous academic journals published in Belgium, Great Britain, Netherlands, Germany, the United States and Ukraine, and a frequently invited participant in international seminars and conferences. The scope of his academic interests includes comparative constitutional law, constitutional courts and constitutional control in comparative perspective, comparative political institutions, international human rights law, political consequences of constitutional law, political parties and elections, transition to democracy and democratic consolidation, courts and law enforcement bodies of countries in transition. Dr. Meleshevych is one of the founders of the Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence (European Commission) located at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, and co-author of the Law on Higher Education adopted by the new Parliament of Ukraine in 2014.
Excerpts from the inauguration speech of Dr. Andriy Meleshevych
President of National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy
God, what a difficult this year it has been! Personally, for me, it was perhaps the most difficult year of my life. It is said that when a person is faced with an extraordinary or shattering event, the occurrence is remembered in the smallest exacting details. My mother remembers minute details of those specific moments when bombs began to fall over Kyiv in 1941.
I remember the minuscule points about the circumstances during the minutes when I first learned about the tragedy in Chernobyl. Up to the last detail, I remember the moments when I found out about the September 11, 2001 tragedy.
God, how difficult for all of us the year 2014 has been. We recall its most profound minutes to the smallest detail as we realize how the year transformed us as a nation and as individuals.
The year was filled with continuous changing emotional upheavals. It was an emotional roller coaster. Feelings of disgust, anger and despair shifted into emotions of self-respect, pride and dignity. Feelings of anxiety and unbearable pain for those who died were transformed into feelings of achievement and triumph, but most importantly, into a feeling of deep respect for one´s own nation, a nation that was able to remove corrupt entrenched evil, and which, I believe, is a nation that has the capability and the will to restore decency and integrity in our country.
Let us consider the role of Mohylianka (endearing word for Kyiv Mohyla Academy). The slogan on Hrushevshoho Street states, “God is with us, Mohylianka!”. Yes, God has been with us all along. We are a small university, but the most active one. On Maidan Square we were everywhere. We were not just in one place, we were on the other side of the barricades, on the side opposing the direction ruled by evil. By right, the Revolution of Dignity is our revolution. I can say without a doubt that last year Mohylianka did not lose face. We can be proud of our role in the country’s transformation.
Next year will also be complex. The country is in the midst of a war. We face a difficult winter in the economic and energy areas, and also in moral terms that guide our values as a nation. Our thoughts are focused on defending our country – on the students who have been sheltered by Kyiv Mohyla Academy this year, on the residents and internal refugees of Crimea and Donbas, on the large number of social-volunteer projects that were organized at the initiative of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
That is precisely why joyous celebrations are not appropriate now. I hope that everyone will understand and accept our rejection of upcoming New Year’s celebrations…
But let us consider next year as a year of opportunities, or rather, not only the upcoming year, but the next five. There are positive elements that shine a light on the road ahead. They are:
• a new law on higher education that provides for administrative, intellectual, and financial autonomy; • the absence of a continuous stand of opposition to the Ministry of Education (the ministry does not stand in the way of development, on the contrary, it promotes it); • the presence of many Kyiv Mohyla Academy members in significant government positions; • the development of a new strategy; • the 400th anniversary Kyiv Mohyla Academy – an important date for all of Ukraine, marking the contributions of Kyiv Mohyla Academy to the history and life of the nation through four centuries until the present time….
We already initiated steps toward the future of the university with a new strategic plan that includes a focus on academic and research development, and on faculty and student engagement, and capital improvements…
I want all of us to understand that Kyiv Mohyla Academy is not an institution of one person or a small group of people. It is not a university that belongs to Meleshevych, Kvit or Bryukhovetsky. Kyiv Mohyla Academy belongs to all of you – the faculty members, students and staff…. By implementing the principles of transparency and democracy, let us proceed ahead with certainty because “We Can”, “We Will” and “We Will Succeed”….
Kyiv Mohyla Foundation
Video: Inauguration Speech (in Ukrainian)