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European Commission supports Belarusian university in exile

The difficult political situation of Belarus has put the country in the spotlight of the international community’s concern. The European Commission (through the European Initiative for Democracy and Human rights) has recently joined forces with the Nordic Council of Ministers in giving financial support to a Belarusian university in exile, the European Humanities University (EHU) in Vilnius. The agreement, which grants the university a total of 2.78 million euros, is supposed to allow 350 students to study at the university over a period of three years. The European Commission is by far the biggest donor, with 2.2 million euros.

The university, previously located in Minsk, closed down in September 2004, after its rector, Professor Anatoli Mikhailov, was ‘invited’ to resign by the Education Minister and, following the rector’s refusal, was closed down by the Ministry. As a result, the EHU, backed by Western universities, decided to relocate to Vilnius.

Prior to closing down it campus in Minsk, EHU had been receiving financial and intellectual input from Western countries. The university, therefore, started to be regarded by the Belarusian authorities as a potential centre for dissenters. At present, the EHU has about 1 000 students. About 300 of them study in Vilnius, and another 600 are distance learners from Belarus.

European Humanities University website