On Tuesday, the Jagiellonian University hosted a very special event – a guest lecture delivered in the Collegium Novum Assembly Hall by the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron entitled Poland and France in Europe. The meeting was part of the official visit of the French presidential couple to Poland.
In his speech, President Macron referred to hundreds of years of friendship between Poland and France. ‘For a thousand years of European history, our states have never been at war with each other. We’re deeply connected by our shared convictions and love of freedom. It’s no coincidence that it was in France that many Poles found their second home’, said Emmanuel Macron, mentioning Polish historical figures such as Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki and Maria Skłodowska-Curie. He stressed that although the 20th century was different for Poland than for most other European countries, as it was marked by violent domination and occupation by Nazi and Communist regimes, it is nonetheless a truly European nation, whose achievements in the pursuit of peace are well illustrated by the Nobel Prizes awarded to its people.
‘Europe is not just a market, but first and foremost a political and peace project. Promoting European identity and values is not a marginal, but indeed an existential aspect of it. Distancing ourselves from shared cultural and ideological values is a mistake that will lead to conflicts, and without unity, the European Union won’t be able to continue its mission. It’s possible to feel both Polish and European’, said Emmanuel Macron.
The French President also talked about the future of Europe. ‘The young generation of Europeans will face three great challenges: security, climate change, and education. We’ll be able to overcome them only if we’re strong, united and unanimous. The European Union was built by dreamers. Please, be dreamers too’, said President Macron towards the end of his speech. After it concluded, the President of France met with JU Rector Prof. Wojciech Nowak.
One of Emmanuel Macron’s first initiatives as president was the idea of establishing several European Universities, composed of a number of higher education institutions from at least three European Union members. The aim of the project would be to ensure the highest standards of education, integrate EU members, and build a stronger European cultural identity. In response to President Macron’s initiative, the Jagiellonian University, along with 7 leading European universities – Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (France), Freie Universität Berlin (Germany), Alma mater studiorum Università di Bologna (Italy), University of Edinburgh (Great Britain), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), Helsingin Yliopisto (Finland) – has brought to life the UNA Europa alliance. The network aims to create a unique mode of cooperation involving joint research, educational programmes, and working for the benefit of both local and European communities. Endeavours undertaken within the framework of UNA Europa will include inventing new forms of education directed to both university students and the general population, conducting interdisciplinary research in a truly international environment with the use of member universities’ infrastructure, and developing innovative ways of knowledge transfer with a variety of partners: local and national governments, non-government organisations, and cultural institutions.
Apart from the newly established UNA Europa network, the Jagiellonian University is also a member of the Utrecht Network, Coimbra Group, and The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities. Within the framework of these institutions as well as on the basis of individual agreements, the Jagiellonian University collaborates with 14 French higher education institutions. In particular, this cooperation features the following JU units: Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology, Faculty of Geography and Geology, Faculty of Polish Studies, Faculty of Philology, Faculty of Law and Administration, Faculty of International and Political Studies, and the three faculties forming the Medical College.