The Rector’s Message for 2023
2022 is drawing to a close. Just like the two previous years, it brought events that had a fundamental effect on global affairs, as well as on the life of the University of West Bohemia.
Yes, the consequences of Russia’s barbaric attack on Ukraine affect us all deeply. I must admit that meeting with Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian students was an incredibly powerful experience that I won’t easily forget. Many Ukrainian students are worried about the lives of their loved ones and about the future; our students from Russia are experiencing an indescribable feeling of helplessness and despair in the face of their country’s propaganda.
All of us who have spoken to students or academics about these sad events were reminded once again of what it’s like to live without freedom in a country that does not allow open discussion. The events of the past months can also be seen as a call to cultivate the ability to have a real dialogue in which people listen to each other, respond factually and are willing to change their opinion. And is there any better environment in which to do this than a university?
I am proud of our students, who immediately started organising activities to support their colleagues. Their sensitivity to injustice, their activism and their willingness to sacrifice their own comfort are, I think, a promise of a positive future.
But the year 2022 brought more than that. For me, this is also the year in which I have slowly started to close the chapter of my life as Rector, with less than two months to go.
We have managed to implement the amendment of the Higher Education Act at the UWB and developed a functional quality system which helped us obtain institutional accreditation; our research centres succeeded in international evaluation and continue to thrive after the end of the sustainability phase. We are becoming increasingly involved in international structures and have joined the EUPeace alliance of European universities that is currently forming. We are also developing new interdisciplinary projects with an international footprint. Our activities in the neighbouring Karlovy Vary region have become more dynamic. In part thanks to the UWB, there is now a tram line connecting the campus and city centre, the children of UWB employees can attend a preschool right in the university dormitory building and the Kulturka and Družba buildings in the city centre have become places for meetings and venues for inspiring events.
I regret that as I am writing this, it is not yet clear who will succeed me as Rector. The Academic Senate will vote in two days from now, on Wednesday 21 December. But I can say that I will be happy to assist the new Rector in any way I can to help them build on what we have managed to do and all of the university’s achievements.
But every success is the culmination of many partial steps and decisions that are often not easy. My wish for the University of West Bohemia is that it will continue to live up to its motto: The best that we can do for our future world is to help you do it. We want not only to pass on our knowledge and skills to our students, but also to motivate them, to seek new paths together with them and to be a role model in being honest and decent people.
I would like to thank you all for everything you’ve done to help fulfil the university’s mission. I appreciate our collaboration and look forward to many more activities and meetings together.
I wish you wonderful Christmas holidays with your loved ones and good health and happiness in the new year. May 2023 bring you as much joy and success as possible in both your professional and your private life.
| Pavel KORELUS
19. 12. 2022