Since 2011 the EU has provided 300 young Belarusians with a scholarship for degree studies of their own choice at 250 accredited institutions in Europe – primarily within the fields of Law, Economics, Social Sciences, Business Studies, Natural Sciences, Health sciences and Engineering. In close cooperation with the EU delegation in Minsk, the scholarship programme has been implemented by the Nordic Council of Ministers in the years from 2011-2018.
By providing quality higher education for a generation of young Belarusians, the EU has established a founda-tion for future development of Belarusian society. The scholarship scheme has aimed at getting students to re-turn to Belarus after graduation and thereby contributing to the modernization of Belarus. And indeed, gradu-ates have proven their dedication to contribute to developments in Belarus, either as scientists, researchers, hu-man rights lawyers – or as professionals within NGOs, public organisations, and private companies.
This year the programme was able to support 15 development projects designed by graduates with a total sum of 50.000 euros. Graduates were granted up to 4.500 euros to implement self-designed projects ideas focusing on different issues such as female leadership, gender equality, democracy, human rights, media, waste man-agement, and tourism.
With the aim of ensuring sustainability of the scholarship scheme and maintaining a strong connection between Belarusian youth, a forum called International Alumni in Belarus has been established by one of the graduates from ESSYB. The main purpose of the Forum is to unite young Belarusians with foreign educational experience in expanding their network of professional contacts and meet friends, colleagues and associates.
The final alumni and graduation event hosted 150 participants, including graduates and their family members, media, ambassadors and government officials. The audience was welcomed by Helén Nilsson, Director of Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Lithuania. Afterwards, Viktor Babariko, Chairman of Management Board, Belgaz-prombank, held a key note speech on the topic “How to become successful: Future competencies and needs in Belarus and globally”. The speech was supplemented by a panel discussion and a following Q&A session moder-ated by Journalist Yury Drakakhrust. Besides key note speaker Viktor Babariko, the panel consisted of Professor Yulia Chernyavskaya, Belarusian State University and OESS graduate Katia Lysionok, now working for Google as a Senior Account Manager. After the panel discussion seven scholarship holders spoke on a topic of their own choice. The event ended with a final graduation ceremony, introduced by Head of the Delegation of the Europe-an Union to Belarus, Andrea Wiktorin. All young people who recently graduated from the programme received a diploma for their achievements.