French President Emmanuel Macron, currently visiting Lithuania, has been awarded an honourary doctorate degree by Vilnius University.
"Vilnius University is a guardian of Lithuania's traditional culture and the memory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania,” Macron said during the ceremony on Tuesday. “But it is also very modern and always future-oriented, which is reflected by international prizes your scientists regularly receive.”
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"I am truly honored to receive this title in the heart of Vilnius Old Town. And this honourable degree is being awarded by one of the oldest and well-known European universities," he added.
Vilnius University and France have long-standing ties, he added.
"Foreign students, including dozens of French citizens, fill the auditoria of your honorable university every year. Last year, there were around 400 of them across all Lithuanian universities," Macron added.
He was awarded the degree for his visionary idea of an alliance of European universities by creating joint networks of European universities and expanding the Erasmus+ exchange initiative.
"Three years ago, I proposed establishing networks of European universities to unite our scientific traditions. Universities enthusiastically responded to this proposal. 24 such networks now exist,” he said.
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“I am glad that French and Lithuanian educational establishments are taking an active part in them, thus, strengthening mutual relations. After the first two projects were announced, our countries joined four consortiums. One of them linked Vilnius and Lyon Universities," said Macron.
Vilnius University, together with the Arqus European University Alliance, became part of the initiative uniting the universities of Vilnius, Lyon (France), Bergen (Norway), Graz (Austria), Leipzig (Germany), Padua (Italy), and Granada (Spain).