Welcome to the Pan-European University Apeiron with headquarters in Banja Luka and departments in Novi Grad and Bijeljina. I extend my warm greetings to the respected founders of the university, the director, assistant professor Sinisa Aleksić, and the president of the Board of Directors, Mr. Darko Uremović. I also greet my esteemed colleagues, the university deans who are on the podium, vice-deans, technical secretaries and the entire administrative and working staff of the Pan-European University Apeiron.
Dear students, on behalf of the founder and management of the university, I would like to sincerely thank you personally, as well as your parents, for the trust you have courageously and unequivocally expressed in the act of deciding to enroll in studies at our renowned institution of higher education - Pan-European University Apeiron.
Today, here - in the large amphitheater, we open the first class in the academic year 2022/2023 with a ceremonial act of traditional gathering of the new generation of students enrolled in 20 study programs of the first cycle at the 7 parent faculties of the Pan-European University Apeiron - Faculty of Business Economics, Faculty of Legal Sciences, Faculty of Information technology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Sports Sciences, Faculty of Traffic and Faculty of Philological Sciences.
Hereby we would like to introduce the leaders of our faculties - hardworking and dedicated deans of the Pan-European University Apeiron:
- Prof. Dr. Mirjana Landika, dean of the Faculty of Business Economics,
- Prof. dr. Vladimir Đurić, Dean of the Faculty of Legal Sciences (Dean Đurić delegated the representative of the Faculty, Prof. Dr. Ljubinka Mitrović, due to his inability to do so),
- Prof. Dr. Branko Latinović, Dean of the Faculty of Information Technologies,
- Prof. Dr. Ljiljana Bijelić – Stojanović, dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences,
- Prof. Dr. Velibor Srdić, Dean of the Faculty of Sports Sciences,
- Prof. Dr. Tomislav Vujnović, Dean of the Faculty of Traffic and
- Prof. Dr. Katarina Laketić-Držajić, dean of the Faculty of Philological Sciences (Dean Držajić delegated the representative of the faculty, Prof. Dr. Slavica Lukić, due to her inability).
We thank the deans present and want to tell you, dear fellow students, that the doors of the deans, their deputies - vice deans, as well as the technical secretaries of the faculty are open every day for all questions regarding the implementation of your study activities. In addition, the heads of those departments are responsible for the technical implementation of teaching activities in the university departments in Novi Grad and Bijeljina.
During the first cycle of the winter semester, i.e. in the first weeks of the academic year, as part of mastering the teaching units in the Academic Skills subject, you will be introduced to the entire work of the above-mentioned, but also other organizational units and professional services of the university, such as, for example, Student Services, Center for managing the library, Library and reading room, IT support service, and others.
Who are we, Apeiron Pan-European University? You certainly received key information about the Apeiron higher education institution long before today, when you considered the decision to enroll in studies. As rector, I am obliged to state some of the most important facts about Apeiron University, according to which we differ in terms of quality from other universities in the Republic of Srpska, as well as the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the regional environment of the Western Balkans:
- A tradition of 20 years of existence, continuous growth and development, and quality improvement, which resulted in the institution's accreditation,
- The number of students and teachers is above the average compared to all other private higher education institutions in the Republic of Srpska - over 2.500 active students in the academic year, about 200 teachers and associates,
- Quality ranking: In the Republic of Srpska, the first among private higher education institutions,
- Active international exchange of students and teachers - outgoing and incoming within the framework of the EU program ERASMUS+ and other programs, including the programs of the Faculty of Philological Sciences with the Higher Education Institution in Russia.
- The highest quality offer of elective programs in the region: over 20% of elective courses offered by the university,
- The highest quality offer of online teaching content and learning resources: within the DL platform we have over 10.000 hours of recorded video lectures, the MS teams platform enabled teaching during the pandemic,
- Modular way of studying: Combined teaching and consultations in "in-class" and "on-line" mode,
- The unique structure of the teaching cycles (American model): 8 teaching cycles in two semesters enable the gradual mastering of the curriculum, which also enables an additional number of exam deadlines compared to the teaching model of other HEIs in the Republic of Srpska and the region.
- High quality internship offer for students: Over 50 state institutions and private companies from Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina cooperate with Apeiron and accept students for internships,
- A high degree of recognition and nostrification of the diplomas of the Pan-European University Apeiron abroad: which enables the active migration of the professional, scientific and working community of students and alumni of Apeiron,
- The lowest price of tuition in the region: Due to inflationary jumps in 2022, we did not increase the price of tuition, which is an advantage compared to all other universities in the area that increased the price of studying by an average of 20%.
Dear freshmen, today's ceremony is being held for the first time after a two-year break due to the restrictions caused by the corona virus pandemic. And in this way, we remember with longing and deep reverence all our students, members of the academic and working community of the university and all our loved ones who were victims of the pandemic scourge. To them be eternal glory and praise.
Today we are making official the beginning of a new era in the lives of each of you fellow students. And what is the meaning of the word student? According to the general definition, the word student comes from the Latin verb studere: "to strive (for something), to be interested (in something)" and represents a person who attends an institution of higher or higher education, usually a faculty or institute within a university, with the aim of obtaining a higher or superior knowledge in some field of science.
Why is studying and higher education important? Education gives us awareness of life around us, prepares us for life, helps us form opinions and gives us new perspectives. There are many benefits of education that show us exactly how important it is. Besides helping us in our own development and improvement, it helps us to be happier, more successful and more satisfied with ourselves. Also, it guarantees us some kind of respect from society, it gives us stability in fulfilling basic life needs. It helps us develop a career and fulfill our dreams, emancipates us and gives us freedom. The goal of higher education is not to learn everything that can be learned about only one subject, but to develop the ability to think critically and observe the world, to prepare young people for the future and the life that awaits them, and to teach them how to deal with the circumstances in which they find themselves.
What are the expectations of Pan-European University Apeiron from you, dear students? We expect you to be deeply aware and responsible for your future and that of your children and future generations. You will achieve this through your commitment, effort, work and study - mastering the teaching units - materials from the curriculum where you need to successfully acquire the expected competencies - knowledge and skills of the study program you have enrolled.
Will you be successful in your studies and to what extent? That answer depends first of all on you, dear colleagues and fellow freshmen, or on the aforementioned postulates that describe the meaning and goals of education that each student sets for himself as a goal and makes a decision about the intensity of his effort and dedication during his studies. In this regard, experience tells us that some of you will be less successful, others will be more successful, while we will also have exceptionally successful students. However, I would like to emphasize that it is the desire and intention of the academic and management community of Apeiron to avoid, in our opinion, the wrongly domesticated word "failure" from which the adjective of the noun "unsuccessful" student is derived. We want the term "unsuccessful student" to be replaced with the category "underachieving student". Because, according to modern explanations that come from different scientific disciplines - such as, first of all, sociology, philosophy, social psychology, pedagogy, or the general theory of systems and management - and in this context of application, it could be concluded that the "degree of success" of studying , of course, depends on the complex relationships of various factors of the internal and external environment in the study system for each individual case, that is, for each individual student.
Therefore, from all of the above, it can be concluded that students in the process of studying go through different degrees of success, which certainly have different directions and sizes, so that from our side - the professors and management of Apeiron University, each student will be treated as an individual "complex" an individual according to whom, in accordance with the Law and positive regulations, we will apply standardized and standardized methods of personalized work and learning.
Dear students, what we expect from you in order to realize your studies and mark the degree of success as satisfactory or excellent, we stated in the previous presentation. However, I would say that it is only a necessary condition for completing the complete mission of the student in the wider social community. We appreciate that it would be necessary to fulfill other conditions that could be marked as "sufficient" for this purpose. In this regard, from you, dear freshmen, we expect full responsibility in terms of behavior and actions - both in the system of the Pan-European University Apeiron, and in the wider social community - because we believe that higher education institutions are partly educational institutions where young colleagues should be guided to fulfill their mission in society.
Fellow students, from today you become more mature people by the very act of acquiring student status, and you should get used to that fact and develop awareness of your new role in society. The mission and purpose of studying is not enough on its own without your youthful energy and drive; I invite, ask and ask you to research, ask, discuss with professors and assistants, fellow students; please participate in debates and additional trainings and instructions, work on yourself and invest in yourself, all with the aim of acquiring new competencies - knowledge and skills that are very necessary in today's society. Be "quiet" but persistent rebels of the existing solutions that you see as a problem and do not hold back your desires and aspirations to change such things for the better.
The famous Mostar poet Aleksa Šantić wrote the lyrics of the famous song "Stay here" for a very different occasion. I appreciate that each of us present here, and first of all you dear young fellow freshmen, should remember and re-read the verses of this wonderful poetry by Šantić in order to gain additional strength and meaning to fulfill the life's mission. In this sense, I, as the rector of Apeiron University, invite you to fulfill together, united, courageous and determined, the vow of our generations to live successfully, quality, contentedly and happily on our land and forefathers and to work together to achieve the progress of our cities, villages , streets and our microcosms where we can influence progress. Go abroad with a goal and intention - here, for example, through our institution as part of student exchanges - but only for new ideas, technologies and experiences, and regardless of the length of your stay, return to your communities and country in order to bring new ideas and values and made the life of your children and all people better and better!
Allow me to read the first verse of Šantić (Stay here!), which even today, after more than a century, perfectly reflects our thoughts and dilemmas:
"The sun of someone else's sky will not warm you like this one; Bites of bread are bitter there, Where there is no one and where there is no brother."
Dear students, have you heard the phrase "Dream your dreams"? I believe that most of you have heard this sentence "dream your dreams" at least once in your life on film, television or from friends, parents. Believe me, I testify and responsibly claim that success comes through dreaming and constantly striving to fulfill your dreams. One of the living examples is me here, and I believe most of my fellow professors here in the hall. But, the dream implies everything that was previously said in my address, from which I would single out a few key words: goals, learning, action, research, persistence, dedication and determination. Without these components, even a dream cannot become reality. Keep in mind these key determinants of any success in life, dear colleagues. Therefore, dear freshmen, make a firm decision today that you want to succeed in your journey of studying and obtaining a degree in an academic program at the Pan-European University of Apeiron. During your studies, despite all the difficulties, ups and downs, remember again and again your original goal and decision – to be strong, not to give up and win! Only then will you be ready to face reality.
Do not forget from the beginning of my address the strength and quality of our common institution, our Apeiron. Our Apeiron University stands on a strong armature built from numerous pillars on which rests the overall quality of the institution and the services it provides. Some of Apeiron's key quality pillars are contained in 7 areas (7Qp – seven quality pillars):
Qp1) Quality of curricula of study programs,
Qp2) Quality of academic staff (professors and assistants),
Qp3) Quality of organization and integrated management,
Qp4) Quality of scientific research work and internationalization,
Qp5) Quality of institution and process digitization,
Qp6) Quality of cooperation with the economy and practice, i
Qp7) Quality of cooperation with the social community and volunteer activities.
In 2023, the Pan-European University Apeiron celebrates its 20th anniversary, a significant anniversary of our renowned institution. On this occasion, I appeal to you to keep in mind that today we are carrying the joint baton of Apeiron's generations of students, professors, assistants and workers who have incorporated a part of themselves, their life and working life, into Apeiron, a higher education institution that represents a well-known brand not only in the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also in the wider region of the Western Balkans.
Colleagues, today is a big day in your life. Today you become members of an academic community that is global. It is not only Banja Luka, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but worldwide, with hundreds of millions of members. It is universal and the same rules apply to it all over the world. You are expected to justify your academic status in all situations.
Finally, I would like to quote a world-class, timeless genius who originates from our area, the famous and unsurpassed Nikola Tesla, who, among other things, uttered a genius thought: "Of all the forces of friction (resistance), the one that slows down human progress the most is ignorance, what the Buddha called the greatest evil in the world".
Dear colleagues, welcome! I wish you happy studies and student life.
My door as rector will always be open to you.
I greet you warmly.
Prof. Dr. Sanel JAKUPOVIĆ
Rector of Pan-European University "APEIRON" Banja Luka