Patrick Horvath, M.A.I.S.-course speaker
"United in Diversity"
Speech held at the M.A.I.S.-graduation ceremony on July 6, 2004
Your Magnificence Dr.Winckler, Rector of the University of Vienna!
Your Excellency Ambassador Sucharipa, Director of the Diplomatic Academy!
Dear programme directors, professors, families, friends and colleagues!
It is an honour for me to say a few words at the graduation ceremony of the "Master of Advanced International Studies"-programme on behalf of all its students.
In order to create our challenging programme, two prestigious institutions have joined forces: my beloved "alma mater", the University of Vienna, the oldest university of all German-speaking countries, and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, the world's oldest functioning educational centre for diplomats, which has just, as you all know, celebrated its 250th anniversary.
The high academic quality of our programme was made possible by the interdisciplinarity of our schedule, which included five important study disciplines - international politics, international law, international economy, comparative politics and contemporary history. It was ensured by the highly qualified staff of the Diplomatic Academy, but also by prominent guest lecturers in our core courses, intensive seminars and interdisciplinary seminars. I would like to give just a few examples and just mention some of those guests: The series of our interdisciplinary seminar for instance started with a lecture given by Mrs.Thoraya Obaid, head of the United Nations Population Fund. We all could profit a lot from the presentation of this highly competent UN-diplomat, who even holds the rank of an Under Secretary General. Or another example: During our study year we had the opportunity to participate in an intensive seminar with Sir Adam Roberts from Oxford University, one of the world's most distinguished expert on the "Liberal International Order". Many other examples of famous teachers would be possible; but the mere mentioning of their names would take to long.
The high academic quality was also ensured by a strict selection process, which admitted only the best applicants to our programme. Among my colleagues one can find graduates of the world's most prestigious institutions: Harvard, Cambridge, London School of Economics, John Hopkins University Bologna. And those who do not come from such infamous centres have - at least - other extraordinary qualifications: One of my colleagues from Romania held three academic degrees before he came here - this one is his fourth. Another of my colleagues, he is from Poland, is fluent in no less than seven languages! It is not an exaggeration to say that I have learnt as much from my colleagues as from my professors. But of course: We also owe much to the guidance of our two programme directors Prof.Hanspeter Neuhold and Prof.Werner Neudeck, who have worked hard to maintain this extraordinary and outstanding academic standard.
But this year was not only about the academic programme, about learning, writing or applying scientific theories and empirical methods. It was also about mutual understanding and multicultural friendship. The 27 students of our class represented 17 different nations - ranging from Western European countries like France, the UK and Italy to Scandinavian nations, from countries of East and Southeast Europe like Poland or Macedonia to the U.S. and Latin American nations like Brazil, Colombia and Peru. And I can tell you: We Austrians were clearly an exotic minority here!
The official motto of the M.A.I.S.-programme is: "Integrating Europe in a Changing World". After sitting together in a restaurant in Mostar, where we had a good view on the famous bridge that was about to be rebuilt, one of our programme directors also suggested another suitable motto for our programme: "Building Bridges". And indeed, many bridges between different civilisations have been built. But we also should take into account that our study programme with its special focus on the European Union has taken place in this exciting year 2004 - a year that has witnessed the greatest Enlargement of the Union ever! And at about the same time there has been an agreement of the 25 governments on a European Constitution. This Constitution, the very first of its kind, has introduced a new motto for the European Union: "United in Diversity". I believe that this motto also applies to our class.
Within our group we have overcome all differences posed by different nationalities and academic backgrounds. We started as a strongly diversified group, we ended up with one corporate identity. Our common social activities during this study year helped a lot in this respect: For example we students organised our own dancing course at the Academy. Events like these have brought people together! But also our highly interesting study trips to Prague and Sarajevo helped us to get to know each other better.
Therefore, at the end of this study year, it is a pleasure for me to announce that we, the participants of the "Master of Advanced International Studies"-programme are meanwhile truly...
"UNITED IN DIVERSITY"
Thank you very much.