Speech by Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps at the inauguration of the Rector of the Estonian Business School

Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps
Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps. Photo by Andrei Ozdoba
Honourable president of the Academy of Sciences, Honourable Rector, Dear EBS family, Beloved rectors, Dear guests, Let me start with words that many of you are familiar with, as they were once said by founder and former rector of the university Madis Habakuk: "EBS gives its students these four things: education and a diploma, but also connections and values."

And if I were to add something from the perspective of the state, EBS is the only private university in Estonia that stands out as a provider of high-quality innovative education. And besides that, EBS has an international reach. EBS is truly international in many ways. It all started when the school opened a campus in Finland nine years ago. In the Baltic States, however, it could be given the title of 'the oldest private school offering business education'. Since it was established in 1988, EBS has transformed itself into a wide network of partner schools, and students truly have plenty of opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills all over the world. But, of course, movement is active in the opposite direction as well. Today, international students make up more than a third of all of the university's students. And it’ is understandable why they want to come here to study. The economics education offered by EBS has received several highly recognised international accreditations. The international business administration study programme was the first in Estonia to receive the international accreditation for higher education institutions offering business degrees.

Supporting creativity and entrepreneurship is the strength of EBS. This has also been highlighted in the quality assessments made at the state level in Estonia. EBS is highly valued by their alumni, current students and entrepreneurs. You are at the forefront of innovation with numerous initiatives and now the new nanodegree programme. And, of course, as befitting EBS, new plans aim high, at least as high as a 30-storey building. The dreams of expanding and advancing, building and growing have been central concepts to the university since 1988. Things don't always go as planned, but they come together eventually.

The construction of a new building is surely not the only task soon-to-be-rector Meelis Kitsing will face. The Rector's remarkable international experience and the expertise of both him and his EBS colleagues will allow the university to partake in global economic discourse based on science. In the modern world, it's not enough to accept talented young students and teach them some theories, techniques, technology and a few modern disciplines. We are now faced with an entirely new component, a much more valuable one: time. It constantly challenges us and forces us to rethink and reinterpret things. If we creatively apply the skills we have and see the world in a new light, miracles can happen over time. On one hand, we are racing against time. On the other, we must use the time we have to take inventory both individually and collectively in order to define and adjust our goals and actions. It is wise to do all of this in fruitful cooperation with various partners.

Dear Rector Arno Almann, thank you for all you've accomplished! We owe you our gratitude. The university has developed rapidly.

Rector Meelis Kitsing, I wish you depth and charisma, understanding and balance in your further endeavours. Perhaps now is best time to start new dialogues, simplify things in both the university and society at large and change for the better. May you always have strength and passion.