"A Toolkit Filled with Courage, Enthusiasm, and Team Spirit"
In a heartfelt ceremony, Europa-Universität Flensburg bid farewell to its outgoing graduates on September 22. "I am delighted to celebrate your graduation with you, your families, and friends," said President Prof. Dr. Werner Reinhart to the approximately 300 guests who attended the Teacher Education graduation ceremony in Flensburg's Deutsches Haus. A total of 448 aspiring teachers received their diplomas between September 2022 and September 2023. In his keynote address, President Reinhart quoted Albus Dumbledore, the wise headmaster in Harry Potter, "It is our choices, rather than our abilities, that show what we truly are.
Mayor Susanne Schäfer-Quäck congratulated the graduates: "You should be proud of yourselves!" She expressed hope that some would choose to make their home in "the most beautiful city by the most beautiful fjord in the world."
Speaking on behalf of the graduates, Melina Koop (M.Ed. Special Education) and Jeanette Graneist (M.Ed. Primary School Education) metaphorically filled an "imaginary toolkit" in their speech. "You are brave to have chosen to work in a system that, as it stands now, is not perfect. A system that demands teaching methods which aren't always feasible. [...] You are brave to have chosen a profession where you will face challenges of all kinds. [...] However, it is also a system that can be changed. A system that you can improve in small ways, when you are brave and proactive, when you try new things and stand up for your values." Highlighted the graduates' courage to work in an imperfect and demanding system, they concluded, "Our toolkit needs big compartments for courage, passion for the subject, team spirit, and understanding that detours, deviations, and second chances are okay."
During the ceremony, Rasaq Großmann was awarded by the EUF Foundation for his outstanding academic achievement, Brian Zube received the Debeka Group's award for outstanding achievement in teacher education studies, and Neele Hapel was honored with Europa-Universität Flensburg's own award for embodying the university's mission.
In addition to its Teacher Education graduates, the university also honored graduates from the transformational and and European studies programs in recent weeks. On Friday, September 15, the heads of EUF's master's programs in Transformation Studies, European Studies, Education in Europe, and Culture – Language – Media, as well as the bachelor's program in European Cultures and Society, bid farewell to a total of 95 graduates, each of whom was presented with a rose. Doctoral students were also honored.
Speaking before the graduates, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Glassmann, Vice President for Europe and International Affairs, highlighted the global challenges facing the graduates. "Given this situation, as a university of and for Europe - as an Europa-Universität - we must reinforce our commitment to internationalism. We want to give you hope, not fear. We want not only to identify problems, but also to offer ways to solve them. We want your academic training to help you not just find a job, but meaningful work that you can identify with and be as proud of as you are of your graduation today."
Program directors praised this year's graduates who began their studies during the pandemic. Many international students remained in their home countries, with seminars held online across different time zones and some students even attending class as early as 3 a.m.
On September 8, 2023, Europa-Universität Flensburg honored twenty international students from the Global South with a traditional air jump. The Dean of Faculty III, Prof. Dr. Tabea Scheel, and the head of the Energy and Environmental Management in Developing Countries (EEM) degree program, Prof. Dr. Bernd Möller, honored the graduates as important agents in the fight against climate change and for socio-ecological justice. In their customary personal manner, they presented the students with their graduation certificates. Student representatives Taha Ahmed Siddiqui and Sandra Carolina Barrero also spoke on behalf of their cohort. As part of the graduation festivities, the event welcomed incoming students from an array of countries, including Ghana, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Colombia, among others.