Welcome speech by Rector of Riga Graduate School of Law, Dr. Pietro Sullo
2 September 2019
Dear students of Riga Graduate School of Law,
It is a great pleasure, and not a rhetorical exercise or a simple routine, to welcome you for the beginning of the new academic year. I am proud to have on board such an outstanding, motivated, multilingual body of international students who have chosen our university for a key learning experience such as the beginning of a bachelor or masters program.
Your enthusiasm and your commitment will be matched by the commitment of the staff of RGSL towards the fulfilling of your learning expectations and your career dreams. Your curiosity is the main ingredient for a successful academic life and for the smooth running of the activities of RGSL, which is and wants to remain a student-centered university institution.
Since its foundation RGSL has the task to deliver high-profile legal education in a context which is both locally grounded and outwards looking. This has been achieved, among others, by attracting an internationally-renowned faculty and applying a multidisciplinary approach to teaching activities focused extensively on international and EU law.
Today we experience dramatic changes which put to the test the capacity of institutions delivering third level education to form students capable of satisfying the manifold requests of a rapidly evolving and globalized job market. According to a 2017 report by the Institute for the Future, 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet.
Our challenge is hence to think ahead and equip you with those skills which will allow you to navigate a difficult global job market. To address these challenges RGSL works permanently towards the creation of new courses and teaching modules. The results we aim at can be best achieved through a fruitful exchange between you students and the staff of the RGSL. Please don’t forget that you are not only learning individuals, but you are here also to share with the others the knowledge and the experience you have accrued so far.
Our ambition is to form permanent learners and promote the idea that, although sometimes challenging, learning is essentially pleasure.
Italian intellectual Antonio Gramsci in a moment when Europe was dominated by authoritarianisms anticipating the tragedies of the second world war wrote: ‘Educate yourselves because we’ll need all our intelligence’. The context has deeply changed, but in Europe and beyond we keep facing unprecedented challenges. This is why I believe that Gramsci’s motto keeps its deep meaning. Your education and your intelligence is needed in an EU in search for its identity after the Brexit and in a globalized world crossed by diplomatic crisis, commercial wars and marked by human rights violations both in time of war and peace.
I think that the legal system is not a self-contained box separated from society, but, on the contrary, that law and society always influence each other. This means that you, as prospective jurists, have a significant responsibility towards society, but at the same time, that you can promote its development.
Finally, I would like to stress that you are here not only to read academic books and prepare for exams, as your education goes also through non-academic experiences. Benefit from the exchange with your fellow students, with the lecturers and with our guests and, not less importantly, enjoy Riga, its beauty and the opportunity it offers.
I wish you all the very best for the beginning of this long, exciting learning experience and look forward to cooperate with you to this end.
Good luck with your journey throughout your years of study!
And welcome into the RGSL Family!
Dr. Pietro Sullo