On Thursday 16 June 2016, the Natolin (Warsaw) campus of the College of Europe held its Closing Ceremony for the Chopin Promotion 2015-2016.
After the European Anthem performed by the Natolin Choir, the ceremony began with a welcome speech by the Vice-Rector, Ms Ewa OŚNIECKA-TAMECKA, and a closing address by the Rector, Professor Dr Dr Jörg MONAR.
The keynote speech was given by special guest Professor Sir Leszek Krzysztof BORYSIEWICZ, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. His full biography can be found here. In his speech (available here), he addressed the upcoming referendum on the permanence of the United Kingdom inside the European Union. Sir BORYSIEWICZ also highlighted his personal experience as the son of Polish migrants who fled during World War II to the United Kingdom to make the case for the United Kingdom to remain in the EU, also expressing his concerns about the abuse of the immigration crisis Europe is facing in the debate about Brexit.
"Allow me to spend some of my remaining time saying why I think the answer to that question should be an unequivocal, unambiguous YES to remaining in the European Union […] At the heart of this modern European project are some very simple but very powerful ideas: That this community of nations, bound by geography, can achieve more, and do better, by working collectively. That these countries can avoid war with each other, and improve their lot, by acting in concert and acting collegially. That its members will be enriched, not diminished, by allowing their citizens the mobility to seek opportunities. Those are the fundamental principles underpinning the European ideal. […] I will be the first to admit (and you will know this better than anyone) that the EU is not a perfect institution. It’s only been around 60 years. But I challenge you to point to a political institution that is. Because I don’t know of one. […] So yes: many of the EU’s policies may be inadequate, its mechanisms insufficient, its processes too complex. But in the very complex world we live in, frankly, they are the best we have. We can only improve the EU’s mechanisms by remaining fully engaged partners, and by exerting our influence through credible leadership and collaboration."
Following this, Professor Pascaline WINAND, Director of Studies of the EIS programme, awarded prizes to the best Natolin students of the Chopin Promotion 2015-2016:
- Best student of the Promotion: Mr Philippe DOLIGER (FR);
- Best student of the major "EU as Global Actor": Mr Philippe DOLIGER (FR);
- Best student of the major "European Public Affairs and Policies": Mr Benjamin GUICHARD-SULGER (FR);
- Best student in the framework of the activities of the European Civilization Chair: Mr Benjamin CROME (UK);
- Best students (ex aequo) in the framework of the activities of the European Neighbourhood Policy Chair: Mr Philippe DOLIGER (FR) & Mr Benjamin LEMERLE (FR);
- EUISS award for the best Master's thesis on the CFSP/CSDP and EU external relations: Ms Aleksandra TOR (PL).
The Closing Ceremony ended with an outstanding performance of the Natolin Choir, followed by a family picture and a farewell reception at the Natolin Palace and Gardens.