The rectors of five universities, including Masaryk University, have expressed concerns that fear of the novel coronavirus might turn into fear of opening the borders. According to the rectors, it is critical, not only for universities, that the Czech Republic opens up to the world once the crisis has been overcome.
“Lively international relations and cooperation, and international exchanges of academics, researchers, and students are necessary for cutting-edge education and research,” states the declaration, signed by the rectors of Charles University, Masaryk University, Palacký University, Czech Technical University, and the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, the five member schools of the Association of Research Universities of the Czech Republic.
The full text of the declaration issued by the Association of Research Universities of the Czech Republic
The Association of Research Universities of the Czech Republic warmly welcomes the gradual easing of restrictions related to the now-waning coronavirus crisis. We believe that the coronavirus crisis – particularly due to the way the epidemic was presented in the media – elicited a significant level of anxiety and apprehension in society. Now it is important to actively ensure that fear of the novel coronavirus does not turn into fear of opening the borders.
According to the Association of Research Universities of the Czech Republic, it is critical that Czechia, after it overcomes the crisis, reopens to the world because successful research universities are a critical component of the international landscape. Lively international relations and cooperation, and international exchanges of academics, researchers, and students are necessary for cutting-edge education and research. Internationalisation is one of the key pillars of top-tier European and global universities, whose ranks we seek to join.
Being open to the world is fundamental for universities, for it guarantees the fostering of critical thinking and academic freedom, without which scientific and scholarly progress, whose results are meant to serve all of humankind without prejudice, would be unimaginable. Without international cooperation we cannot imagine successfully resolving the threats we currently face, not even ones that seem to be local in nature.
Only a society that is open to the world can be a society that is truly educated and wise, and thereby safe.
Martin Bareš, rector of Masaryk University
Tomáš Zima, rector of Charles University
Jaroslav Miller, rector of Palacký University
Pavel Matějka, rector of the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague
Vojtěch Petráček, rector of Czech Technical University
Brno/Prague/Olomouc 17 June 2020