Although we are a very young institution, we should not forget that what we do here is very old, it has come a long way and will continue to do so. It all started on a day lost in time when for the first time a human being understood that it was necessary to pass onto the generation that followed the experience and the knowledge which, as Hannah Arendt would have said, “labor, work and action” provided. On that day, millions of years ago, mankind initiated one of the most beautiful and nobel professions of Humanity: Education.
We are a school, a vital space created to practice the on-going and intense experience of argument between teacher and students, a space free of external pressures. In Academia, Everything that we do and everything that we reflect on finds its way into the classroom, which in ancient Greek meant “free space”. We plan, investigate, budget, do inventory, bill, stamp, archive, print, authorize, clean, tidy - and all else that we do in the name of this and for this - so that the encounter between teachers and students in a classroom may happen within the best possible conditions. This is why students are the core and the others, all others, are the caretakers who take their individual responsibility seriously.
Each time a student takes his/her duty to learn seriously, which means never ceasing to inquire and not conforming with ignorance, not ceasing to desire to comprehend. Each time a teacher takes his/her teaching seriously, which also means inquiring and consequently, allowing room for more and more questions; not accepting student’s lack of knowledge; and lastly, not ceasing to give students the means to increasingly understand. Each time this happens, undefeatable strength is generated. The strength that comes from the commitment we have with society to teach and learn. This is why it is insufficient to say that we prepare young people for the labor market. Yes, we do that, but we do so much more. It is not enough to say that we transmit techniques and knowledge. Yes, we do that, but we do so much more. For that reason, the classroom is one of the most dangerous places for authoritative power, because the strength of Education, the strength that comes from mankind questioning themselves, from mankind wanting to know and comprehend more, in the end, from wanting to take responsibility of their life, that strength is frighteningly powerful.
This is exactly what Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl, discovered on June 12, 2013 as she stated the following words at the UN: “Dear Friends, on the 9th of October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends too. They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed. And then, out of that silence came, thousands of voices. […] let us pick, let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education First.”
Let us all show the capacity, in our daily lives, of giving substance to this mission, a mission so well defined by a young, sixteen-year-old girl. Furthermore, let us all understand that all other activities of our Academia (the internationalization, the research, the transfer of knowledge and technology, the relationship with the community, the cultural and social intervention, the management and so many others) only make sense if they contribute to the fulfillment of that main mission.