In a direct livestream with Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed students from The Hague University of Applied Sciences and Leiden University today. He gave our students some important messages: "Freedom can never be taken for granted. Young people are thinking about how they can be successful in their lives. Decide for yourself what the boundaries of right and wrong are. Each person needs to know what it is to be free. Don't take that freedom for granted, but think about how you can defend this freedom. How to create unity with others in this world."
Also: "Strive for unity, make friends and step out of your bubble. It does not matter which country they come from. The most important thing is what the outcome of your friendships means for peace in this world. Overcome everything that divides you. That is your special responsibility. In peace, you have the opportunity say yes or no to things that come your way. That is exactly what we are fighting for in Ukraine." In his speech, he reflected not only on the responsibility of young people to make choices, but also on the role of the United Nations and the European Union in this conflict.
City of peace and justice
Zelensky rightly mentioned The Hague's role as a city of peace and justice and the seat of the International Criminal Court. We are committed to a just world, in which solidarity is indispensable. His call to get out of your bubble fits perfectly with the values we aspire to as an international college in which we are curious about the world around us and help each other as a community. It is therefore very special that he has taken the time to connect with our students and show inspiring leadership. What makes it even more special is that 200 of our students call Ukraine their home and many of them were also in the audience.
Zelensky took half an hour to speak to our students and then answered a number of questions. Afterwards, our students were able to attend a panel discussion with panelists from the Ukrainian embassy and some of our own teachers and students, among others. We are happy that we were able to offer our students this unique opportunity and that so many students from across the country were watching the livestream! A replay is now available.