New Year’s address

Dear students, dear colleagues, friends, the year 2021 is coming to an end. It was full of surprises, good and less good. A good thing about Alma Mater Europaea (AMEU - ECM) is that we have ended the year successfully. We have fulfilled our education and research plans and exceeded our professional and technical skills to deal with the new surprises of the pandemic. It’s less good, though, that we can’t meet in person to shake hands, hug, and wish each other Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. That is why I am sharing with you this more comprehensive message.

First of all, I would like to address the students to thank you for your trust and congratulate you on your all-round success in your studies, work and sports.

Special thank you for your kindness in responding to emergency calls, as study tutors, volunteers at home or in Africa, among the homeless, or in the fight against the invisible Covid-19 virus. Congratulations to the graduates who have proven themselves in practice as experts within Slovenia and around the world and achieved the most prominent domestic and international awards in the profession, sports or at the Special Olympics. All of this is a source of pride for all of us.

Special thank you goes to teachers, researchers and all collaborators, domestic and foreign, for their work and enthusiasm for successfully transferring knowledge and experience to students, including the necessary textbooks at ISH and Alma Mater Press, and for publishing their work in domestic and foreign journals. We thank more than 100 mentors for passing on practical knowledge and skills to young generations in educational institutions. Special thank you goes to family members who share the burden of teachers and all employees and students.

Our thanks are also due to public workers who recognized the invaluable contribution of over 1,000 AMEU - ECM graduates already employed in the public health system in Slovenia, from Lendava to Piran, and who financed training for much-needed and employable professions themselves or with the help of parents.

AMEU develops, implements and regularly renews new and employable study programs that are not implemented by other universities because the implementation is too expensive or requires too much personal commitment.

Employers of AMEU graduates, especially the health and social care institutions, are particularly interested in participating during their studies, especially as training centres for practical training, as they introduce and select good professionals during their studies. The AMEU ISH humanities study is also unique in Central Europe and therefore necessary. As a national cultural program, the AMEU Academy of Dance upgraded education in the field of Arts and after half a century of efforts raised dance art to an academic level in Slovenia. It is known that dance with non-verbal communication is a constitutive element of the nation's national cultural identity.

Quality, mission and vision were also recognized by the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg, EASA, which in 2012 entrusted the academic patronage and name Alma Mater Europaea to the European Centre in Maribor, ECM, renamed it into Alma Mater Europaea ECM, or AMEU - ECM. It also offered inexhaustible academic potential for the development and implementation of academic content at AMEU - ECM. Trust binds us to quality work. This is confirmed by teachers in pedagogical and research work at home and at reputable partner universities, such as universities in Zagreb, Graz, Vienna, Prague, Salzburg, Rome, Belgrade, New York, Oslo and also in China.

The quality of work was also confirmed by domestic and international accreditations. It is confirmed by researchers with internationally acclaimed publications, it is confirmed by graduates who achieve top results in work, sports, or medical massage. AMEU - ECM also shows great results of its work in journalism, in Slovenian and international journals, and in journals where it is a founder or co - founder. The journals specifically enable researchers and graduate students to confront the domestic and international professional and research public. Every year, the traditional international conference "It's about people" puts on display the AMEU - ECM academic papers, presents students with global trends in science and profession that go beyond curricula, and confronts the general academic community with domestic and international trends and achievements.

In line with EASA 's mission, AMEU - ECM follows the principles of interdisciplinarity and transnationality and thus faces global competition. It follows the principles of relevance, which is confirmed in employability and innovation; the principle of quality, which can be consolidated in competition, and the principle of rationalization of work, which is confirmed by lower costs. This also ensures economic stability, thanks to the payment of tuition fees and the good work of all employees.

Economic stability has enabled AMEU - ECM to improve its technology and train teachers in dealing with the pandemic, thus meeting all expectations for quality education and relevant research even during the pandemic. However, the changed situation requires a quick and reasonable response with qualified conscientious workers, motivated students and the necessary technical

equipment and tools. In special circumstances, the need for the organization of continuous pedagogical and didactic education and professional psychosocial assistance was shown as well.

The work of AMEU - ECM has been recognized by students, teachers, researchers, and partner universities at home and abroad. All this is confirmed by the fact that AMEU - ECM puts the most employable graduates in Slovenia on the labour market, practically 100% employable, has the largest number of full-time foreign students, the widest network of technological partnerships in business and public services, all this while the students received the least support for public funding for education per student from the Slovene government.

Based on the described circumstances in AMEU - ECM, in the domestic and international environment, we are optimistic about making plans for the next year:

  • re-accreditation of the institution and renewal of programs and development of new employable programs and contents,
  • implementation of the necessary organizational changes and care for staff development,
  • intensification and modernization of ICT and teaching,
  • encouraging students to pursue extracurricular activities in all locations and programs by fostering responsibility and a sense of the beauty of power through wisdom.
  • support for students for concession and equal opportunities.

Dear students, teachers, colleagues, and dear friends, in the belief that good will win over evil, I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2022.

Prof. dr. Ludvik Toplak, President of Alma Mater Europaea – ECM