(Kyiv)  Vyacheslav Bryukhovetsky, honorary president of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, addressed the incoming class at the Grand Opening of the new MBA program.  He shared his own life story as an example of change and rebirth and inspired the graduate students to follow one’s path in life.

Dr. Bryukhovetsky encouraged the incoming class of young professionals not to fear criticism or risks.  As an additional assurance he said, “If you want to succeed in life, it is important not to be afraid of negative attitudes that surround you.  Criticism can sometimes lead to positive outcomes, success does not always bring happiness, but change, even change that takes one backward, can be better than no change at all, because making a decision is better than vacillation and indecision. Change cannot be an end in itself.  It should be continuous and aim toward positive outcomes.”

Dr. Bryukhovetsky spoke about his own life experiences as a person who grew up and lived under the Soviet system, and then through the nation’s historic declaration of independence and its development since then. He said, “The Rukh National Movement for Independence had a profound role in changing my life in 1989.  Unfortunately, because of personal ambitions of various individuals, Rukh changed direction and then disappeared.  But even though at that time we were all novices in politics, we caused a huge breakthrough in the landscape of society.  The previous period of stagnation destroyed individual dignity in people, people lost the belief in their ability to make a difference in life, but our ideas were like sparks that fell onto a flammable social environment. For this and for other reasons, Rukh played a significant role in Ukraine’s future development.”

Speaking to the university audience, Bryukhovetsky addressed the issue of personal fulfillment and happiness. He continued, “I am convinced that success is not the element that makes a person happy.  It is perhaps a bit banal to always make reference to Skovoroda, but on the subject of happiness, it was he who said that every person should live and work fulfilling the calling of one’s soul. That is why I encourage you to find your own path in life, because if you are happy in the work you choose, you will be successful.”

KMBS-BriukhBryukhovetsky further shared, “Throughout my life, I worked as a metal worker and mechanic with my hands, then I served in the army, then I followed my calling as a journalist, and then I embarked on the path of the Movement for Ukraine’s Independence Rukh.  I always felt a need to change and to work with passion and commitment. After Ukraine’s independence, I decided it was essential to resurrect Ukraine’s historic university and bring it back to its former significance, but not to re-establish it modeled on the others from the Soviet era, but as a modern university with a special mission.”

“We had a specific strategic idea – to bring about changes that would be compatible with the best universities in the world and promote reforms in Ukraine’s system of higher education.  Practically everything that has been accepted currently in the Ukrainian system of education was introduced by us at Kyiv Mohyla Academy.  For example, in 1992 we introduced the Bachelor’s program, even though at that time there was no such program in Ukraine.  Four years later, we introduced Master’s programs.  We also initiated the European model PhD doctoral program, which is a major innovation in the Ukrainian educational landscape.”

“Perhaps the most cutting-edge idea we introduced was the anonymous admission exam.  We prepared a rather complex system for anonymity in the testing process.  Obviously, within the landscape of corrupt practices of the time, this was viewed as a strange and outrageous proposition.  Everyone knew that it was impossible to be admitted to Kyiv Mohyla Academy by offering bribes, and as a result, we chose interesting and highly motivated students.”

Bryukhovetsky ended his presentation with the statement, “All these changes have been goal-oriented.  That is why, in our contemporary educational landscape, we ask ourselves about what innovative approach we can introduce now.  We will not remain in the same place and become complacent.  That is why Kyiv Mohyla Academy will continue to seek new paths.”

Translated and edited from the original in Ukrainian
Kyiv Mohyla Foundation Press Center

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