The Multicultural Feature

 

"Babeș-Bolyai University is a great example for what we want to achieve in Europe: a cooperation betweem people, cultures and languages, regardless of their origin and confessions".
Angela Merkel
2010, Awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa by UBB

        The Babeș-Bolyai University is today the oldest, the largest and, in many ways, the most prestigious university in Romania. The institution has clear history which falls under the Renaissance period and was born under the distinct sign of multiculturalism: a Hungarian prince of Transylvania, Ștefan Báthory, made in the meantime the king of Poland (actually, of the union between Poland and Lithuania), at the insistence of  the Italian Jesuit Father Antonio Possevino, Báthory was issuing in Vilnius (the capital city of today's Lithuania), in 1581, the act of establishing the Major College in Cluj (having a superior standard, equal to universities in Germany, France and Italy); the first rector was Polish, the teachers were Italians, Polish, Hungarians and Germans, the students were to be of different confessions and ethnicity; it was meant to be one of the students the Romanian orthodox Prince Nicolae Pătrașcu, the son and the heir of the great prince and Sir Mihai Viteazul. Over time, the lessons were taught at this University in Latin, Hungarian, German and - after the First World War - in English or in international languages. The nationalist errors and exaggerations that occurred during the modern and contemporary age, oscillations between acceptance and exclusion or between actual and formal tolerance, encountered everywhere in the world, have not avoided our institution, but it always restated - even in hostile times - the vocation of "healing mother" ( alma mater napocensis ) for all those reunited under the sign of learning and education ( litteris et virtues ).

The universities have become everywhere in Central and Eastern Europe, in the modern era in particular, the promoters of the ideas of national emancipation and construction of national buildings. They were institutions which, through the intellectual power which they represented, have outlined the evolution of the nations and the states. This role has not ceased even today, because the languages, confessions, traditions and cultures of the various nations and ethnic groups are part of the humanity's assets and are entitled to be protected and promoted, each in its specific way, with an important amendment: the distinguished character of each group must be stated and protected through dialog with other groups, through knowledge and mutual praise, through real and beneficial to all meddling.

The institutional history of UBB synthesizes the cultural, scientific and denominational tradition in Transylvania - where it was stated for the first time in Europe, since the XVIth century, the principle of religious tolerance, which created the necessary conditions for the institution to develop a multicultural and multilingual education program suited both for the legislation in Romania, as well as for the European regulations and values. By adopting as the main way of operation and development the multiculturalism, the Babeş-Bolyai University responds equally to the need to continue the tradition and the ideals of building an united Europe.

The linguistic and cultural diversity are defining elements of UBB, representing the specific which distinguishes not only among Romanian universities, but also within the European context. The project of multiculturalism promoted by the Babeş-Bolyai University has become, including the appreciations coming from European officials, an example t a continental level. The heritage and multicultural community in Transylvania are a state of affairs, that UBB recognizes and takes responsibility for both being a social environment, as well as the object of its action. Through this policy, UBB reflects simultaneous on its administrative organization, the multicultural structure of Transylvania and the unity in diversity of the European Union. The multicultural dimension does not represent a goal itself, but an option assumed by the institutional development, whereby UBB creates an auspicious environment for the educational and research eminence, for generating a vision and solutions designed for local communities and society as a whole.

In the confined family of multilingual and multicultural universities in Europe, the Babeş-Bolyai University becomes specific through the fact that in its Carta, has set up lines of study in Romanian, Hungarian and German, and they have their own representation and autonomy of decision at any level (department, college, university). Thus, UBB ensures and guarantees the linguistic and cultural specificity not only in carrying out the educational act, but also in the way they coordinate it. From a linguistic point of view, UBB has one of the most complex systems in Europe: each student can freely choose the language in which one will study (English, Hungarian, German or other international languages), and the study programs may be followed in full in the chosen language. The multicultural development is institutional guaranteed by the fact that the university's structure is organized according to the three major lines of study (English, Hungarian, German). Within each faculty of the existing 21 from the Babeş-Bolyai University (with the exception of four faculties where there is no line of study in Hungarian and German and two faculties where there is no line of study in Romanian), a deputy dean belongs to, as applicable, the German or Hungarian minority, being responsible and having the obligation of coordinating the activities of those study lines. When it comes to the rectorship, the Hungarian and German lines are being represented by one deputy dean and a general deputy secretary, and in the Senate by one of its vice presidents. 

The groups, belonging to the lines of study, that have attributions in the preparation and implementation of the decisions which concern those lines are being set up within the Senate. Their activity is regulated by rules on the organization and functioning of each line of study, and one of their main tasks is preparing and submitting to the Senate decisions related to their groups. The groups for the Romanian, Hungarian and German lines of study are led by vice presidents from the Senate, elected through a secret vote by senators belonging to those lines of study. These, together with the president of the Senate, represent in the Senate the three lines of study at the University. Also, within the Senate works a commission for inter cultural dialog.  It proposes ways and strategies for strengthening the multicultural character of UBB, on the harmonization of the functioning of all lines of study, within the framework of the University, and monitors the activity of the deputy rectorships responsible for the organization and functioning of those lines of study.

This multicultural structure also reflects in the post graduate programs, as well as in the network of the 12 university extensions in Transylvania. The students from the Romanian, Hungarian and German lines actively participate in all activities organized by the University and elect their representatives by voting in academic committees and in the UBB's Senate. It becomes more obvious at present times, that the principle of multiculturalism is doubled even clearer, within UBB, by the inter cultural principle, based on mutual sharing of the values of each group.   

Such a foundation, integrated and distinct in the same time, obeys the founder idea of the universities - that of being communities of magistrates and disciples - as well as the very reason of an united Europe - that of promoting inter cultural dialog, to preserve the identity of each nation, by respecting each nation. UBB teachers and students convinced themselves that, in the current European environment, it is no longer enough defending the group identity without mutual knowledge.  And this knowledge involves reception and mutual understanding, which can only be achieved together, through dialog and communication, generating conditions for promoting the interests of each group and of the community as a whole.