Publish Date: 18.03.2019

Category: News from the University

As the University of Ljubljana marks its centenary on 3 December 2019, the institution presented the celebration activities planned in honour of the anniversary at the Museum of Modern Art. The first event in the series of celebrations took place on International Women’s Day in the form of a roundtable discussion entitled “Women in Art: Female Artists at the University of Ljubljana”. Numerous activities are set to continue well into 2020.  

The University of Ljubljana, the oldest and largest university in Slovenia, was established in 1919. On 23 July 1919, Prince Regent Aleksander Karađorđević signed the Act on the University of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in Ljubljana, the present-day University of Ljubljana. Its founding member faculties were the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Law, Technical Faculty and Faculty of Theology. Because the first lecture in the Slovenian language was given on 3 December 1919, this date is regarded as the official beginning of the University of Ljubljana. Today, the University of Ljubljana comprises 26 members and is attended by nearly 38,000 students.

Over the course of 100 years, the University of Ljubljana became increasingly recognised in Slovenia and abroad. It is becoming a renowned international university that ranks among the most eminent such institutions in the world. The University’s centenary is an important anniversary for the entire society: “Since its beginning, the University has been contributing actively to the development of the Slovenian state. Its very first lecture was given in the Slovenian language. The leaders of that time successfully resisted pressure from those arguing that the Slovenians did not need an independent university, and so Slovenia, which is about to celebrate its 28th anniversary, can take pride in the fact that it has already had its own university for 100 years. The bestowal of the first PhD title at the University of Ljubljana, to Ana Mayer on 15 July 1920, was a major milestone. At that time, female doctors of science were a rarity even in Europe. Ever since being founded, our university has been the largest and most outstanding scientific and research institution in the state, known in the international scientific community throughout all this time. We rank among the top three percent of the world's best universities. This fact is even more telling if placed within the broader context. Some universities, alongside which we rank among the world’s best, receive up to one hundred times more financial resources per student in comparison with our university, and yet those universities are not one hundred times better than ours. Last but not least, it should be mentioned that our students create a special atmosphere in the nation’s capital. Ljubljana is a university city, where most of the Slovenian and foreign students not only study, but also live,” said Igor Papič, Rector, about the significance of the University of Ljubljana.

To celebrate its centenary, the University of Ljubljana prepared a commemorative sign to be used during the celebrations. The commemorative sign and further concept of revamping the University’s visual communication strategy were presented by the Vice-Rector of the University of Ljubljana for the field of artwork, Prof. Boštjan Botas Kenda, who said that the upcoming refreshed visual identity will enhance the University’s recognisability. “The current sign worked in the past but is no longer applicable given the present-day development of technology and the increasing demands for visual adjustments and rapid changes. The University is different from what it was 20 years ago. The University is people. It is a living organism. We must show that it is not only the past that matters, but that we are primarily focused on the future”, said Vice-Rector Kenda, who presented the programme of centenary celebrations together with a member of the programme council, Prof. Dr. Primož Vitez of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana.

“The University’s centenary celebrations programme comprises central and accompanying events organised by the University members. On International Women’s Day, we begin with the first event entitled ‘Women in Art: Female Artists at the University of Ljubljana’, and continue in March with numerous other activities, which are set to end in June 2020. Among them I would like to highlight the issuing of a commemorative stamp by Pošta Slovenije and the creation of a commemorative €2 coin by the Bank of Slovenia. The most important event planned is undoubtedly the formal celebration at Cankarjev Dom, which will be broadcast live at 8pmon Slovenian national television on the day when the University of Ljubljana marks its 100th anniversary, on 3 December 2019,” said Vice-Rector Kenda. Prof. Dr. Primož Vitez, a member of the programme council from the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, pointed out that the centenary gives us the opportunity to reflect on the role of the University in modern society, and a chance to think about past achievements. “With its extensive programme to mark the anniversary, the University of Ljubljana presents its diverse range of activities to the Slovenian public. The focus on the public is substantiated by the University’s responses to topical issues on the development of society, knowledge sharing and research. The celebrations have been devised so as to encourage logical connections among the 26 members of the University. As a non-ideological institution, the University strives to act as an integrator of different views of the world and as a supporting entity in creating the conditions enabling every voice to be heard in the midst of social confrontations. Every well-substantiated deliberation deserves attention,” Vitez concluded.

According to Igor Papič, Rector, the next 100 years of the University are difficult to predict, but the immediate future is clear: “We will have to continue to preserve and raise the quality of education and research. I hope that the University Act will see the light of day, that we will manage to resolve the spatial issues faced by our academies, and that we will settle the area of investments. Internationalisation will continue to be one of the University’s primary objectives,” he added.