Letter to new students enrolled at Our Lady of Good Counsel University, Academic Year 2023/2024

I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to you as you begin your first year at Our Lady of Good Counsel University. Welcome to this significant turning point in your life! We will experience an important period of our lives together since, after all, I'm also a first-year freshman, although much older.

Dear students,

I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to you as you begin your first year at Our Lady of Good Counsel University. Welcome to this significant turning point in your life! We will experience an important period of our lives together since, after all, I'm also a first-year freshman, although much older. I was referring to a crucial phase of life, the one that will prepare you for your career and help you find employment. It is not a trivial moment, on the contrary. For this reason it is good to ask ourselves about the meaning of this path and what we should expect.

To get to know each other better: this is now the only institution outside of Italy that is taught in Italian by Italian professors and that gives a joint qualification for all degree courses that is valid in Italy and Europe. It is a small miracle: the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception proposed to us, professors of a public Roman university, the University of Tor Vergata, and the Aldo Moro University of Bari, to create degree courses with the University of Florence, first in medicine, economics, and then in pharmacy and architecture. For the past 20 years, approximately 500 Italian professors have come to animate our university. They have grown to love it and have contributed to the development of many of the Italian and Albanian people who will be on the team that will work with you. But I must also express my gratitude to the numerous educators, kids, and Albanian team members who have made and continue to make a vital contribution. Nothing could have been done without their assistance. We are quite pleased with this work. I was explaining that the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception made a significant contribution to its creation. Many of their followers were given this lovely vocation by its founder Father Monti, who saw the need of caring for the young and the sick, which is very timely and important in our day.

Now you too are part of this story, you are joining a growth path, as befits every university. By the way, what does university mean? The term was born in the Middle Ages and means a community, a whole, a universus: the university was the community of citizens, or of certain professions, who kept their knowledge within these aggregations. The university of booksellers and merchants; agricultural university, union of farmers for the collective enjoyment of land. I want to say that at its root, since its beginnings, the University has represented a community. Of masters and disciples, of artisans, of people who shared a culture and research. You too are and will be immersed in a community and I would like you to experience this campus like this, a place of social life, of study certainly, but also of research, of common experiences, of sharing. Of social commitment. You, too, are and will be engaged in a community, and I would like you to perceive this campus as such, as a site of social life, study, but also research, shared experiences, and sharing. In terms of social responsibility.

We're not simply here for a piece of paper. Nor for  dribbling over important and less important exams. Not only for the sake of theory. Rather, welcome to this group where you can continue to grow as individuals. We, the professors and staff, will stand by your side, understanding that we have a mission and a vision: to build our people in the greatest way possible, while also creating a community of care and culture that is open, inclusive, committed, and supporting. I will leave you with Pope John Paul II's best expression of this construction: "take your life and make a masterpiece of it."

In this context and direction, we are always striving to enhance ourselves by providing you with a culture that is broader than that associated with the degree course you have chosen. In this regard, I'd like to inform you of the following initiatives::

  • The establishment of the English language line for the master's degree course in Medicine and Surgery. You will essentially have the possibility to choose the line with your preferred language, Italian or English. Tomorrow you will have the opportunity to discuss how to make this important choice. I just remind you that the degree you will obtain also represents a certificate of knowledge of the specific language.
  • The establishment of an inter-faculty course, on a monthly basis, for all of you enrolled in the first year: we will invite qualified speakers to talk to you about the great problems of the modern world. They won't just be conferences: we will give you all the opportunity to create interest groups, cultural and research initiatives, volunteer actions, for commitments and insights.
  • The creation of CREI, Resource Center for Integral Ecology. What is it about? Of a student movement, which you can freely join to give life to initiatives of commitment, social responsibility, scientific and cultural study. The aim is simply to contribute to making the world a better place: integral ecology deals not only with defending and preserving the physical and biological environment but also with taking care of the human one through the fight against poverty, disparities, to peace and dialogue, for the defense of vulnerable groups and minorities.

Dear students, we live in a challenging world filled with wars and dangers. The temptation is to focus solely on yourself, to defend your existence, and to avoid the dizziness of major difficulties. However, I want you to know that you are not alone. You are part of a fantastic study and action community. I repeat, we can make the world a better place by working together. But how exactly? I leave you with a greeting and a wish: make our life a masterpiece of culture and capacity to interact, of devotion and courtesy, of discipline and inventiveness, of interest in others rather than competition. We are here for this, and we will work together to complete this noble task.

Tirana,  October 16,  2023

The Rector
Prof. Leonardo Palombi

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