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  • MS. TANJA FAJON

Ms. Tanja Fajon, Member of the European Parliament, was a heavy fighter for the visa liberalization process in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and she greatly contributed to freedom of movement of BiH citizens. Therefore, AUBiH Senate made the a decision to confer and award an Honorary Doctorate to Ms. Tanja Fajon.

"It is my great pleasure to be here with you. Thank you for granting me an honorary doctorate. Honestly, I never expected my work to be awarded with such an honorable award. Thank you very much for that, and thank you for your hospitality. It is very nice of you, I appreciate it."

These are Tanja Fajon's words of thanks from the ceremony of awarding her the degree of Honorary Doctorate of Science by American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina (AUBiH), which was held in the amphitheater of AUBiH in the presence of public figures from BiH, representatives of the diplomatic corps and other distinguished guests.

Addressing primarily the students and professors of AUBiH, a Member of the European Parliament, Slovenian Tanja Fajon pointed out that the doctorate should be awarded to all of them, because they are the ones who spend so many hours learning to achieve more in their future at home and abroad.

"I agree that as a special symbol of freedom and equality, a free visa regime has incredible significance for all of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its academic community. It will not only assure a much better mobility of students and teachers, but it will improve greatly people to people contacts", said Ms. Fajon.

She said that tomorrow the dreams of many people will come true. She received many letters of support in which citizens of this country expressed their gratitude for all her efforts to give them back their dignity and for making it possible for them to feel welcome in Europe, to which Bosnia and Herzegovina belongs.

"It has not been only my fight, it has been a joint effort of many others, of my colleagues in the European Parliament, Slovenia, my country, who was and is a great supporter to BiH and finally, of all responsible politicians in your country", said Ms. Fajon, adding that this doctorate will remind her of her responsibility: "This honorary doctorate will remind me each time that I carry responsibility. It will remind me that the work is far from being finished and that many challenges still remain. But it will remind me about this great day, too when citizens of BiH are finally able to freely travel to the EU", those were the final words in the address of Ms. Fajon.

American Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Patrick Moon also addressed the audience. Among other things he stated: "As the European Parliament's Rapporteur for the visa liberalization process, Dr. Fajon traveled frequently over the past year to Sarajevo and Tirana, working with governments and civil society to help them fulfill EU visa liberalization criteria. With this doctorate, Tanja Fajon is rightly recognized and honored as a special friend of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and as champion for the broader European ideal."

The President of AUBiH, Mr. Denis Prcić, stressed the special importance of the decision on visa free regime for an institution such as the university, as well as the great contribution of this decision in the realization of the idea of a common European Higher Education Area where the fundamental aim is the mobility of students and university professors.

"Tanja Fajon's engagement in visa abolition was based on, and inspired by, her broad conception of justice and equality among countries and nationalities, not only for our country, but for all Western Balkan countries", said Prcić.

The Provost of AUBiH, Dr. Šefik Mulabegović, in his explanation about the decision to award an honorary doctorate to Ms. Fajon pointed out the fact for the first time in its five year history, the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina, announced the award of honorary doctorate. There are many reasons for granting the first Honoris Causa of the University to the person who affirms the freedom of individuals and nationalities, justice and rights, equal international cooperation by promoting the idea of Europe and European values as universal values and our common goal."

"The University, in the broadest sense of its meaning, with all its human values and tasks, is seen as the alma mater, as the tower of light, as a source of fresh water in its environment. Looking at the University in this light, the nature of academic relations with universal values becomes quite clear. For these reasons it was decided that the first honorary doctorate of the University goes to Ms. Tanja Fajon, successful journalist, politician and European parliamentarian, whose total public engagement is based on the expansion of European and universal values and their implementation in those parts of Europe where some of these values are not still expressed enough," said Mulabegović. At the end of his speech, he asked Ms. Tanja Fajon to receive this degree as an expression of recognition for her contribution in creating the conditions for development of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in particular, the development of higher education in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Professor Mulabegović officially awarded the degree.

Tanja Fajon was born on May 9, 1971, in Ljubljana. She has graduated from the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at the University of Ljubljana with a degree in Journalism and She earned an MA from University for Interdisciplinary Studies in Belgium. She has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2009.