On 8 July, within the framework of his visit to Lithuania, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Spain Pedro Sánchez and Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania Ingrida Šimonytė paid a call to the Vilnius University (VU) where they met with VU’s Rector Prof. Rimvydas Petrauskas. During the visit, the Spanish Prime Minister and the VU’s Principal talked about the development of tertiary education in the European Union, the state of academic exchange, and the idea of an alliance of European universities.
"The ties that connect Lithuania and Spain go back a long time and are strong, with the first bonds established back in the 16-17th century, when three of the VU’s principals were Spanish: Garcia Alabiano, the Jesuit who served as the VU Rector for the longest tenure, Miguel Ortiz, and Benito de Sojo. Today, we share our goals of building European alliances of universities to provide a critical intellectual foundation in the process of European integration," Prof. Petrauskas said.
During his visit, Mr Sánchez visited the old VU architectural ensemble and the VU library where he witnessed unique objects of heritage connecting Lithuania and Spain: the works by the famous Spanish lawyer Pedro Ruiz de Moros who had a practice in Vilnius, a tract by the Spanish humanitarian Juan Luis Vives from the library of Sigismund II Augustus, manuscripts reflecting the activities of the VU principals of Spanish descent.
In 1995, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez graduated the Madrid University majoring in economics and business, and later went to the Free University of Brussels and the Navarra University in Pamplona. In 2012, he received his doctoral degree in philosophy (in the field of economics and business) from the Camilo José Cela University in Madrid. He was the secretary general of the Spanish Social Workers’ Party in 2014-2016, and has been holding this position again since 2017. In 2018, he was elected Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Spain.
In April, the VU played host to Arancha González Laya, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Spain, who met with the VU’s Rector and community to discuss the subject of women’s leadership in foreign politics and a bilateral agreement to promote scientific cooperation and open up new possibilities for Lithuanian researchers to take advantage of Spain’s research infrastructure.