TLU blog

Priit Reiska: Tallinn University strives for overall well-being

Speech given at doctoral degree ceremony on 20 November 2020.

Priit Reiska

Newly confirmed doctors, supervisors, colleagues and supporters,

Changes in today’s society occur so rapidly that we find ourselves asking whether we are leading them or they are leading us. However there can only be one answer: we are a university and its scientists precisely so that we can govern change.

Even if you think ‘govern’ is too pretentious a term, we must still answer the question “What now?” every day. What now in medicine, politics, economics, education? What now on the national level and the level of society? What now in interpersonal relationships in our day-to-day lives?
I am glad that we as Tallinn University are willing and able to answer those questions. After all, we continue to gain academic knowledge and analyse new information as scientists. And it is becoming increasingly important to report on our results. Previously, we would wait to speak only when asked, but we can no longer afford to wait – no matter how small the knowledge gained, we must speak up about it immediately. Yes, we are here for ourselves, but we are also here for others, for the common good.

I believe that you, our new doctors, have clear targets and grand objectives in mind. Objectives ought to be grand. They lead to grand ideas that end, with hard work and a bit of luck, in amazing results. And your results so far have been so amazing that you have been granted a doctorate!

Congratulations to all of you for reaching this important milestone. I am sure it has been a long-held dream that could not have been achieved without a lot of hard work. But that work will pay off. It will open up new, previously inaccessible opportunities. And I don’t mean positions that require a doctorate: there aren’t very many of those. The value lies in the knowledge and skills you have acquired in gaining your doctorates – setting goals and achieving them being chief among them.

You have proven to yourselves and to others that you are limitless. You can achieve anything you want. This will give you a huge advantage in your career: the advantage of being a spokesperson for your field.

I want to thank and congratulate all of your supervisors as well. Your erudition and enthusiasm and your ability to share them will certainly remain with the new doctors for a long time to come. They will go on to achieve new things, which will always have a part of you in them. This is something that will continue to make you proud in the future.

It is customary that this congratulatory speech is directed at the new doctors among us and their supervisors. But today I would also like to thank those who work behind the scenes on these doctoral theses – the doctors’ loved ones, which is to say their partners, children and parents. I brought with me three doctoral theses from my office that I picked at random. Let me quote to you from them: “This thesis was possible thanks to my family and friends.” Then, “A big thank-you to my husband and daughters for their patience and understanding.” And, “Thank you to my family, without whose support this thesis would never have seen the light of day.” Thank you, friends and family, for contributing to raising the scientific standards of our university.

As the rector of Tallinn University, it is my pleasure to be able to say that our university grows richer every year and spreads its academic wings even further thanks to your efforts, doctors. Every year allows us to say with more certainty that we are the pioneer in smart lifestyles, and not just in Estonia, but beyond its borders as well. Thank you for that!

I wish you every strength in the future. Congratulations!