By Kirill Dovlatov
The Palace of the Republic was sparkling with the smiles of young people, anticipating a joyful, exciting and solemn moment. Some were being awarded their first significant prizes, scholarships and Grand Prixes from Presidential funds, as well as diplomas.
“We’ve focused on talent and intellect in determining our priorities for development,” the President underlined. Although the mood was festive, Mr. Lukashenko noted that serious reflection is also required; some time ago, he instructed a group of specialists to sum up the results of the creation of the database of talented and gifted youngsters.
Belarus’ Education Minister, Sergey Maskevich, added that the database already includes over 5,500 people but the Belarusian leader emphasised that their specialties should be such to ensure future employment and full use of their potential. “How many of them are in demand in our country?” he asked, adding, “I’m confident no one can answer exactly, which proves that those in charge of the system have not worked as they should in this area; we’ll correct this.”
Mr. Lukashenko warned, “It’s inadmissible for the state to ‘waste’ its best talent.” He also reminded the youngsters, “Don’t think that these will be your only achievements. Our society — of parents, teachers and the state — supports talent; we found you and helped you to develop your talent, so shouldn’t we ensure that you use your talent for the benefit of our country?”
The issue has its reverse, since some young talents receive their education abroad. The President sees no problem in this, except that, on returning, their diplomas may go unrecognised in Belarus. He feels indignantly on this score, saying, “If a good specialist arrives from abroad, what difference is there in which diploma they have?”
According to Mr. Lukashenko, teachers deserve special thanks and respect for ‘stirring the flame of creativity from the spark in a young heart’. He told the youngsters once again, “You’re really great people. However, remember that we’ll only guide you for so long. You’ll then have to compete and struggle in life independently. Talent accounts for only 1-2 percent of success; the rest is down to hard work. I hope that your talent is in demand in our country. This is primarily my task: to ensure that talent is in demand in your homeland.”
The scholarship holders of the Special Presidential Fund for the Support of Talented Young People then gave a concert, followed by an informal chat with the President. Among other topics, the conversation tackled Eurovision and its prospects.
“We need a good performance and a unique artiste, who can sing in such a way that everyone is amazed. They need to be surprised that we’ve given such a performance and sent such a band. We can’t say that we’ve done this yet. If we have to lose, we should do so worthily.”
Much of interest and use was debated, with the faces of those youngsters leaving the Palace of the Republic vividly testifying to the fact that the meeting was a great event in their lives. Of course, their biographies are still being written… who can say what their futures hold?