HRH Crown Prince Alexander and his Foundation for Education and Culture for the 23rd consecutive time continued the tradition of awarding more than 500 best high school graduates from Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, by organizing a reception and award-giving ceremony at the White Palace in Belgrade, Serbia. The Crown Prince together with HRH Crown Princess Katherine, HRH Hereditary Prince Philip, and HRH Prince Alexander, personally greeted the students, complimenting them for their outstanding academic results achieved in high school.

Every secondary school in Serbia and the Republic of Srpska selects a valedictorian among the graduates, to whom the Crown Prince Alexander’s Foundation for Education and Culture awards a commendation and appropriate gift in recognition of their exceptional results achieved in high school. It is important to emphasize that this year a traditional reception at the Royal Compound was once again organized, after several years of online ceremonies, when the commendations and gifts for the students were sent to their schools. Due to technical reasons, the best high school graduates of the Republic of Srpska were not at the reception, but certificates will be delivered to them through the Representative Office of the Republic of Srpska in Belgrade. After this year’s ceremony, more than 12,000 students in total received awards from the Crown Prince, since he renewed this tradition.

This year’s reception was made possible thanks to the generous donation of Mr. Richard Jankov, who is strongly dedicated to supporting the educational and humanitarian activities of the Royal family of Serbia. He was the main sponsor of last year’s award ceremony as well, and he also assisted HRH Crown Princess Katherine in providing a new mobile mammography unit for Clinical Centre Nis, which was delivered in December 2023. At the reception today, Mr. Jankov also announced the launch of the scholarship program for our students, which will be implemented through the Crown Prince Foundation.

HRH Crown Prince Alexander congratulated the best graduates on their success, as well as their teachers and parents, who gave significant contributions and wished them good luck in their further education. “Every year I am very happy to see that we have good students who very well know that the value of education is priceless. Our wish is to motivate young people to move further because education is the most important. They must continue the path that they have started on, working on their education and improving themselves. Before everything, for their wellbeing, but also, for the good of our country. Serbia and the Republic of Srpska need well-educated, smart young people.

Only with knowledge, our homeland can progress and blossom. You are our future leaders, those who will inherit this country from us. And our country needs you to stay here. Contributing to your country and your people with knowledge is the highest and most noble example of true patriotism”, said Crown Prince Alexander.

The Royal Family of Serbia always knew how much well-educated people mean to each country and Karadjordjevic supported education. Inspired by the great legacy left to him by his ancestors, HRH Crown Prince Alexander, shortly after the return of the Royal Family to Serbia after decades of exile, continued this centuries-old tradition and established his Foundation for Education and Culture. The Crown Prince’s personal vision is to provide quality education for the youth of Serbia and motivate them to reach the highest possible academic levels, so they can achieve personal development, successful careers, and personal fulfilment. Together with associates and partners, His Royal Highness is also dedicated to improving education and academic research in Serbia, as well as solving the problem of young and talented people outflow.

Together with the Crown Prince, the students were addressed by Dr. Nikola Banjac, representative of the Prime Minister of Serbia, Mr. Richard Jankov, Executive Director of Upward Bound Youth and main benefactor of this event, Prof. Dr. Janko Samardžić, Special Advisor of the Minister of Education of Serbia, H.E. Željka Stojičić, Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Srpska by a greeting letter, Dr Fabio Scano, Director of the Office of the World Health Organization in Belgrade, Ms. Jelena Minić, Marketing Manager of LinkGroup, who is our traditional supporter for many years, and who is this year awarding 40 scholarships for its prestigious ITA academy, and Mr. Viktor Savić, famous Serbian actor, who was our motivational speaker this year. They all congratulated the students for their success, and called upon them not to stop, but to continue their path. The ceremony was also attended by members of the Advisory Bodies of the Crown, as well as numerous people from the world of culture, art and science.

In his address, Dr. Banjac pointed out that twenty years ago he had the honor of standing where the students are standing today, and therefore knows that they and their parents will remember this day as one of the most beautiful in their lives. “With this kind of gathering and togetherness that we are witnessing today at the White Palace, Serbia can only grow, flourish, become stronger and more beautiful. The Government of Serbia, the President, all aspects of our society will make an additional contribution so that such successes of young people are additionally recognized and rewarded.”

In his address, Viktor Savić reminded everyone present of the wise words of Saint Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović and Ava Justin about wisdom, education, upbringing, reffering to true values, such as modesty, true patriotism and respect for the talents that have been given to us. “It’s nice to stand out with your knowledge. It is nice to stand out with knowledge because knowledge is not acquired without obedience, renunciation and hard work. Knowledge is power, knowledge is strength, knowledge wins, knowledge rules. However, I would like to draw your attention to certain dangers along the way. If you gain knowledge, your power increases, so you can do more good, but also more evil. Learn what you wish and know what you can, but you must not fail to know one thing: that proper behavior is always more valuable than a multitude of knowledge. Be careful that arrogance in relation to your neighbors does not diminish your knowledge.

Learn what you wish and know what you can, but one thing you must not learn: to use your knowledge for evil. How many times has it been said: It is better not to know than to know and abuse it. Also, be careful not to let your mind overtake your reason. So that you don’t become people who know a lot but understand little.”

Their Royal Highness are very grateful to the Ministries of Education of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska for the traditional support the appropriate government bodies give to this event. We would also like to extend gratitude to all those who selflessly helped the realisation of this event: Mr. Richard Jankov, the LinkGroup, as well as the Traffic Police and the Military Medical Academy, Coca-Cola Company, Rauch, MME Trade ltd, Children’s Cultural Center of Belgrade choir, Mr. Gavrilo Dosen, Zika Slika, volunteers from the Kingdom of Serbia Association, and all the members of the Royal Palace staff.