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18.04.2011, 10:59:56

High education and scientific work have their roots in the distant past. This is particularly true of the maritime, the social and the natural sciences. For example, Beno Kotruljević, of Dubrovnik, wrote four books in 1458 “About Commerce and a Perfect merchant”, published in Venice in 1573, which was the first work of its kind. There is also Nikola Sorgojević, a citizen of the Dubrovnik Republic (Respublica Ragusii, 1358 – 1816), the first Croat who wrote a book about navigation (published in 1574). Jesuits founded “Collegium Ragusinum” in 1624, which was promulgated into a public institution of high learning where art and natural sciences were studied. That institution provided education for Ruđer Bošković, the most eminent Croatian scientist and the founder of the dynamic theory of atoms, who continued his doctorate studies in Rome. The Dubrovnik Republic Senate allowed young aristocrats to study navigation and commerce and apply their professional knowledge when sailing out of the Adriatic Sea.
Collegium Ragusinum is the real predecessor of the modern higher education in Dubrovnik functioning successfully from the middle of the last century, through to the nineties of the last century. It had its basis in over forty years of high education of seafarers at the Maritime Faculty of Dubrovnik and more than thirty years of education for tourism and foreign trade at The Faculty for Tourism and Foreign Trade; both institutions being a part of the University of Split.
The higher education in Dubrovnik has gone through various phases, with their ups and downs. However, there always remained a strong wish to preserve the identity of the City in this field as well.
When the Croatian Parliament (Sabor) adopted the new Higher Education Act in 1994, introducing two separate systems in higher education: one scientific, i.e. university, and the other professional i.e. polytechnic, it was clear that the Act would not be easy to implement in practice. As always, novelties were met with opposition.
However, the new challenge was accepted at the Maritime Faculty of Dubrovnik at the time and the new activities were initiated leading to the foundation of the Polytechnic. The advantages of a professional study were acknowledged as they obviously introduced elements of the West–European education into the higher education of Croatia. Although the path was by no means smooth and fast, The Polytechnic of Dubrovnik was founded two years later, by the Government Act of 12th December 1996. It was established on the basis of the education of sailors in Dubrovnik, which began in 1959, when the Higher Maritime School was founded. The Higher School became The Maritime Faculty of Dubrovnik in 1984, as a part of the University of Split, functioning till the foundation of The Polytechnic of Dubrovnik.
Considering the basic preconditions for a possible foundation of the university as ripe, the Chancellor’s Office of the Polytechnic applied itself to activities aimed at the creation of a vision for development of higher education and science in Dubrovnik.
Based on the forthcoming proposals and in co-operation with the Faculty of Tourism and Foreign Trade, a feasibility study for the foundation of the University of Dubrovnik was made.
The study was met with full approval by the local community and all relevant institutions. It obtained a positive opinion of the National Council for Higher Education. The proposal of the Ministry of Education and Technology got a unanimous support of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Act was passed unanimously on the 1st October 2003.
The University of Dubrovnik was entered in the Register of the Commercial Court in Dubrovnik on the 16th November 2003, thus acquiring its legal status.
The foundation of the University of Dubrovnik represents a crown of success in the long and continuous effort of individuals and institutions that worked on the development of higher education in Dubrovnik.