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Promotion of Russian culture among foreign youth
23 October 2019
14:00—15:00
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Cultural connections are the foundation for economic and political cooperation

Without kids from different countries interacting with their peers at a young age, we cannot build the future of our countries. We will not be able to build understanding and trust that we seek in business, economy, politics — Roman Kamaev, Deputy Head, Federal Agency for Youth Affairs (Rosmolodezh).

Studying foreign languages is key to expanding cultural exchange

Language is an integral component of any culture. That is why we should start promoting Russian culture among the African youth with the language. Russia can use the friendship channel to promote its culture to African youth. We believe that Russian should become a teaching language in Africa, that is how Russia will take its place on our continent — Ngan Tonye Francois Simon Pierre, Dr., Representative in the Republic of Cameroon and Central Africa Countries, PEOPLES' FRIENDSHIP UNIVERSITY OF RUSSIA.

Promoting Russian culture among the African youth is possible through youth contacts, but those will not be possible if both sides do not speak the same language — Francois Havyarimana, Prof., Rector, University of Burundi.

Together with Samara Economics University we launched a project in Addis-Ababa: Russian language studies. They start in the elementary where possible. We are trying to make Russian the second foreign language in the Ethiopian education standards. But it can be any African countries — Vadim Nekrasov, Team Leader for Africa, Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia).

The development of bilateral linguistic cooperation becomes a cornerstone for the Pushkin institute. It is not only language promotion, it is integrating national languages and national culture of the African states in our country — Shivleta Tagirova, Vice Rector for International Activity, Pushkin State Russian Language Institute SBEI HE.

ISSUES
Underdeveloped educational and cultural exchange between Russia and Africa

If Russia wants to promote and develop Russian culture among foreign youth, it should create more programmes on language and culture studies abroad. According to statistics, there are over 300,000 foreign students in Russia, 17 thousand are from Africa and 4 thousand out of them are on a Russian scholarship. Compare it to Turkey: in 2015 it had 400,000 foreign students. Turkey University alone has over 500 students from Chad — Yaseen Abdulrahman, General Director, Center of African Researches and Studies.

I fight for the Russian culture in Mali on a daily basis. We had a cultural centre, but it was shut down after the collapse of the USSR. Russian cultural centre in Mali has to be reopened. The number of students from Mali in Russia declined sharply. This needs to change, young people need to be attracted to studies. Infrastructure is needed, as well as political will and education exchange — Amadu Sebugabi, President, Mali Association of Students and Russian Language Enthusiasts.

African countries dragging behind in science and education

Let me outline the challenges for the African youth. Rapid technological development, digitalization of leading economies, that change the quality of life of their young people and that provide them with new dialogue formats, yet unattainable by the African youth. It is the development of global depositaries, storages and scientific information networks, accessible for the youth of the leading countries. It is the rising cost of access to newest scientific information, that makes the complete information picture available mainly to the youth of the leading countries. Digitalization of education and complication of curriculum, that includes Internet components, that are available only for students from leading countries. Another problem is that the progressive science is mainly in English. Catching up with the leading countries naturally is impossible for the African countries — Vladimir Yurtaev, Professor, Department of Theory and History of International Relations, Peoples' Friendship University of Russia.

Russian universities uninterested in Africa

It appears that apart from a few famous universities, other education institutions are not that interested in Africa. We have a lot of European students coming in to work on scientific projects, yet there are only a few Russians among them, and that is a pity — Francois Havyarimana, Prof., Rector, University of Burundi.

SOLUTIONS
Creating new interaction platforms

During the BRICS Youth Forum in Brazil we agreed to open a business incubator in Izhevsk in 2020. In 2020 we will sign a memorandum of cooperation in youth policy with South Africa, that year will be the year of humanitarian cooperation with Egypt — Roman Kamaev, Deputy Head, Federal Agency for Youth Affairs (Rosmolodezh).

We have a Friend for Leadership community. It is a horizontal community for ideas and projects that can be scaled. The projects that work in Mozambique today, can work in St. Petersburg tomorrow. This community has been created specifically for this inter-crossing informal communication of young leaders and entrepreneurs with functioning projects. We organize events on every Roscongress event, both in Russia and abroad, at UN events, with other international structures — Roman Chukov, Chairman of the Board, Russian Center for the Promotion of International Initiatives; Assistant to Youth Policy Director, Roscongress Foundation.

We are developing the VR-teleportation programme. The idea is: we create a visual copy of any object, put it up accessible to everyone and let them fill it up. We see this as a promising project not only in Russia, but in any country. It can be a copy of an important cultural or historical object. Business can be interested in representing its interests on such platform, while people can be interested in getting a head start on a place they can visit. This creates new possibilities for tourism agencies, cultural and information exchanges — Konstantin Negachev, Founder, VRCOMM.

Expanding technological and cultural exchanges

It is important to show techno parks, companies, and business opportunities. When there is practical interest to working in Russia, or cooperating with a Russian partner, this pushes foreign youth to studying the Russian language, and, consequently, Russian culture — Veronika Peshkova, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Goodwill Ambassador. President of the Foundation for the Development of Public Diplomacy ‘Women’s Perspective’.

Let me list the formats of promoting the Russian culture through advanced Russian science and quality Russian education. These formats include: joint scientific conferences on the topics that are most in demand in Africa; these conferences are to include leading scientific and educational institutions, joint educational events and programmes; they should provide African youth with access to newest research and scientific networks by subscription, give them a chance to take internships in the leading universities and companies in Russia, attract them to joint scientific and business projects, as well as retraining programmes for young African professionals — Vladimir Yurtaev, Professor, Department of Theory and History of International Relations, Peoples' Friendship University of Russia.

We are planning to launch a number of scientific projects to study linguistic specialties of some African languages, in particular with Uganda. Based on the results of this pilot project we are going to spread this practice on other states — Shivleta Tagirova, Vice Rector for International Activity, Pushkin State Russian Language Institute SBEI HE.

Teaching Russian can help promote Russian culture in Africa. We can do this through student exchange between our youth. Our young people study in Russia, but Russian young people should show some interest in Africa. When they do their research, they can choose topics that have to do with Africa, thus making it more interesting for Russia — Francois Havyarimana, Prof., Rector, University of Burundi.

Bringing Russian education standards to Africa

Undergraduate studying should happen in Africa. It should not happen here. Our professors or Africans that received our education would train bachelors according to our standards at their universities. However, post graduate studies should happen in Russia at Russia’s dime. Then medium-sized business will know that it will be able to find professionals in this or that African country and they will not have to organize the training but have the professionals waiting soon. It will stimulate the development of the African countries in the best of ways and will stimulate trade — Vadim Nekrasov, Team Leader for Africa, Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia).

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS