A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions, congress, exhibitions, business, social and sporting, public, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, and helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5000 people working in Russia and abroad. In addition, it works in close cooperation with 160 economic partners; industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions; and financial, trade, and business associations from 75 countries worldwide.

The Roscongress Foundation has Telegram channels in Russian (t.me/Roscongress), English (t.me/RoscongressDirect), and Spanish (t.me/RoscongressEsp). Official website and Information and Analytical System of the Roscongress Foundation: roscongress.org.

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The Pros and Cons of Cultural Expansion
3 June 2021
17:00—18:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
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If we are thinking about promoting our cultural product and our culture, from my point of view, given the current international context, this is generally the main policy tool or one of the most important tools today. Because when politicians burn bridges, cultural workers restore them — Valery Fokin, Artistic Director, National Drama Theatre of Russia (Alexandrinsky Theatre).

Cultural exchange is likely essential for different countries to be able to understand each other and work together. I believe we live in a world where many of the problems we face are global in nature and require cooperation from people of different cultures [...] I think that education will become an important means or medium for cultural exchange and cultural expansion — Ahmad M. Hasnah, President, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).

ISSUES
Lack of a unified system of cultural expansion

We mainly support large and state-sponsored projects and, of course, we have a sense of this chaotic decision-making and the lack of a well-established mechanism. The question that was announced to me for this session mentioned the theme of interaction mechanisms. I think it’s difficult to talk about mechanisms for now. And this complicates the work, which is a little depressing. The ability of our culture to influence the external field is also waning, of course. Because it must be a well-thought-out strategy that is implemented in a certain tactic — Fatima Mukhomedzhan, Deputy Director, The Art, Science and Sports Charity Foundation.

High art has no nationality

It’s very difficult to react to the word ‘expansion’ when I go out to play [Rachmaninoff] or [Tchaikovsky]. This word does not fit with what I do on stage and what my colleagues do. Art and talent have no nationality [...] When Koreans, Chinese, and French win the most famous international competitions, they all have Russian teachers. In principle, a very interesting process is underway right now, but here I would replace the word ‘expansion’ with some milder expression. I would say ‘therapy’. We engage in therapy and will always do so — Denis Matsuev, Pianist; Artistic Director, "Stars on Baikal" Festival; UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

The problem of values

I think that we will nevertheless have to lean on humans in one way or another for values. Because all the most important values are still inside of us. Humans have not substantially changed for thousands of years. Yet, who will be in the frame [...] Values can be conflicting. On the contrary, they can deprive a particular side to a conflict with a proper presentation — Valery Fokin, Artistic Director, National Drama Theatre of Russia (Alexandrinsky Theatre).

SOLUTIONS
Art and culture unite people

Today, smart and flexible advancement on all fronts is a very important issue [...] I have repeatedly seen that when people engage each other in debates, they don’t accept each other [...], but when they come together in the theatre hall, for example, for 2–3 hours, it all disappears. Because there was an emotional heart-to-heart dialogue, and people emerged completely differently and immediately found a common language, and generally talked not just in different tones, but about other things — Valery Fokin, Artistic Director, National Drama Theatre of Russia (Alexandrinsky Theatre).

For example, when I play concerts in Israel with the famous Zubin Mehta, Jews and Arabs sit together in the hall next to each other. And all conflicts remain outside the walls of these concert halls — Denis Matsuev, Pianist; Artistic Director, "Stars on Baikal" Festival; UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Music heals. Music offers an entirely unique connection between any conflicts. I am certain that this is one of the keys now — Denis Matsuev, Pianist; Artistic Director, "Stars on Baikal" Festival; UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Culture provides happiness. It’s a whole concept. We must bring happiness to people — Sammy Kotwani, President, The Indian National Cultural Centre SITA.

Need for a selective approach to cultural expansion

Today we need a selective approach to expansion. Not a wholesale approach, but a selective one that is specific for a particular country. This is crucial because when we talk about theatre, we know partners and we know foreign theatre communities. We can train and cite as experts the professionals, stars, and young directors who are interested in Russian theatre. And then, with grant support [...], we can stage performances of Russian classics and modern Russian drama in the West by foreign directors — Valery Fokin, Artistic Director, National Drama Theatre of Russia (Alexandrinsky Theatre).

Expansion by supporting the Russian language abroad

We all know perfectly well what it means to improve the quality of the Russian language in the post-Soviet space. This, of course, involves enhancing the level of culture, an opportunity to build up ties, and economic opportunities. This is everything that follows that. So, as soon as we establish the process of enhancing the level of the language [...] then naturally it will immediately change a lot of factors — Fatima Mukhomedzhan, Deputy Director, The Art, Science and Sports Charity Foundation.

Cultural expansion can coexist with politics

When the New Names Foundation found me, the unique Ivette Voronova, who got us together back in 1990, all our first concerts abroad were indeed associated with the prefix ‘politics’. In addition to Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Musikverein, and Concertgebouw, there were concert sites such as UNESCO and the NATO headquarters. We lived with the families of NATO generals [...] But those were certainly different times. No one knew the Russia of that time [...] But, of course, international activities should remain as it was then — Denis Matsuev, Pianist; Artistic Director, "Stars on Baikal" Festival; UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Or here’s another example. When Van Cliburn won the first Tchaikovsky competition in 1958, of course, it was Khrushchev’s decision: an American wins the first Tchaikovsky competition at the height of the Cold War. And this was probably one of Khrushchev’s most ingenious political decisions because Cliburn played brilliantly [...] And with this decision he raised the Tchaikovsky competition to such heights. To this day, it’s like the Olympics for a musician — Denis Matsuev, Pianist; Artistic Director, "Stars on Baikal" Festival; UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Cultural expansion through education

You have to train the people in your culture who will carry your traditions into the future and preserve your culture. But it’s also essential that you start using educational institutions to send students abroad so that they bring culture abroad, interact with another culture, and return to Russia or Qatar with an understanding that is so crucial. This allows you to build bridges and create harmony, and in this environment, you can always discuss the most difficult challenges and conflicts [...] Education is precisely the area where you preserve culture and where you promote culture and use it as a means to build bridges — Ahmad M. Hasnah, President, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).

Education is the foundation that should nevertheless just shape the future cultural programme, which will be of a certain quality and which will go beyond — Fatima Mukhomedzhan, Deputy Director, The Art, Science and Sports Charity Foundation.

Expansion through technology

Taking into account the globalization of the economy and the development of science and all other sectors, I believe that this all enriches us in the context of culture. Even with the help of modern media – the Internet, phones, and social media [...] Of course, the development of technology is another one of the engines that can help in conveying culture and provide an opportunity for people to learn something about the cultures of other countries — Sammy Kotwani, President, The Indian National Cultural Centre SITA.

Technology has now become a very important tool for export and for enhancing cultural exchange and expansion. There is no need to travel and physically move to other countries. You just need to understand how this technology conveys culture — Ahmad M. Hasnah, President, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).