Updated: March 1, 2021
The session ‘Promotion of Russian Culture Among Foreign Youth’ was held at the Building Trust Area during the Russia–Africa Economic Forum. The programme operator is the Innosocium Foundation – the social platform of the Roscongress Foundation.
Progressive development is impossible in the modern world without the integration of cultures of different countries. The promotion of Russian culture among the young people of other countries is a major priority. After all, members of the new generation are the ones who will continue to build interaction in society, culture, and business. The goal of fulfilling the creative potential of young people in science and innovation is very important for Russia today. The country’s scientific and technological potential cannot be developed without exchanging experience with colleagues from other countries. In this regard, it is crucial to integrate Russian youth into world culture and introduce foreign students to Russia’s culture, traditions, and technologies.
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Andrey Yegorov, Deputy Chairman of the Coordinating Council for Youth in the Scientific and Educational Spheres of the Presidential Council on Science and Education and Russia–Qatar Programme Director, moderated the session ‘Promotion of Russian Culture Among Foreign Youth’ and outlined the main focuses of the discussion. What are the goals and priorities of cultural integration and what specific steps will contribute to this?
The session speakers included: Yaseen Abdulrahman, General Director of the Centre of African Researches and Studies; Roman Kamaev, Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs (Rosmolodezh); Veronika Peshkova, President of the Foundation for the Development of Public Diplomacy Women’s Perspective and Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); Dr. Ngan Tonye Francois Simon Pierre, Representative in the Republic of Cameroon and Central Africa Countries of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia; Prof. Francois Havyarimana, Rector of the University of Burundi; Konstantin Negachev, Founder of VRCOMM; Shivleta Tagirova, Vice Rector for International Activity at Pushkin State Russian Language Institute; Vadim Nekrasov, Team Leader for Africa at Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia); and Roman Chukov, Chairman of the Board of the Roscongress Foundation’s Centre for International Promotion and Assistant Director for Youth Policy.
Kamaev noted that major international youth events contribute to the permeation of cultures and generate interest in Russia among foreigners. “Without close cooperation with foreign youth, we will not be able to build the future of our countries. Two years ago in Sochi, we held the World Festival of Youth and Students, which brought together more than 30,000 participants from different countries. From Africa, we had representatives of more than 50 countries – 1,100 people”, Kamaev said. “This event played a big role in promoting Russian culture around the world. Each year we organize youth events for foreigners who study Russian and are interested in our culture”. He noted that Russia has numerous organizations and government programmes working in this area. Serious work is being carried out with African countries in this regard and there is a high level of mutual interest. In particular, a memorandum of cooperation concerning youth policy will be signed next year with South Africa and later with a number of states.
Pierre noted that culture does not solely consist of traditions and customs, but also sports, science, and language. Tagirova echoed this sentiment: “Intercultural cooperation starts with knowledge of the language in particular. Problems with interaction often arise due to improper communication. When we study a language, we automatically study the culture of the nation”. The participants discussed a number of projects that aim to increase the level of knowledge of the Russian language in other countries as well as other initiatives that aim to get young people interested in studying Russia, its traditions, and modern way of life. Peshkova noted that the development of business contacts between countries also contributes to the mutual permeation of cultures. As an example, she cited a project involving the exchange of delegations of young female entrepreneurs in Russia and other countries, which UNIDO began implementing together with the Innosocium Foundation – the social platform of the Roscongress Foundation, and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives.
“A comprehensive approach that takes into account all aspects – culture, education, and business – is needed in the integration of foreign youth with Russian culture”, said Yelena Marinina, Deputy CEO of the Roscongress Foundation and Director of the Innosocium Foundation. “The social platform that we created serves just this purpose. It creates dialogue platforms that will facilitate the exchange of experience and increase foreigners’ interest in our country”.