Expanding the boundaries: Russian-Armenian scientific and educational forum

On June 13-14, 2023 the first Russian-Armenian scientific and educational forum “Integration of science, education and production – the driver of economic modernization” took place in Yerevan.

The event was attended by over 200 specialists – representatives of leading universities, scientific organizations, ministries, relevant agencies and businesses of Russia and Armenia.

The participants discussed issues of educational interaction, as well as in the sphere of applied and fundamental science and humanitarian sphere, touched upon issues of international cooperation and outlined plans for the future.

During the first day of the forum, there was a plenary session, and then the forum continued in the format of sessional sessions.

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In his opening speech, the Rector of Lomonosov Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichy noted that under the auspices of the Russian Rectors’ Union more than 80 forums had already been held with the participation of more than six thousand rectors of Russian and foreign universities. It is planned that this autumn there will be Rectors’ forums attended by leading universities from Cuba, Vietnam, Belarus, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan and other countries.

Viktor Sadovnichy also told that the Russian Union of Rectors has initiated the creation of a number of bilateral and multilateral international interuniversity associations. Thus, one of the oldest inter-university organizations is the Eurasian Association of Universities (founded in 1989 and uniting 140 universities from 11 countries).

The format of network universities is no less promising. The Eurasian Network University was founded last year. Its activities should play an important role in the formation of a unified system of the Greater Eurasian Partnership in Education and Science. More than 20 universities from Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan took part in the project. A number of universities from non-CIS countries are also interested in becoming participants.

The Rector of Lomonosov Moscow State University also spoke about other science and education projects launched on the initiative of Moscow State University and the Russian Union of Rectors, such as the “Open Education” National Platform, the “Lomonosov” International Academic Conference, and the “Science 0+” (“Science for All”) International Festival of Science with an audience of over 16 million people. This fall, there are plans to organize the festival in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and also in China. Sadovnichy invited the Armenian colleagues to take part in these projects, and also proposed to hold the II Russian-Armenian scientific and educational forum in the spring of 2024 at the Moscow University.

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The President of the Union of Rectors of Armenia, Rector of Yerevan State University Hovhannes Hovhannisyan in his speech noted that international cooperation is an obligatory vector of development of the scientific and educational sphere. In his words the development of Russian-Armenian cooperation in science and education should include the exchange of students and teachers, joint research and development, creation of joint funds, grant programs and mechanisms to attract scientific personnel from both countries. He also suggested increasing the number of double degree programs between Russian and Armenian universities.

Armenian Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Zhanna Andreasyan expressed confidence that the forum will be one of the platforms for identifying new vectors of cooperation in education and science between Russia and Armenia and will raise the cooperation to a new level.

In his greeting speech, Russian Education Minister Sergey Kravtsov stressed the importance of developing cooperation at all levels of education, including secondary and vocational education. He particularly mentioned that the Armenian project may be interesting for the Russian educational system, in the framework of which various museum exhibits are brought to schools, including those in rural areas. Thanks to that the children can personally get acquainted with this or that art object.

Mikhail Shvydkoy, special representative of the Russian President for international cultural cooperation, said that representatives of more than 50 Russian universities and research organizations are participating in the forum. Shvydkoy reminded that there are several branches of Russian universities in Armenia and the Russian-Armenian University, which, according to him, is a center for Russian-Armenian cooperation and trains specialists, which are in demand on the labor market.

At the end of the plenary session of the forum, the cooperation agreement between Moscow State University and Yerevan State University was signed. The document was signed by the Rector of the Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichy and the YSU Rector Hovhannes Hovhannisyan.

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The organizers of Armenian-Russian scientific and educational forum are Russian Ministry of Education and Science, Russian Union of Rectors, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russian Center for Scientific Information, Russian Academy of Education, Armenian Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, Yerevan State University and Russian-Armenian University.

Anastasia Zadorina, Expert of the ICISTE, Deputy Executive Director for International Scientific and Technical Cooperation, took part in such a landmark event.