Promotion of Russian Culture Among Foreign Youth Discussed at Building Trust Area during Russia–Africa Forum

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.

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”.

The Russia–Africa Summit and Economic Forum are being held on 23–24 October at the Sirius Park of Science and Art in Sochi. The Roscongress Foundation is the event organizer, and the co-organizers of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum are Russian Export Centre and Afreximbank.

Building Trust Area programme was prepared by the Innosocium Foundation – the social platform of the Roscongress Foundation.

To participants in the Russia–Africa Economic Forum

Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you at the opening of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum.

The rich history of relations between Africa and Russia has never seen an event of a similar scale. Members of government agencies and business community, and experts are meeting at this Forum to substantively discuss the current status and prospects of cooperation and a wide range of topical issues of the world economy.

Today, the countries of Africa are well on their way towards social, economic, scientific and technological development, and are playing a significant role in international affairs. They are strengthening mutually beneficial integration processes within the African Union and other regional and sub regional organizations across the continent.

In recent years, the traditionally friendly ties of partnership between Russia and Africa have gained new momentum, both at a bilateral level and in various multilateral formats. In addition to preserving our past experience of successful cooperation, we have also managed to make significant new steps forward. Trade and investment are growing dynamically, and new joint projects are under way in extractive industries, agriculture, healthcare, and education. Russian companies are ready to offer their scientific and technological developments to their African partners, and share their experience of upgrading energy, transport and communications infrastructures.

I hope that the Forum will help identify new areas and forms of cooperation, put forward promising joint initiatives that will bring the collaboration between Russia and Africa to a qualitatively new level and contribute to the development of our economies and the prosperity of our peoples.

I wish the Forum’s participants fruitful work and all the best.

Vladimir Putin

The Russia–Africa Summit, which is taking place in Sochi on 23–24 October 2019, encapsulates the historically friendly relations between the African continent and the Russian Federation. This Summit carries great significance as it is the first of its kind to emerge during a period of major global and international transformations. In response to the aspirations of the people it is representing, the Summit intends to build a comprehensive framework for expanding Russian–African relations into broader horizons of joint cooperation across different fields.

The African nations and Russia share a common understanding of international relations, based on the principles of respect for the rule of international law, equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of states, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. Both sides affirm their commitment to support multilateral actions to oppose new international threats, be they terrorism and extremism in all their forms, or declining growth rates. The two sides share a firm conviction regarding the importance of developing trade flows and supporting mutual investment in such a way as to ensure security, peace and development for the African and Russian people.

African countries have huge potential and opportunities that will allow them, once efforts to streamline their economies have been achieved, to emerge as real global players. In recent years, the nations of this continent have achieved major successes spanning the political, economic, social and administrative spheres. Africa has flourished in terms of growth over the past decade, reaching a continent-wide growth rate of 3.55% in 2018.

The African Union Summit, which was held in Niger in July 2019, continued the efforts of the African countries and saw the African Continental Free Trade Agreement come into force, along with its operational instruments. The agreement is one of the key objectives of Agenda 2063, an African development strategy that has been created to address the African people’s desire for prosperity and decent living standards.

These successes are opening up wide-ranging prospects for cooperation between African countries and the Russian Federation, and confirm the determination of African governments and their people to cooperate with multiple partners in order to establish mutually beneficial relations.

With this in mind, we express our hopes that the Russia–Africa Summit will help in the establishment of constructive strategic relations, based on partnership between two sides across various fields, and in the service of fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the African people and their friends in Russia.

President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Abdelfattah ALSISI