MGIMO Students at Lake Baikal

MGIMO Students at Lake Baikal

6 August 2019

During their 2019 summer holidays, MGIMO students were not idle: in the framework of the project «Diplomats of the Future», a group of young diplomats travelled to the Transbaikal, worked on restoring the Posolskiy Holy Transfiguration Monastery, and they tutored children in the Orthodox holiday camp «Sail of Hope».

From July 2nd to 13th, in the frame of the project «Diplomats of the Future» jointly realized by the Association of Russian Diplomats, the Center for Patriotic Education and MGIMO, a summer expedition of young diplomats to the Posolskiy Holy Transfiguration Monastery by Lake Baikal was organized.
A group of 17 people spent a week next to the largest and deepest lake in the world: Lake Baikal. The schoolchildren discovered, thanks to MGIMO students, the basics of diplomacy, Russian cultural specificities and the Orthodox culture. The students resided at the Monastery, founded in 1681 in honor of the Tsarist Ambassador Erofei Zabolotsky. While the girls helped in the garden, the boys did repair work.

The students also prepared an educational program for the children, which included an intellectual quiz on diplomacy, a master class on negotiations and oratory skills delivered by the head of MGIMO’s Negotiation Club and a lecture on ecology. The Clean Beach environmental campaign led to over 150 kg of garbage being collected on the shores of Lake Baikal. The regional operator Ecoalliance joined in the initiative and took the garbage collected for recycling.

In their free time, the students went on an excursion to the «Warm Lakes», a natural complex where ancient relict trees grow and there are three forest lakes — Emerald, Inanimate and Fairy-tale. There, they climbed Mount Cap Monomakh and planted the flag of the Association of Russian Diplomats and of MGIMO at its peak.

July 10th to July 27th, MGIMO students went on a traditional expedition to Lake Baikal to help improve and restore the Monastery, located in the Republic of Buryatia. The students participated in construction and restoration work on the territory of the monastery and organized cultural and educational programs for the youth of Buryatia.
The expedition included 12 members of the Student Union and the Center for Support of the Volunteer Movement. Over the three weeks, the students immersed themselves in the spiritual life of the monastery and discovered the customs and traditions of the local population. The young men helped to build a brick wall in the monastery and whitewashed the walls of the monastery’s chapel and the girls worked in the garden, the kitchen, the church and library. During their stay, the guests attended services.

The children also had English language lessons, classes devoted to the culture and history of Denmark, France, and China and modules on «The Rise of the Russian Culture 1900-1925» and «Through the Pages of Russian History». Quests on the history of Latin America and Russia, and a youthful Parliamentary model were also organized. At the end of the holiday camp, all schoolchildren were awarded certificates and gifts. In their free time, MGIMO students discovered the natural and cultural diversity of the TransBaikal area.

This expedition of the MGIMO students was the fifteenth since the beginning of the restoration of the Monastery. The students shared their knowledge of the historical heritage of Russian diplomacy, participated in improving the monastery and had an unforgettable experience.

July 29th, 12 students from MGIMO and its Odintsovo campus, led by the University’s Vice-Rector for Social and Extra-curricular Work Igor Loginov attended the last week of the Orthodox «Sail of Hope» camp on the northern shores of Lake Baikal (Cape Ludar).
The camp is organized for schoolchildren by the University’s activists, who designed an educational program, which includes foreign language study, cultural and educational events, and sports activities. The schoolchildren attended classes in English, history and acting and enjoyed a national cuisine day and a real political debate. MGIMO students also helped prepare the camp infrastructure, creating a place for a fire, putting up tents, setting up a kitchen area, a refectory and a bathhouse.

During their stay, MGIMO activists took the schoolchildren on a hike, attended church services, had discussions with priests, exercised and shared the knowledge they acquired during their studies.

After a long conversation with the schoolchildren, MGIMO students came up with the idea of creating an internet educational course for children of the region.