EEF 2022: session "Humanitarian Aspects of the ASEAN–Russia Strategic Partnership"

EEF 2022: session

8 September 2022

On September 8, the session “The Humanitarian Dimension of the Strategic Partnership between Russia and ASEAN” organized by the ASEAN Centre in cooperation with partner universities became a follow up of MGIMO events at the Eastern Economic Forum. Vice-Rector for Science and Research Dr. Andrey Baykov moderated the discussion.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Baykov noted that against the backdrop of Russia's turn to the East, the discussion of humanitarian ties development acquires a greater significance. Introducing the session speakers, Dr. Andrey Baykov also emphasized that all of the sessions’ speakres are deeply involved in the cooperation development between Russia and ASEAN in various spheres.

Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Acting Head of the MGIMO Department of Diplomacy H.E. Kirill Barsky focused the audience’s attention on the phenomenon of academic diplomacy. In his opinion, it is necessary to establish a constant dialogue between young researchers from Russia and the ASEAN countries. He added that academic contacts make up for the lack of trust and form mutual understanding. The discussion was continued by H.E. Teoh Seng Lee, Honorary Consul of Russia in Penang State (Malaysia), who outlined the current trends in international relations development and their impact on the world market of educational services. He particularly stressed that in the current conditions, Russian education may provide the impetus for Russia's soft power and offered the ways to increase its attractiveness for the ASEAN youth.

FEFU Acting Vice-Rector for International Relations Dr. Evgeniy Vlasov, Vice-Rector of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology for Student Affairs Mr. Denis Stolyarov and Vice-Rector for Communication of Tomsk National Research State University Dr. Artem Rykun have also shared their views on the avenues of interaction with students and young researchers from ASEAN countries. All three universities educate a significant number of students from Southeast Asia studying both liberal arts and hard sciences. There is also a noteworthy experience in opening representative offices of Russian universities in Southeast Asia (e.g. FEFU representative office in Hanoi, Vietnam), as well as in the development of joint scholarship projects for the gifted youth (e.g. the H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Skoltech Scholarship).

Director for International Cooperation at Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute named after N.E.Zhukovsky, Dr. Sofia Bluger touched upon the issue of aeronautics which has been becoming a promising area of research and technical cooperation with Southeast Asia.

Director of the International Studies Program at the Faculty of Political Science of the Thammasat University (Thailand) Dr. Jittipat Poonkham and the Dean of the Faculty of International Relations, Director of the Center for Russian Studies of the Philippine New Era University Dr. Carlos Tabunda revealed new details about the reasons for the growing interest in Russia and the study of the Russian language, in particular in Thailand and the Philippines.  Based on the experience of their centers for Russia Studies operating at both of the universities, the speakers explained what motivated the students’ choice of the Russian language and what topics are of particular interest to future experts on Russia from Southeast Asia.

The issues of humanitarian cooperation institutionalization between Russia and ASEAN were outlined in the presentation by Ms. Irina Kuklina, Executive Director, Analytical Center for International Scientific, Technological and Educational Programs. In her speech, she introduced the multi-stakeholder initiatives, which aim to promote joint research projects between Russia and ASEAN and support them financially.

The Director of the ASEAN Centre Dr. Ekaterina Koldunova thanked all the participants of the session and noted an urgent need for a creating a denser infrastructure for educational and academic cooperation between Russia and the ASEAN member-states.

ASEAN Centre