Spring Fellowship Program for Foreign Researchers at MGIMO University closes

Spring Fellowship Program for Foreign Researchers at MGIMO University closes

2 May 2023

The fourth InteRussia fellowship program for foreign professionals, which MGIMO implements under the "Priority 2030" Strategic Academic Leadership Program together with the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund, has come to an end. The fellowship program took place at the MGIMO Institute for International Studies from March 20 to April 30.

For six weeks, the program participants explored new centers of power in Eurasia and Africa and the transformation of the world order. The academic advisors included the leading MGIMO researchers, such as Maxim Suchkov, Director of the MGIMO Institute for International Studies; Ekaterina Arapova, Director of the Institute’s Sanctions Policy Expertise Center; Vladislav Vorotnikov, Director of the Institute’s Center of European Studies; Alexander Nikitin, Director of the Institute’s Center for Euro-Atlantic Security; Ivan Safranchuk, Director of the Institute’s Center of Euro-Asian Studies; Sergey Markedonov, Leading Researcher at the Institute’s Center for Euro-Atlantic Security and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of International Analytics; Mayya Nikolskaya, Junior Researcher at the Institute’s Center of Middle-Eastern and African Studies; Maria Reshchikova, an analyst at the Institute for International Studies, and Dennis Kalashnikov, Associated Professor, World Economy Department.

On April 27, a round table was held at the IIS, where the fellowship program participants presented their research projects:

  • Armina Arm (Iran), Ph.D., Director, Eurasia and Middle East Department, Center for Strategic Research: Where Iran stands in Russia’s Middle East policy?
  • Vali Golmohammadi (Iran), Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, Tarbiat Modares University: How Iran perceives Turkey’s Rise in the South Caucasus; A New Geopolitics of Regional Powers Conflict
  • Rajoli Siddharth Jayaprakash (India), Ph.D. Student, Jawaharlal Nehru University: Theorizing Resilience: Impact of Sanctions on the Russian Economy and Rebalancing the World Order
  • Zhanerke Kochiigit (Kazakhstan), Ph.D. Student, Nazarbayev University: Understanding Soft Power through a Discourse Analysis: Media Portrayal of Established and Rising Powers in Kazakhstan
  • Nicodemus Michael Minde (Tanzania), Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Catholic University of Eastern Africa (Nairobi, Kenya): China and Russia Summit Diplomacy in Africa: A Critical Appraisal
  • Israel Nyaburi Nyadera (Kenya), Ph.D., Lecturer, Egerton University: The Crisis of Liberal Approaches to International Security: A Gap for Emerging Powers to Fill?
  • Malalaharivony Noary Ralafiarindaza (Madagascar), Research Analyst, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Madagascar: An Integrated Africa as a Rising Power: The Case of the East African Community
  • Ayushi Saini (India), Ph.D. Student, Jawaharlal Nehru University: The Russia-China Axis and India's Balancing Act: Understanding Emerging Power Dynamics in Global Politics
  • Seyed Mahdi Tadayon (Iran), Ph.D. Student, Imam Sadiq University: Evolution of Strategic Relations between Iran, Russia and China

The participants believe that the program has contributed a lot to their research and networking.

"During the fellowship, I learned a lot from my Russian and foreign colleagues. It was a very valuable and useful experience for me," Armina Arm (Iran) shared her impressions. According to Zhanerke Kochiigit (Kazakhstan), the InteRussia program promotes a dialogue between experts in international relations at the global level both professionally and culturally.

"In six weeks, I managed not only to conduct research and exchange experience with colleagues, but also to see Moscow, get acquainted with the daily life of Russians. Though my family and I had a lot of prejudices against Russia before the trip, now I have overcome all of them," said Nicodemus Michael Minde (Tanzania).

The academic advisors also believe that InteRussia is a unique program. "InteRussia gives participants an opportunity to dive deeper into a scientific problem, using not only their own academic experience, but also the recommendations of their academic advisors. In the course of my work with Ayushi, a PhD student from India, we tried to develop a concerted approach to the research issue with Russian and Indian interests in mind as well as to evaluate the policies of the two countries in the context of modern foreign policy changes," Maria Reshchikova shared. In her opinion, such practice makes it possible to understand each other’s positions much better and in the future that will contribute to the rapprochement of the two states and the growth of mutual understanding between them.

According to Nikita Lipunov, IIS Program Coordinator, the participants and their research gain in quality and professionalism with each new season of the program. "The strategic goal of the program is to build a global community of young experts in international relations, so we expect to continue our cooperation with the participants, their universities and research centers," he said.

On April 28, the Gorchakov Fund hosted the closing ceremony of the program attended by Vyacheslav Sutyrin, Director of the MGIMO Center for Academic Diplomacy, and Lyana Dymova, Academic Programmes Coordinator.

"With each new fellowship, the participants’ research gets deeper and more detailed. For six weeks, I was happy to see your interest and involvement in the process, and we hope to continue working together with you in various formats in the future," Vyacheslav Sutyrin said addressing the participants with a closing speech.

Over the course of the fellowship, all the participants were actively involved in the work of MGIMO research and training departments. On April 12, a round table was held at the IIS with the InteRussia participants presenting their interim results and reviewing them with their academic advisors in the format of an interactive discussion. On April 17, a methodological seminar "Non-Western approaches to teaching international relations" was held at the IIS with the lecturers participating in the program presenting their national approaches to the theory of international relations and sharing their experience in the professional training of international relations specialists. On April 20, the IIS researchers organized an educational module for the InteRussia participants. They delivered lectures on relations between Russia and the EU, on the international political situation in the Arctic, as well as on nuclear energy trends in China. On April 27, the World Economy Department held a round table "Current trends in the socio-economic development of Africa: factors and opportunities for expanding cooperation with Russia" with the participation of the InteRussia participants from Africa. On the same day, Iranian participants met with MGIMO Master's degree students who are learning Persian giving the latter an opportunity to discuss professional topics in Farsi with their foreign colleagues.

The foreign researchers also met with student associations, for example, the program participants from East Africa gave lectures for the African Club MGIMO and talked to students in Swahili on April 13.

The fellowship program included both academic events and expert sessions. The participants visited the Valdai Discussion Club, Rossiya Segodnya, Russia Today; they met with Evgeny Primakov, Head of the Federal Agency for the CIS States Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo), and Feodor Voitolovsky, Acting Director of the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations. The program also included some social events, in particular a tour of Moscow and the Tretyakov Gallery.

The previous programs took place in November-December 2021, March-April and October-December 2022. During this time, more than 20 young researchers from Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Argentina, Brazil, India, Myanmar, Serbia and South Sudan have completed fellowship programs at MGIMO. The participants’ research was devoted to current trends and key issues in the CIS space, as well as to the policy of the great and middle powers in Eurasia.

The call for applications for the autumn InteRussia program will be announced over the next few weeks.

Institute for International Studies
Center for Academic Diplomacy