Autumn Fellowship Program for Foreign Researchers at MGIMO University closes

Autumn Fellowship Program for Foreign Researchers at MGIMO University closes

3 December 2021

The autumn fellowship program InteRussia for foreign experts launched jointly by MGIMO University, the Gorchakov Fund and Rossotrudnichestvo has ended.

On December 3, the Gorchakov Fund hosted the closing ceremony of the program attended by Leonid Drachevsky, Executive Director of the Gorchakov Fund; Evgeny Primakov, Head of Rossotrudnichestvo; Andrey Baykov, Vice-Rector for Science and Research, and Maxim Suchkov, Acting Director of the MGIMO Institute for International Studies.

“Though your fellowship has formally lasted only a month, it has not been cursory in terms of its depth and intensity. You have managed to really immerse yourself in the life of the Russian scientific community over the course of the program, and the quality of your research projects is a vivid testimony to this," says Andrey Baykov. The Vice-Rector highly appreciates the potential of and has big hopes for the future of the program, which will become an integral part of the plan for the development of international academic mobility at MGIMO University within the Priority 2030 project. According to Andrey Baykov, an open and direct exchange of information with foreign partners in various expert centers through horizontal communication is a good foundation for creating a network of partnerships in the post-Soviet space and beyond.

A round table “CIS 30th Anniversary: Results and Prospects for Development. Integration in the Post-Soviet Space in the Age of Global Challenges” held the day before in the conference hall of the MGIMO Institute for International Studies finalized the autumn InteRussia Fellowship Program for Foreign Researchers. The participants presented their projects and shared the results of the research they had conducted during their one-month fellowship at MGIMO University.

The fellowship was organized at the MGIMO Institute for International Studies under the guidance of an academic adviser. "The participants met with the best Russian experts in international relations, visited the main Russian political platforms and conducted research together with our leading scientists. The Institute for International Studies was glad to act as a partner of the program together with the Gorchakov Fund and Rossotrudnichestvo. We hope that this interaction will be useful to all parties, and we are looking forward to a stable long-term relationship," said Maxim Suchkov, Acting Director of the MGIMO Institute for International Studies.

The participants’ research was devoted to current trends and key issues in the CIS space. Norayr Dunamalyan, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Political Science of Russian-Armenian University (Yerevan, Armenia), presented scenarios for the development of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Ismoil Naimov, Lecturer at the Department of International Relations and Diplomacy of the Russian-Tajik (Slavonic) University (Dushanbe, Tajikistan), reviewed the foreign policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the South Caucasus. Zaira Satpayeva, Head of the Department of Regional Economy and Innovative Development and Senior Researcher at the “Institute of Economics” Science Committee of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Almaty, Kazakhstan), assessed the potential of scientific and technological integration in the EAEU. Archil Sikharulidze, PhD student at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (Tbilisi, Georgia), studied the relationship between the Georgian Orthodox Church and the Moscow Patriarchate. Yermek Toktarov, Leading Research Fellow at the Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan), analyzed the content of Kazakh-language and Russian-language media in terms of their deviations from the state position.

Comments and recommendations on the development of the research were given by the academic advisors of the participants: Ekaterina Arapova, Director of the Institute’s Sanctions Policy Expertise Center; Sergey Markedonov, the Leading Researcher of the Institute’s Euro-Atlantic Security Center and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of International Analytics; Ivan Safranchuk, Director of the Institute’s Center of Euro-Asian Studies; Nikolay Silaev, Director of the Institute’s Laboratory of International Trends Analysis; Adlan Margoev, Research Fellow of  the Centre for Middle East Studies, the Institute’s Chief Strategy Officer and Coordinator of the Fellowship Program.

At the end of the round table, Adlan Margoev summed up the outcomes of the program and stated that "the implementation of the short-term academic mobility program is an important step towards the internationalization of academia at MGIMO University. Effective development of national academia is no longer possible without an appropriate system and infrastructure for international academic cooperation. The pilot stage of the project in cooperation with the Gorchakov Fund and Rossotrudnichestvo confirmed some of the ideas we had about how to better organize academic mobility and gave us some new ones, and I am pleased that the Institute for International Studies is setting the agenda and establishing a competence center in this area."

The program was highly appreciated by the participants in terms of its importance for their research and networking. "We managed to achieve all our goals over the course of the fellowship. We have learnt to use new methods, analysis tools and were able to study the situation from the inside. This initiative is an important contribution to the development of academic and technical cooperation within the EAEU," says Zaira Satpayeva. "The program allowed foreign and Russian researchers to rediscover each other. It helps to clear up misunderstandings in academia and between our societies," Norayr Dunamalyan believes. According to Archil Sikharulidze, the program participants both have gained a lot of experience and have found new colleagues and friends. "During the fellowship, I have had a lot of new ideas that I plan to use in my future monograph," said Yermek Toktarov. According to Ismoil Naimov, it is important for researchers in the post-Soviet space to understand each other's research culture. "We will apply the acquired skills in research and when teaching students at home," he concluded.

Academic advisors also describe their experience as unique. "We were able to work together with established researchers and network with the academia of other countries," Nikolay Silaev believes.

MGIMO University organized the fellowship program in cooperation with the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund and the Federal Agency for the CIS States Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation. At the final round table, Lyana Dymova, a leading specialist at the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund, emphasized "the highest professionalism of the MGIMO team."

The organizers are planning to have new calls for applications for the InteRussia program in the future and keep in touch with former participants in order to engage them in other MGIMO University projects under the Priority 2030 program.

Institute for International Studies
Photo: Evgeny ZUEV