Ambassador of Switzerland to Russia Comes to MGIMO

Ambassador of Switzerland to Russia Comes to MGIMO

15 April 2021

April 15th, the new Ambassador of Switzerland to Russia Krystyna Marty Lang came to the University, where she met with the Vice-Rector for Human Resources V.Morozov and gave a talk to MGIMO students.

During the meeting, the sides discussed the opportunities of developing cooperation in education and research. The talks were also attended by the Adviser of the Swiss Embassy on political issues Charmey Fanny, the Head of the Department of Science, Technology and Education of the Swiss embassy A.Melnikov and the Head of MGIMO’s Department of the German Language M.Chigasheva.

After the official meeting, there was a lecture on “Living Environmentally: The Viewpoints of Switzerland and Russia”. Held in German and Russian, with simultaneous translation, the meeting was launched by the Head of the Department of German language M.Chigasheva, who underlined the importance of environmental problems in the modern world. Then Krystyna Marty Lang gave a welcome speech. The diplomat noted that Switzerland pays great attention to environmental sustainability issues, which is reflected in the country’s new foreign policy doctrine adopted in January 2020.

The Scientific Adviser of the Swiss Environmental Ministry, board member of the Swiss Association of Environmental Equipment Manufacturers, Dr. Viktor Haefeli, and the co-founder of the Collector project, the Head of the Separate Collection public movement Valeria Korosteleva, also spoke to the faculty members and students of the University.

In his presentation, the Swiss expert focused on this European country’s experience in waste disposal and recycling. The uncontrolled burning of waste, which was the main way of solving the "garbage problem" until the 1970s, led to the release of a large amount of harmful substances into the atmosphere. Water bodies were also subjected to significant pollution, which has a negative impact on neighbouring countries due to Switzerland’s geographical position in the center of Europe and the ecological interdependence of vast territories. Economic growth and industrialization have led to an increase in the volume of waste produced, including biodegradable waste. The last two decades of the 20th century were marked by an ecological "turn" with a focus being put on the environmental friendliness of production, a circular economy, waste processing technologies and concern about the well-being of future generations. New laws have been implemented at the federal, regional and local levels. The development of appropriate technologies including recycling, thermal utilization, cold recycling, chemical treatment are also important aspects of the new environmental policy. V. Hefely emphasized the fact that the ecological consciousness of citizens and turning away from thoughtless consumerism are extremely important for the preservation of the environment. In addition, a brief comparative analysis of the situation in Switzerland and Russia was presented.

V.Hefely concluded his speech by commenting on the prospects for Russian-Swiss cooperation in the field of ecology and mentioning Russia’s participation in the recent Conference on the Circular Economy in Switzerland.

V.Korosteleva spoke about the educational activities of the Separate Collection movement in Moscow. The main mission of eco-activists is to promote a culture of smart consumption and sustainable lifestyles. The project provides, among other things, expert and consulting services. V.Korosteleva dwelled on some aspects of Russian environmental legislation and the problems of implementing a ‘waste reform’. She also spoke about some of the most successful projects implemented by the public movement in the Moscow region.

As the meeting came to a close, the experts took questions from the audience about international political, economic, industrial issues linked to environmental protection. All questions were asked in German.

After the event, the guests praised the students on their fluency in German and their interest in discussing environmental problems. Simultaneous interpretation was carried out by E.Mokrushina, Senior Lecturer at the Department of German at MGIMO and E.Efimova.