InteRussia fellowship programme for foreign Russianists has ended in Moscow

Russian Studies
On 16 June, the Pushkin State Russian Language Institute held the official closing ceremony for another wave of fellowships. This programme was organised by the Gorchakov Fund along with Rossotrudnichestvo and the Pushkin Institute.

Foreign Russianists from Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam who took part in the fellowship worked on their projects for one month together with their academic supervisors.

In their papers, the participants analysed creative works of Russian literature of the 19th-20th centuries, the manifestation of non-verbal means in national cultures, the evolution of Pushkin studies, and trends in media linguistics.

The first speaker to address the guests was Svetlana Ulyanova, Head of the Project Management Department at the Pushkin Institute:

"Dear colleagues! I congratulate you on this successful and fruitful month. Today I watched you defending your theses: you have chosen very interesting and topical research areas. I am sure that the new knowledge and skills you acquired during your research fellowship will be reflected in your professional activities. Our programme (InteRussia fellowship for foreign Russianists) is already in its sophomore year. The record shows that it is indeed a very successful and relevant project, which is now already one of the favourites among its participants, organisers, and professors of the Pushkin Institute. I would like to note that our joint research history does not end here. I am sure that it will continue even after the end of the project. Your supervisors and instructors at the Institute will be more than happy to continue staying in contact, which I believe will also facilitate your further development in your professional field together with us."

After this, the attendees were addressed by Dina Gorbatova, Vice-Rector for Development and Digitalisation of Education at the Pushkin Institute:

"The Russian Language Institute is honoured to be part of this programme and also to be able to communicate with you. Not every project of ours gives us that much inspiration at once from every moment of communication, but in the case of the InteRussia fellowship it is different, as our academic supervisors not only work with you and pass on their knowledge, experience and scientific ideas, but they also learn much from you. Indeed, this programme is an absolute cooperation between Russia and the countries you represent, as we work and mutually enrich each other. Not only does the programme not end, perhaps it is just beginning. With many of our fellows, we have launched a number of projects that will continue and be implemented. This is the starting point of our communication with you. I am sure that a great scientific and educational future awaits you, and the friendship that has been made here will last for many years to come. Thank you very much for the inspiration you have given to all our colleagues!"

Welcome remarks were delivered by Anastasia Khokhlova, Deputy Head of the Department of Education and Science at Rossotrudnichestvo:

"On behalf of Rossotrudnichestvo, let me thank our longstanding and reliable partners: the Pushkin Institute and the Gorchakov Fund. They have implemented the project in a professional manner. I also want to congratulate all the participants on the successful completion of the fellowship. Thank you for your sincere interest in the Russian language, creativity and professional participation. I am glad to see how the InteRussia project is developing, which is not only a prestigious iconic event, but also offers fellows an effective opportunity to develop their professional competence in the field of studying and teaching Russian, as well as establish direct contacts with colleagues from other countries and regions. We take this opportunity to invite you to join other projects of Rossotrudnichestvo and our partners. Doors of Russian Houses abroad are always open for you and we will be glad to see you as guests and partners. In addition, Rossotrudnichestvo organises professional development courses for Russian language teachers in various countries around the world. This year such events are planned for Armenia, Belarus, India, Mongolia, Turkey, Senegal, and a number of other countries. This fellowship has allowed us to establish new contacts, and we hope that in the future they will be strengthened and developed. The Russian language unites people, and we value your contribution to enabling people from different countries and cultures to speak the same language all over the world."

Lyana Dymova, Academic Programmes Coordinator at the Gorchakov Fund, thanked the foreign experts for taking part in the fellowship:

"When we started to run the InteRussia programme in other research areas, questions arose on how to do this best. Without all the partners and constituents, the result we have now would not have been the same. This fellowship is the beginning of a long and fruitful cooperation. Our main goal was to create a resilient community of professionals in different fields, including Russian studies, where you could ask for advice and professional help, exchange academic achievements and visit countries of your fellow colleagues. Indeed, this is not just a training course, but a valuable experience of mutual enrichment. This month you have done a tremendous amount of work: it is a great challenge and a complex task. Welcome to the ranks of public diplomats. Thank you for the contribution you are making."

Andrey Scherbakov, PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Director of the Research Department at the Pushkin Institute, has also joined the congratulatory message for the foreign guests:

"Despite the extensive programme, the participants found time and energy to do their work. We tried to fill the fellowship programme with good scientific content. This year, there are no longer five, but six areas of work. We aim to expand the range of scientific fields within which you could carry out your project. There were only two participants among the fellows from the media industry in this year’s intake. I hope that there will be more of them next time, because there is a growing interest in language in the field of media studies, and this is one of the most relevant topics in Russian studies today. Keep in touch with your academic supervisors, who have passed a lot of experience on to you in a short period of time. To all of you I wish further professional success!"

Varvara Filippova, PhD in Pedagogy, Head of the Foreign Specialists’ Internship Department at the Pushkin Institute, shared her personal feelings:

"Initially the fellows came with some specific personal goal, and after every other lecture they could see more clearly which direction they wanted to pursue. You have gained an enormous amount of knowledge and skills here: I would like to congratulate you on that. I hope that you will not abandon everything you have gained during this time and that you will continue to work together with your academic supervisors and fellowship partners."

Then the participants were congratulated by Alexandra Olkhovskaya, PhD in Philology, Head of the Laboratory of Philological Studies at the Department of Research, the Pushkin Institute:

"I am sure that the fellowship was rich and informative in scientific, educational, cultural, and social ways. May the links and threads that have been established during this programme not be broken with your departure. Today’s thesis defence procedure has revealed excellent results: you have justified the relevance, found the methodology, and developed the model of experiments. There is a lot of work ahead to reflect on these results and communicate them to the scientific community."

Alexandra Gorbacheva, Researcher at the Laboratory of Haptic Communication Studies at the Pushkin Institute, assessed the experience received by both the programme participants and organisers:

"I think that all of you have faced some difficulties when you started working with the material in your own fields and areas of expertise. I hope that you will fondly remember this with a smile. I also hope that you will move on being aware that this experience of developing a methodology and accumulating scientific knowledge will help you in the future work process. This point is not the end of our cooperation, but the beginning of a long ray of science with which you and I illuminate our reality."

Svetlana Kamysheva, PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Head of the Centre for Language Policy and International Education at the Department of Research, the Pushkin Institute, joined the congratulatory message:

"For a whole month, you and I shared a magical feeling of celebration. Of course, each of the fellowship participants took as much as they could. You became Muscovites, and we should kindly thank the organisers for that. The programme was so well structured you were able not only to do science, but also to see the cultural sights of the capital and watch the ballet “The Little Scarlet Flower” at the Kremlin Palace of Congresses. We highly appreciate that you approached the teachers after the lectures and asked questions. We, the teachers, are sure that the ideas that came up during your fellowship will certainly be implemented. Good luck to all of you!"

Elmira Afanasieva, Chief Researcher at the Laboratory of Philological Studies of the Pushkin Institute congratulated the guests and her colleagues on the closure of the fellowship:

"We have really managed to establish not only professional contacts, but also personal ones. As a large team, we have made an attempt to pass on our love for classic literature, translation, as well as share our understanding of how books can unite us. I am happy that archives have made part of your scholarly trajectory: we understand that working with primary source material requires the top class philological skills. If we speak of the great scientific history, today we are witnessing a breakthrough in the field of Pushkin studies. Although it is a universal area where every word is researched, this field is now developing in the context of big data analysis and intercultural dialogue. Thank you for the joy of communication!"

Participants also thanked the organisers and their academic supervisors. The official certificate-giving ceremony concluded the closure of the programme.

InteRussia is a traditional fellowship programme for foreign specialists. It grants young professionals from all over the world the opportunity to improve their skills and exchange experiences with colleagues from other countries.