ASEF had a e-chat with Professor Alexander ARGUCHINTSEV, Rector, and Ms Yulia ELOKHINA, Head of the International Office, at Irkutsk State University, on their involvement in the 20th ASEF Summer University:
What can a city such as Irkutsk, in the heart of Siberia, showcase in Asia-Europe connectivity?
Throughout its history Siberia has played the role of the link between Asian and European territories and communities, with many Siberian cities functioning as multicultural centres welcoming people of different background, origin and welfare. For many centuries Irkutsk and some other Siberian cities have been open to newcomers that happened to come to Siberia due to a number of reasons. Nowadays its experience in non-conflictual coexistence seems to be a crucial element in shaping social integrity. In this sense Siberian cities and communities are a very interesting social and cultural phenomenon to explore.
The social history of Siberia and Irkutsk can be considered as a glaring example of a multicultural society formation. Irkutsk, located at the crossroads of large civilisations, has absorbed traits inherent both to European and Asian communities. These traits can be traced in the city’s architecture and the day-to-day life of its dwellers. In the framework of globalisation and increasing interdependence of people and nations, the experience in coexistence of various ethnic and cultural groups is of great importance. Therefore, Siberia as a whole and Irkutsk in particular can be regarded as a convenient place for the realisation of large-scaled international projects aimed at developing a new dialogue of cultures.
What does Irkutsk State University hope to gain from engaging in ASEFSU20?
Irkutsk State University is committed to supporting the so-called “multi-vector” approach while implementing its international projects. Being the regional centre for innovative development and progressive thinking is not possible without the participation in ambitious international projects as the ASEF Summer University aimed at promoting connectivity in education. We do hope that being a part of this prominent project and international team results in further internationalisation of ISU’s activities and the strengthening of ISU’s position as one of the leading regional universities in the Russian Federation. The ASEF Summer University will surely give ISU a new impulse for extending its partnership links and for developing new international contacts in the fields of education and science. It can also contribute to further internationalisation of ISU’s activities. Being a leader means playing an active part in large-scale projects that can overcome national and language barriers. ISU students and volunteers will gather great experience by joining the group of young professionals that is able to find new solutions to the most pressing problems.