Note importance of efforts to promote bilateral cooperation on culture and humanitarian spheres between Russia and the PHL
(Eagle News) — The New Era University School of International Relations has officially opened the Russian Studies Center which is seen to further strengthen cultural and educational ties between the Philippines and Russia.
The Russian Studies Center aims to foster a better understanding of Russia from its geography and history to language and culture, science and technology and international relations.
Both Russian Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Marat Pavlov and Philippine Ambassador to Russia H.E. Carlos Sorreta welcomed and lauded the move of NEU to set up the center, saying that this would create stronger people-to-people ties between the two countries, as well as create and deepen interest in each other’s culture and history.
-Closer PHL-Russia ties on 45th year of diplomatic relations-
Ambassador Pavlov said that the opening of the NEU Russian Studies Center was important, especially as Russia and the Philippines have just celebrated its 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations last May.
It was also at this important juncture, at the time of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, that there is a renewed and envigorated friendship leading to closer ties between the two countries.
The Russian ambassador noted that before this, there were few Filipinos who studied the Russian language, Russian culture and history.
“But it’s pleasant to know that the situation is changing now. And we are witnessing that there is a tendency to institutionalize not only the study the Russian language but Russia itself with its rich culture and history,” Ambassador Pavlov said during the online ceremony on the launching of the NEU Russian Studies Center on June 4.
He said that it is “critically important to strengthen efforts to promote bilateral cooperation in cultural and humanitarian spheres.”
NEU Russian Studies Center will open new pathways for stronger cultural relations between Russia and the Philippines. It was also timely as the launch of the Russian Language studies center was close to the June 6 birth anniversary of Alexander Pushkin, considered as Russia’s greatest poet and one of the pillars of Russian culture, Ambassador Pavlov explained.
“We believe that the opening of Russian Studies Center under the New Era University will be demanded among the Filipino students and will contribute to their professional growth as unique specialists with knowledge of Russian and of Russia,” he said.
The ambassador also observed that there is a lack of specialists regarding Russia in the Philippines, including those who know the Russian language in the country.
“We hope that the center will become a hub generating knowledge of Russian, and offer a wide range of courses, apart from the language such as history, politics, literature, music, humanitarian areas which promote better understanding of our country,” he said.
Ambassador Pavlov added that the Russian embassy will be supportive of the Russian Studies Center, provide relevant materials and “help to establish contacts with other educational institutions of Russia.”
-Closing the ‘strategic gap’ between PHL and Russia-
Meanwhile, Philippine envoy to Russia, Ambassador Sorreta, noted how the establishment of the NEU Russian Language Center came at a time that the Philippine government has “decided to close the strategic gap” with Russia.
He said that “for far too long and for various reasons, not too much attention was given to the potential of relations with the Russian Federation — a global political, military, economic and technological power.”
“This has created a major gap in our foreign policy,” observed Ambassador Sorreta, speaking from Moscow.
“The establishment of the Russian Studies Center, under the School of International Relations of the New Era University comes at a time when the Philippine Government has decided to close this strategic gap and broaden the frontiers of our foreign policy,” he said during the June 4 launching ceremonies of the center.
Ambassador Sorreta said that “the Russian Studies Center is critical because for this decision, there is a need for a very nuanced approach to our foreign policy.”
“We need to strengthen our new friendships while maintaining our traditional alliances,” he said.
The Philippine envoy to Russia noted that without this ability, crucial opportunities will be missed, and it will be difficult to pursue our foreign policy interetsts’
“Doing this is no easy task for building this relation burdened by history and politics. The Russian Studies Center is well placed to help the Republic in achieving this task,” he said.
“As part of the New Era University, an institution with a global view, world-wide reach, and a profound pioneering spirit, the Russian Studies Center will play an important part in creating a better understanding of Russia, its people and its politics, its history, its culture, and its place in our world. It is in this context that I would like to offer my hearty congratulations for the launching of the website of the Russian Studies Center,” he said.
Ambassador Sorreta also commended the leadership of NEU for making the “bold step in establishing the Russian Studies Center” especially noting the partnership between the NEU and the MGIMO, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations — which is widely considered as the most elite university in Russia
The Philippine envoy is also one of the members of Russian Studies Center’s Board of Advisors. The other two advisers, who were also present in the official online launching ceremonies were Dr. Viktor Sumsky, Senior expert at MGIMO’s ASEAN Centre and Dr. Ekaterina Koldunova, Acting Director of MGIMO’s ASEAN Center.
Both Dr. Sumsky and Dr. Koldunova had always been in cooperation not just with New Era University but also with Eagle Broadcasting Corporation as both of them were constant resource persons for Net 25’s ASEAN in Focus.
Dr. Koldunova lauded the NEU’s initiative to establish the Russian Studies Center.
“Only learning more about each other can give us a better image of our relations in the future, including those of mutually beneficial projects, cultural, scientific and technological interconnections and the areas of economic complementarity,” she said.
“Launching the Russian Studies Center under the School of International Relations at the New Era University marks an important step in this direction. The enthusiasm of its founders, their genuine wish to ‘open’ to its potential learners a true Russia – the biggest (and probably the most diverse) country in the world – is remarkable,” Dr. Koldunova noted.
In May 2018, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the New Era University and Russia’s MGIMO or the Moscow State University of International Relations, one of the top universities in Russia, for academic collaboration.
The MOU also aims to “enrich the intellectual environment of both institutions.”
According to NEU School of International Relations dean, Dr. Carlos Tabunda Jr., the Russian Studies Center at the NEU will further institutionalize what they have started three years ago with the MOU signing with MGIMO, as well as “further cement people to people relations between the two countries.”
The goal of the NEU Russian Studies Center is to “foster understanding of Russian geography and history, language and culture, science and technology, and international relations through lectures, visualization, interactive and participative learning, and an interdisciplinary approach to teaching,” according to its website.
Dr. Koldunova said that with the establishment of the Center and its programs, those in the Philippines “will now have a chance to open a window to a country, which will not fall short of astonishing discoveries to inquisitive minds ready to break stereotypes and unveil a whole new world of Russian history, language, culture, business and science.”
(Editor’s note: You can also check this link to the website of the NEU Russian Studies Center for more details: http://russianstudies.neu.edu.ph/)
(Eagle News Service)