Project 5-100 Represents Russia at World’s Largest Education Expo NAFSAJune 3, 2015
The Russian delegation including representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, Project 5-100 Office and Project universities attended the expo and conference of the NAFSA Association, which was held on 24-29 May in Boston, USA. This forum annually attracts specialists from all over the world whose expertise revolves around the area of the internationalization of education. This year the expo and conference was attended by 11,000 specialists from more than 100 countries, respectively; they included: representatives of universities, professional associations, educational internet resourses, and consulting and recruitment agencies. This year the theme was “New horizons of international education” – and emphasized the key points that NAFSA’s mission is to develop international education, expand educational exchange opportunities and facilitate intercultural communication.
By taking part in the NAFSA expo and conference, Russian universities were striving to achieve some very ambitious goals: not only did they wish to make a dent in the international expert community as leaders of Russian university education, but they were also hoping to forge new partnerships and to strengthen existing cooperation ties. Project 5-100 boasted a very large pavilion where numerous presentations were on display and promising negotiations allowed to unfold.
The annual NAFSA event is traditionally used as a forum to expand the geography of cooperation. During the expo, Alexander Povalko (Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation) and representatives of Project 5-100 Office visited the expo booths of several countries. The Deputy Minister conducted negotiations with members of the following delegations: Australia, Argentina, Japan and Turkey and also with NAFSA management.
During the meeting between Russia and Australia, representatives of the two countries discussed their mutual interests: both nations are engaged in applied research in the field of mining, energy and agriculture, and this mutual endeavor can serve as a starting point for the expansion of academic cooperation. “We are willing to support joint research teams in these areas”, said Povalko. The Australian side expressed willingness to find a partner university with similar research priorities for each of the Project 5-100 universities.
Our Turkish counterparts, aware of the achievements of the Project, expressed their support for the ambitious goals of Russian universities that would result in their entering the ranks of the world’s elite. Turkey itself is making significant strides towards internationalizing its university education and is willing to share its emerging “know-how” with Russian partners. Dr. Ayşegül Daloğlu (Professor of Middle East Technical University) spoke in detail about one of the most important Turkish initiatives in the sphere of the internationalization of education – the Mevlana program for academic exchange.
The interaction between Russian and Turkish partners continued at the seminar dedicated to the cooperation between universities of the two countries. Dr. Mustafa Aydin (Chairman of the Higher Education Business Council of Turkey) outlined the priorities of the Turkish side and spoke about the main difficulties hindering the development of joint projects, including problems related to the mutual recognition of university degrees. During the seminar, Russian and Turkish universities were afforded the opportunity to introduce themselves directly and to meet partners interested in cooperation. It is planned that the next steps towards strengthening cooperation will be taken during the A2 international education expos in Shanghai and Ankara.
The Russian delegation and representatives of the Argentinian agency ExportAr (part of the Ministry of Foreign Trade of Argentina), the Argentinian Consulate in New York and rectors of the country’s leading universities met at the stand of Argentina. After Сristina Kirсhner’s (President of Argentina) visit to Russia, the Argentinian side sees the potential of joint research and academic exchange programs. The parties have agreed to organize a Russian-Argentinian seminar on international cooperation and a visit of a delegation of Argentinian universities to Russia.
A program similar to the Russian Project 5-100 is being implemented in Japan. “In order to obtain government financial aid, universities must constantly enhance their presence in the international arena”, said the representatives of Japanese higher education. There are several state university internationalization programs in the country, including the JAFSA Association. The Japanese side expressed interest in developing cooperation with Project 5-100 universities in the sphere of joint research projects and student and academic exchange programs.
The schedule of Project 5-100 Office leadership was extremely busy: The Russian delegation conducted negotiations with representatives of national and international university associations (including the Japanese organizations JAFSA and JASSO, the Korean KAFSA and the Brazilian FAUBAI) and the rating agencies THE and QS. Alexander Povalko thanked Project Office 5-100 for its efforts in making this visit to NAFSA as effective as possible.
In addition to working at the expo, employees of Russian universities participated in a workshop taught by Megan Brenn-White – Director of the consulting company Brenn-White Group. Experts in the field of communications and university employees studied the format of participation in international events: preparation for the event, information support, making presentations and communicating with visitors to their booths.
The conference and expo in Boston made it obvious that the international education community is interested in cooperation with leading Russian universities.