VI Forum of Rectors of Liberal Art Universities and Deans of Liberal Art Departments of Russia and France


Rectors, presidents and deans of universities of Russia and France discuss education in the digital age

On January 30, the VI Forum of Rectors of Liberal Art Universities and Deans of Liberal Art Departments of Russia and France began at RSUH with the support of the Trianon Dialogue. The topic was interaction of IT and humanities.

Rector Bezborodov said, in the welcoming speech, “It is important that this agenda, relevant for all the universities around the world, find a way to each undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate student as soon as possible, through educational strategies and academic policies. Both sides will benefit from this. RSUH has a long and fruitful history of cooperation with French universities. I am sure that today it will be recognized once again.”

President Efim Pivovar demonstrated a bilingual collection of materials of the first Forum, published at RSUH, which, at the initiative of RSUH, was held in Paris in 2009 at the Russian Center for Science and Culture. Since then, the Forum has been a permanent international platform for cooperation and exchange of views under the auspices of the Russian Union of Rectors and the Conference of Presidents of French Universities.

“It was at the first Forum that the process of mutual recognition of diplomas of Russia and France was initiated, and a few years later made official in the two countries,” said Dr. Pivovar. – At the moment we sought to show the role of humanities in the context of a totally technocratic trend in all areas of management. One of the most important elements in this process was the exchange and mutual development of French and Russian practices in the field of humanities and education, as well as the application of interdisciplinary approaches, especially at the cross-section of natural and liberal arts knowledge. In the era of the digital revolution, this task, set by us more than 10 years ago, is acquiring a very urgent significance. This Forum is attended by representatives of 25 universities of the Russian Federation, including most of the country’s leading universities. Its program also includes a speech by Dr. Falkov, until recently, Rector of the Tyumen State University, appointed Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation.»

The coordinator of the Trianon dialogue, Dr. Artyom Malgin, Vice-Rector for General Affairs at MGIMO, pointed out that this platform was being implemented on the basis of MGIMO, and spoke about his activities. “Every year a central topic is chosen. In 2018, it was urbanism and we discussed architecture, urban planning and urban ecology from the point of view of the development of social environment, the history of the city, its universities. The following year was the Year of Education and Science, and for those who believed in the Trianon dialogue, this turned out to be a good start in the development of Russian-French contacts. This year is the Year of Ecology and Climate. The dialogue received a digital platform, which presents the already implemented events and provides for submitting applications for financial support for new projects. We invite you to participate. ”

Welcome address letter were read to the members of the Coordinating Council and participants of the Forum. They were from Dr. Viktor Sadovnichy, President of the Russian Union of Rectors, Rector of Moscow State University, Dr. Mikhail Shvydkoy, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for International Cultural Cooperation, Dr. Vyacheslav Nikonov, Head of the State Duma Committee on Education and Science, Dr. Lyubov Dukhanina, Chairman of the Board of Znanie Society, and the Rossotrudnichestvo executive officers.

The Forum participants were welcomed by Dr. Jean-Luc Nahel, Adviser for the French Conference of University Presidents, and Dr. Fabrice Russeau, Adviser on Collaboration and Culture of the Embassy of France in Russia. The participants were read a welcome address from Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the French Republic.

The French colleagues represent the scientific and educational centers of Paris, Grenoble, Toulouse, Rennes and others.

The Forum will discuss the role of digital technologies in the humanities and modern education, the challenges that a classical university faces in the modern world, teaching this issue in higher and secondary education, and the employment of high school graduates.

Other topics were BIG DATA, that is, the ability to analyze huge amounts of data, which became possible with the advent of computer technology, art education, interdisciplinary research, artificial intelligence in digitalization, etc.

The first day was devoted to the development of liberal arts knowledge in the digital economy. It began with a report by Dr. Alexey Lubkov, Rector of Moscow State Pedagogical University, who showed how digital technologies affect a person’s identity, his relationship with self, with the moral absolutes and with society.

“Today, almost every pedagogical university in Russia has a structure that deals with digital education. Our Chinese partners have identified the main problem — the preservation of national and cultural identity. It turned out that more than 90% of Chinese students, despite digitalization, are glad that they are Chinese. And this topic should involve all of us. Digitalization is a consequence of globalization, it is an opportunity to join the global trends, including in education. The teacher today is becoming a central figure because they transfer values and meanings from one generation to another. And this identity-forming complexity in the era of digitalization and globalization poses different questions to cognitive science and liberal arts education in general. ”

The formation of a new educational environment on the example of Tomsk University was shown in its report by Dr. Rykun, Vice-Rector for International Relations of Tomsk State University.

Of particular interest was the report of Dr. Evgeny Kozhokin, Vice-Rector for Research at MGIMO: “BIG DATA and the Study of Political Identity in Russia”.

On behalf of RSUH, the forum was moderated by President of Pivovar, presentations were made Dr. Vladimir Kolotaev, Dean of the Faculty of Art History, Dr. Galina Volkova, Director of the Art Design Center, Dr. Elena Malysheva, Dean of the Faculty of Archival Affairs, Dr. Vera Zabotkina, Vice-Rector for International Cooperation. They shared their experience of using digital technologies in art education, working with large databases in history and archives, and spoke about interdisciplinarity in cognitive research.

Dr. Victor Finn, Head of the Department of Intelligent Systems in Humanities of RSUH, and Dr. Maria Mikheenkova, Director of the Center «Issues and Methods of Data Mining» touched on the problem of artificial intelligence and data mining in the information society.

The program of the second day includes the discussion of joint master’s degrees, student and teacher exchange, promotion of Russian and French and promises to be no less interesting.

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