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International Regional Studies: Russia’s Big Hunt for Global Markets

International Regional Studies: Russia’s Big Hunt for Global Markets

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The Second International Conference ‘East and West in the New Transformation Phase: Asia Encountering the Challenges Of Deglobalization’ will be held from December 16-17, 2020. According to Vera Vishnyakova, Head of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs School of International Regional Studies, it will be the first event to discuss the most pressing questions in contemporary international regional studies.

When its aims and tasks are clearly formulated in line with today’s challenges, the field of international regional studies can be an important tool in implementing Russia’s plans to enter global markets with its products and services. The field is aimed at promoting Russia’s national interests globally, reinforcing Russia’s position on international markets, and getting political support in potential partner countries, as well as attracting foreign investment and innovation technology for the development of Russian industries.

Vera Vishnyakova

As an area of higher education, international regional studies aims to prepare professionals in regional studies with special competencies in political, economic, and cultural marketing. Such specialists are essential for Russia’s participation in the tough competition for countries as market outlets, where regional studies professionals from the US and EU traditionally promote their respective countries’ policies.

In applied research, international regional studies must focus on studying the potential capabilities of global markets, countries, and regions of the world, so that qualified regional specialists can develop analytical recommendations for governments and big businesses regarding prospective industry niches for the Russian economy and Russian policy.

The demand for professionals in regional studies has evolved in Russia in many areas: education, research, public administration, international trade, and international investment

However, universities’ ambiguous understanding of employers’ demands, together with an inability to clearly define the professional skills and career prospects students of international regional studies gain, hamper its popularity among prospective students. The traits that differentiate professionals in regional studies from those in international studies, politics, and Asian studies, are blurred.

This problem is worsened by the fact that different universities offer different sets of courses in ‘International Regional Studies’ and prepare graduates who are in fact specialists in philology, culture, and even international relations, but do not have the relevant competencies in foreign trade, market competition, and promoting their country’s interests. This undermines the idea of the profession and does not increase interest in it among both university applicants and employers.

If the field’s specific topics of inquiry and programme aims and tasks are clearly defined, the number of employers willing to hire such professionals, as well as the number of prospective students interested in becoming regional specialists and promoting their country’s interests will grow.

If international regional studies is understood as a field that seeks to identify economic, cultural and political potential in addition to the prospects and risks of specific countries and regions in order to promote the national political and economic interests in these regions, it will undoubtedly be both transparent and appealing to Russian employers, prospective students, as well as university teachers and students,.

Certainly, we should agree that the basics of international regional studies include knowledge in language, culture, interethnic and interreligious dialogue, geography, and socio-economic and political structures of countries and regions.

That’s why the key task for international regional studies at Russian universities should be developing methods to promote Russia as a brand. The key task in teaching should be creating methods to teach professionals relevant for today’s markets.

A professional in international regional studies should have the skills to solve practical tasks in the following fields:

Economics:

  • Developing bilateral economic integration with existing partners;
  • Using international aid (humanitarian and economic), as a tool to establish trust-based cooperation for further promotion of Russia’s economic interests;
  • Studying the specifics of regional markets and looking for new partners; increasing Russia’s export capabilities, including non-oil and gas areas, innovation, agriculture, wood processing and other industries, particularly, deep conversion products.

Politics:

  • Studying countries and regions in order to define and attract the most prospective partners for bilateral cooperation and Russia’s promotion as a global player in regional and global political tasks;
  • Using the capabilities of the existing regional political associations and international organizations, such as BRICS, ASEAN, SCO, and EAEU, in order to implement Russia’s foreign policy tasks and promote the creation of new international organizations that pursue its interests.

Culture:

  • Studying historical, linguistic, and cultural specifics of countries and regions, in order to establish close ties with non-governmental, public, and cultural organizations and associations, as well as business unions and associations; develop methods to expand cultural, humanitarian and educational cooperation;
  • Developing the channels to attract more international students for studying in Russia, in order to increase Russia’s visibility abroad.

Professionals in regional studies, who know the relevant tools and are focused on solving specific applied tasks, will become a cornerstone in governmental international departments, big corporations, and trade representative offices, in order to promote Russia’s foreign policy and foreign trade strategies.

The School of International Regional Studies at the HSE Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs is ready to solve all these tasks. The suggested concept and the sets of competencies will be different from what is offered at other Russian universities

Highly qualified research teams taught at HSE University will have specialized knowledge in international regional studies and will be effective in executing orders by public and private organizations.

Russia has already embarked on a path to expand its influence in the global politics and promote its national interests and professional presence at international markets. Professionals in regional studies who get training with the use of new advanced methods will be effective managers and researchers for these processes and will be able to compete with their counterparts both from the West and the East.

International regional studies as a research area, in its contemporary understanding, will help Russia realize its foreign policy ambitions and become an equal partner in the big international market game.

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