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  • The Initial Results Are in for the Rediscovering Russia Student Expedition to the North Caucasus

The Initial Results Are in for the Rediscovering Russia Student Expedition to the North Caucasus

The Initial Results Are in for the Rediscovering Russia Student Expedition to the North Caucasus

Photo: The organising committee of the Rediscovering Russia project

KAVKAZ.RF summed up the initial results of the Rediscovering Russia student expeditions to the North Caucasus that were organised by HSE University and the Russia is the Land of Opportunities non-profit organisation. Drawing on the results of three expeditions, students prepared video depictions of six North Caucasus republics, developed a branding concept for Dagestani carpets, and drew up a new tour route through North Ossetia-Alania.

The Rediscovering Russia expeditions across the North Caucasus kicked off from Chechnya on October 20, with 28 students from 15 Russian universities studying the republics of the region. Staff from key universities of the North Caucasus Federal District (NCFD) supervised the young researchers in the field.

The first group of students visited six NCFD republics. They studied the national culture and history and learned about the local traditions and way of life. Drawing on that experience, they made six full-fledged videos strongly promoting tourism to the republics. Their videos will appear on the official KAVKAZ.RF Telegam channel.

The second group visited seven villages in the Republic of Dagestan—traditional centres of handmade and factory-produced carpet weaving—and studied the technology and history of the ancient Dagestani craft. The students considered the challenges faced by today’s carpetmakers, the market potential of the niche, and proposed ideas for popularising the craft, including among tourists. The result of their work was a programme for developing the Dagestani carpets brand and a Carpet Tour with visits to manufacturing sites, exhibitions, and workshops and including elements of ethno- and culinery tourism. A local tour operator is preparing to launch the route in 2023. And thanks to the students’ proposals and the support of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Promysly.rf portal announced that it would place products from Dagestani carpet factories on its resource.

The third group of students went to North Ossetia. They worked up a concept for a five-point regional tourism route and proposed various navigation options and the creation of tourism information centres. The expedition members also proposed holding a regional competition for the best branding of the republic and developed initiatives to finance the glacier monitoring system and to integrate the route-planning service for North Ossetia into the Yandex ecosystem.

Dmitry Zemtsov

‘For us, this is an example of a successful experience of interaction with the federal institution for development and regional partners to solve a set of problems simultaneously in all the republics of the North Caucasus with the help of students,’ said Dmitry Zemtsov, Vice Rector of HSE University and Chairman of the Board of the Rediscovering Russia Interuniversity Platform. ‘Thanks to cooperation with KAVKAZ.RF, we were convinced of the effectiveness of the expedition format for solving both strategic and applied problems of the regions in the field of culture, tourism, entrepreneurship and many others.’

Andrey Tsemakhovich, First Deputy General Director of KAVKAZ.RF, expressed his gratitude to federal and regional partners for supporting the project.

Andrey Tsemakhovich

‘We are very pleased that we saw a serious interest in the project on the part of students—more than 1,000 coming from 66 regions applied. I believe that the main goal of the expeditions—to involve young researchers in solving specific problems of economic development, to give them the opportunity to apply their efforts and see the results of their work—has been fully accomplished. Their proposals turned out to be detailed, interesting, and as reality-based as possible. Therefore, it is not surprising that the regions immediately adopted some of them.’

Andrey Tsemakhovich noted that the first, trial tour of the carpet route would be launched this year. ‘These are only the initial results of the expeditions because the projects are designed to be implemented over the long term; in time, we will see concrete results,’ he stressed.

Alexey Agafonov

‘I am very glad that the list of project partners is expanding, that more and more universities and organisations are joining,’ commented Alexey Agafonov, First Deputy General Director of the non-profit organisation Russia is a Land of Opportunities. ‘The work carried out by the students will help to maintain and develop a positive image of the republics of the North Caucasian Federal District in the eyes of tourists, as well as tell about the unique traditions and places of the North Caucasus. The participants of the expeditions were able to show that even in a short time it is possible to create materials of a high level and skill.’

Rediscovering Russia is a national interuniversity professional competition for student expeditions. Students of the best universities participate in socially significant projects that change life in the regions for the better. The programme is run by HSE University and the presidential platform Russia is the Land of Opportunities. The More than a Journey programme and Boiling Points network act as partners to the project. The Rediscovering Russia project gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their professional abilities and join an expedition to work on practical tasks for the development of Russian regions—and regional teams gain the support of the country’s best young specialists. HSE University has run the Rediscovering Russia project since 2017, sending out more than 300 expeditions involving more than 3,500 students and teachers. In 2022, the project will reach a new, interuniversity level, with plans to conduct 50 expeditions.

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