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Cooperation with the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences

On March 13th, as part of the visit of a delegation from the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (France) (Ecole des autes études en sciences sociales, EHESS) to the HSE, a cooperation agreement was signed between the two universities.

The EHESS was founded in 1975 when the VI Section for social sciences was separated from the École pratique des hautes études (EPHE). The School is one of the most renowned and prestigious higher education institutions in France, particularly among the grandes écoles where the admission procedure is particularly competitive. Today the EHESS includes 47 research centers and offers education in human and social sciences in such disciplines as history, anthropology, sociology, economics, geography, linguistics, psychology, philology, demography, cognitive sciences, philosophy and mathematics. About 300 professors, 500 researchers and 450 engineers are employed by the university. Over 3000 master’s and postgraduate students study at the school. In addition to the Paris campus, the EHESS has three other research campuses: in Lyon, Marseilles and Toulouse.

The delegation from EHESS in Moscow was headed by François Weil, the School’s president and prominent expert in the history and historiography of the USA and North America. During the negotiations with the HSE, the EHESS was also represented by Pierre-Cyrille Hautcœur, Vice President and economist, Alain Blum, Director of the Center for Russian, Central European and Caucasian Studies and historians of Russia – Juliette Cadiot and Vladimir Berelovich.

The agreement between the HSE and the EHESS was prepared with the participation of Irina Maltseva, Director of the Center for cooperation with France, Canada and French-speaking countries of Europe, and Olga Moshkova, HSE Director for International Cooperation, and is aimed at formalizing the existing contacts between the two universities’ professors and researchers. ‘Our institutions have already been cooperating in terms of research’, François Weil said. ‘HSE lecturers have visited our school many times, and our professors have come to the HSE. On the basis of these contacts we shall build our future cooperation’.

On behalf of the HSE the cooperation agreement was signed by Alexander Shamrin, First Vice Rector of the HSE. ‘We also believe that we are starting a new stage of cooperation’, he said. ‘Signing an agreement is, to a certain extent, a formal step, but it also opens the way for specific interaction involving new projects in research and educational programmes’.

After the official signing of the document, the meeting participants went on to discuss such projects. Alexander Chepurenko, Dean of the HSE Faculty of Sociology, expressed his hope that the universities will be able to organize academic exchanges which will provide both Russian and French students with short-term as well as semester-long internships. He also invited his French colleagues to organize joint seminars. In addition to that, the participation of French experts, according to Alexander Chepurenko, would be useful for helping Russian students to adapt to the requirements set by French universities and research centers as well as improving their competitive ability on the international educational and research markets.

Alexander Kamensky, Dean of the HSE Faculty of History, said that the parties are planning to hold a joint conference in September. He also believes French colleagues will participate in the international conference on ‘The WWII, Nazi crimes and Holocaust in the USSR’ which will take place at the HSE in early December 2012. He also expects economic history to be a promising area for cooperation: according to Alexander Kamensky, Russia lacks experts in this area, and that’s why EHESS’s support will be especially valuable.

Anatoly Vishnevsky, Director of the HSE Institute of Demography, mentioned that they have already ‘established an informal cooperation network’ and said that he believes it is necessary to develop it, particularly by attracting highly-qualified ‘external’ experts and developing interdisciplinary studies.

Vladimir Avtonomov, Academic Supervisor of the Faculty of Economics reminded his colleagues about the rich history of the HSE’s cooperation with French universities (the first double-degree programmes, for example, were launched as far back as 16 years ago). Speaking about the current contacts with the EHESS, today a joint research project is being carried out by Mark Levin, tenured professor at the HSE, and Catherine Sofer, professor at the EHESS. ‘I believe this is just the beginning’, Vladimir Avtonomov added.

In addition to the areas listed above, the cooperation agreement between the HSE and the EHESS involves the organization of joint summer schools, preparation of joint academic publications, and in the future, specific agreements which will allow postgraduate students to work on their theses under joint academic supervision followed by viva voce processes in both partner universities.

Oleg Seregin, HSE News Service

Photos by Nikita Benzoruk

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