‘International Cooperation Is a Two-way Road That Leads to the Development of Society’
The annual meeting of the HSE International Advisory Committee will be held December 12-13 in Moscow. In the run-up to the event, HSE News Service has talked to two new members of the committee, Marcelo Knobel, Rector of University of Campinas (Brasil), and Francisco Marmolejo, the World Bank’s Lead Tertiary Education Specialist.
Professor Knobel holds a BA in Physics and PhD in Sciences from the University of Campinas (Unicamp). He did post-doctoral research in Madrid and Turin. During 10 years, Professor Knobel headed the Materials and Low Temperatures Laboratory. From 2009 to 2013 he was the Vice President for Undergraduate Programmes of Unicamp. In April 2017, Professor Knobel became the Rector of the University of Campinas and also Full Professor at the Gleb Wataghin Physics Institute. He is also a member of National Assessment of Higher Education Comission (Brasil).
In the early 1990s, Francisco Marmolejo was developing academic programmes at Mexican universities. He is the founder and the first Executive Director of CONAHEC, a network of more than 160 colleges and universities from Canada, the US, and Mexico. Marmolejo has consulted for universities and governments in different parts of the world, and has been part of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and World Bank international peer review teams of experts conducting evaluations of higher education in Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. He is currently the World Bank’s Lead Tertiary Education Specialist and Coordinator of its Network of Higher Education Specialists.
— What is the role of external consultants in the development of universities?
Marcelo Knobel: The role of external consultants is to help universities fulfill their missions in a more effective and efficient manner. They do so by making constructive criticisms about the universities' structure and functioning, as well as by advising them on the adoption of better practices and bringing in new ideas from the outside world. This external view is crucial for the development of universities, as it allows them to see their own processes, programs and projects from a different perspective.
Francisco Marmolejo: A good university is able to properly combine the talent of its faculty and administrators, with the perspectives provided by those who have developed specialized expertise in institutions abroad. External consultants can help the university to more comprehensively understand of issues, challenges and opportunities confronted by the institution, by providing a fresh and neutral point of view that can be valuable in the institutional decision-making processes.
— What are your reasons for joining the committee?
Marcelo Knobel: HSE is already a leading university in Russia, and I am honored that I've been offered the opportunity to contribute to its further development. I believe I can offer a new view to HSE based on my background in physics and in science popularization as well. At the same time, I am certain that I will be able to offer new ideas to my own university based on what I will learn from HSE. This is how international collaborations work. It is two-way road that always leads to the development of society.
Francisco Marmolejo: My connection with HSE is not new. I have been privileged to learn for a while about the unique mission, dedicated leadership and important role that HSE has in the landscape of higher education in Russia. In recent years I have participated in the meetings of the International Advisory Committee as guest observer on behalf of the World Bank. This participation has helped me to gain deeper knowledge about the institution, and, consequently, to gain greater appreciation for its work. At the same time, participating at IAC-HSE is a very stimulating intellectual exercise because it provides a great opportunity to interact with renowned scholars which are members of IAC. Due to this reason, when I was invited to serve as member of IAC, I didn’t hesitate to accept.
— How do you evaluate HSE's academic reputation and the challenges the university faces?
Marcelo Knobel: HSE has a very good reputation, most notably in some specific areas. As far as I know, the university is undergoing important transformation and growth. The main challenge during this process is to maintain quality and innovation in all areas of knowledge, making it possible for HSE to keep competing on a global scale.
Francisco Marmolejo: There is no doubt that in the international scene, HSE has gained a well-deserved reputation as one of the most important higher education institutions in Russia, and indeed nowadays it is an obliged Russian reference at the global scale on a variety of academic fields and topics. This is a significant achievement that it has taken years, strategy, patience, dedication and resources to be gained. A significant challenge ahead is how to sustain and accelerate such pace of planned change, and how to make sure that it is beneficial to all students by making sure that they receive a relevant and cutting-edge education.
— Could you, please, share your experience of working with students and their involvement in university management? What kind of cooperation with student councils seems to be the most productive to you?
Marcelo Knobel: The relationship between universities and students is probably very different from one region of the world to another. Nevertheless, that doesn't change the fact that students are always the ones who bring new oxygen to universities. We must support their personal, academic and professional development as much as possible. At Unicamp, we do that by encouraging our students to participate in the political life of the university, get involved in major research projects, join junior companies, engage in outreach activities, present their artistic talents to the academic community, etc. We also offer several types of financial aid to those who come from lower social economic groups, even though Unicamp is a public university that doesn't charge any tuition. Our goal is not only to guarantee that every student will have the necessary conditions to complete his/her studies up to graduation, but also to offer all of them numerous and diverse opportunities to leave Unicamp as both well-educated professionals and engaged citizens.
On July 31, the II International Economics Olympiad (IEO) for high school students came to a close in Saint Petersburg. In the team competition, the Brazilian team won the gold medal, while teams from China won silver and bronze. One of Russian teams placed fifth.
The HSE University and Kyung Hee University double degree programme ‘Economics and Politics in Asia’ is currently enrolling students. Its academic supervisor, Denis Shcherbakov, spoke about the advantages of the programme, internships at Asian universities and companies, as well as the new focus on Southeast Asia.
On July 24, the second annual International Economics Olympiad (IEO) for high school students kicked off at HSE University in St. Petersburg. The competition is organized by HSE University with the support of Sberbank. Students from 24 countries will compete over the course of a week. The winners will be able to enroll in any HSE Economics programme in 2020 with a full tuition scholarship.
In June, faculty members from HSE’s School of Cultural Studies, the School of Philosophy, and the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities met with colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh (USA) and a Russian art historian to participate in a round table on the importance of gender studies in the humanities. The researchers discussed questions such as what historians, philosophers, and historians can achieve when approaching their fields of study from the standpoint of gender studies, and what the state of gender studies is in contemporary Russia and abroad.
Participants of Russian-Chinese Summer School on International Affairs Tackle Trade, International Institutions, and More
On Thursday, July 11, students and faculty of the International Russian-Chinese Summer School on International Affairs bid farewell with a festive awards ceremony and closing lecture by Professor Sergey Karaganov, Academic Supervisor and Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs.
One of the perks of studying at HSE University is its wide range of academic mobility programmes. Ksenia Semykina, a master’s student of Comparative Social Research, recently spent a semester at the Free University of Berlin with the support of an Erasmus+ scholarship. She shared some practical advice on how to live and study abroad with HSE News Service.
HSE University and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme signed an agreement to conduct joint research on urban development. HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov and UN Under-Secretary-General Maimunah Mohd Sharif, who heads the UN-Habitat programme, signed the letter of intent at the recent Moscow Urban Forum, which was held on July 4-7 at Moscow’s Zaryadye Park.
Students who have been accepted to the HSE bachelor’s programmes in ‘Law’ and ‘Private Law’ may simultaneously enroll in the second degree programme at the University of London to supplement their basic training. The second degree programme is also open to external students and working professionals.
On June 24 – 28, HSE University – St. Petersburg hosted the International University Startups & Spin-Offs Festival (HSE Fest), which brings together students from across the world to pitch their startups for a one-time chance to win grants that will help them take their projects to the next level.
The International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and its Consequences at HSE University held a Graduate Student Seminar in Soviet History together with Sciences Po (France) on June 17 – 18, 2019. HSE News Service spoke with participants and instructors of the seminar, which examinedthe impact of WWII on the Soviet Union and surrounding regions, as well as aspects of the Soviet system from Stalin up to the 1980s.