‘Our Interest Is More than just Economics’
On September 29th the first lecture in the cycle of meetings of top-managers of the largest in Europe gas company E.ON Ruhrgas AG with the university students took place at the HSE. Steffen Bruendel, Head of Cultural and Academic Affairs at the E.ON Ruhrgas Corporate Office, and Hans-Peter Floren, Member of the Board of Management, E.ON Ruhrgas AG, told us about this lecture course.
— Mr. Bruendel, you were in charge of organizing this lecture course. Where did the idea come from?
— The initial impetus for the idea was the current German-Russian year of science, innovation and research which was launched in May this year by the Russian and German ministries of science. But the idea was really formed earlier last year because E.ON Ruhrgas has a long tradition of combining the energy business with certain cultural and educational projects. We want to demonstrate that our interest is more than just economics. And therefore we were looking at what would be a good project and what could be a good partner for us. And then last year we visited the Higher School of Economics, spoke to Prof. Sergey Karaganov, Dean of the HSE Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, and we developed some ideas. And one of them was a series of lectures delivered by senior executives of E.ON Ruhrgas. We started it this year when we confirmed that the management of our company were interested in doing it.
— How many lectures will there be in the series and what will they cover?
Five or six senior managers will be here every two weeks. Their lectures will cover certain subjects, such as the energy business, intercultural cooperation, funding, project management and cultural policy as well as gas technology. This is a pilot project, and once it starts, we will be looking to see what we can improve for next time.
— Will this cooperation be related to any opportunities for the students in terms of internships, vocational training or employment?
— That’s a good question. There may be opportunities to do internships depending on the focus of the student and where he or she wants to go. For example, in my department we currently have students of Russian origin or from Russia who are studying in Germany and are doing internships. So, for those who are interested in cultural politics or international relations there may be opportunities in my department, and those who are interested in the energy business may be welcome at the respective departments of my colleagues. There are also certain career opportunities available. E.ON Ruhrgas is active in Russia, and in Germany we have some colleagues of Russian origin. For example, Olga Semedelikina, who will give a lecture on intercultural communication, is Russian and has been working in Germany for our company for a long time.
— The first lecture took place today. What are your impressions of the Higher School of Economics?
— The Higher School of Economics was presented to me by German colleagues, German foundations who are doing projects with the HSE. They said: if you are looking for a good university, go for the HSE. We have a good impression, and our meetings with Prof. Karaganov and other professors were very constructive and I am very happy that today’s event has worked out.
— Will the students receive any certificates after the completion of this course?
Yes, we have agreed with the university that there will be a certificate signed by the university and E.ON Ruhrgas so that the students have something which shows that they have participated in these lectures. And we were told by Prof. Kratko that nearly 70 students have already applied for this certificate.
Commentary by Hans-Peter Floren, Member of the Board of Management, E.ON Ruhrgas AG:
— Today I gave the first lecture in a series of meetings between top-managers of E.ON Ruhrgas AG, the largest gas company in Europe, with students from the HSE. I enjoyed the lecture very much, I was really impressed by the students’ preparation and the quality of the questions they asked. There’s genuine interest and knowledge behind this. I very much enjoyed the way they acted, communicated and responded to the lecture.
Commentary by Irina Kratko, Head of the Master’s Programme in International Business at the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs:
— E.ON Ruhrgas is part of the E.ON AG Group and is responsible for the Group’s gas business in Europe, including production, sales, transportation and storage of natural gas. In cooperation with Gazprom, E.ON AG participates in the development of the Yuzhno Russkiy oil and gas field, as well as in the construction of the Severniy Potok pipeline.
In addition to the lecture by Hans-Peter Floren, as part of the cycle the following presentations have also been planned:
- Uwe Fip, Senior Vice President, Gas Supply East: Terms of long-term natural gas contracts for Europe
- Reiner Hartmann, Head of E.ON Ruhrgas Representative Office Moscow: Development and Status of EU-Russian Energy relations
- Peter Reichetseder, Chief Operations Officer E. ON Ruhrgas E & P: Yuzhnoe Russkoe - a German-Russian joint venture
- Olga Semidelikhina, Head of Cooperation on Further Education: Intercultural relations in the energy sector: a practical workshop based on 20 years experience
- Steffen Bruendel, Vice President, Cultural and Academic Affairs: Corporate Responsibility and Cultural Sponsoring in the Energy Sector - Project Management, Fundraising and Public Private Partnerships
- Gerald Linke, Senior Vice President, Research & Development: Energy Efficiency in the Russian-German Modernisation Partnership - political, social, economic and technical achievements
Maria Pustovoyt, specially for the HSE New Service
Photos by Ekaterina Volkova
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