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HSE University and ICCA RAS Launch Russia’s First Intensive Student Workshop on Collaboration with China

HSE University and ICCA RAS Launch Russia’s First Intensive Student Workshop on Collaboration with China

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In late April, the official opening ceremony of Russia’s first intensive student workshop ‘Chinese Perspective’, organised jointly by the HSE University Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs (WEIA), the Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, and the Institute of China and Contemporary Asia of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ICCA RAS), took place. The intensive course will allow students to explore Chinese business culture and acquire the skills to work and do business in China.

At the opening ceremony, the participants were greeted with a welcome speech by WEIA Academic Supervisor Sergey Karaganov, WEIA Dean Anastasia Likhacheva, ICCA RAS Director Kirill Babaev, Liu Xuesong, Minister Plenipotentiary and Head of the Office for Economic and Commercial Affairs of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China to the Russian Federation, and Zhou Liqun, President of the Union of Chinese Entrepreneurs in Russia.

Sergey Karaganov 

WEIA Academic Supervisor Sergey Karaganov noted that 15 years ago, Russia began its turn to the East. Over the years, it has come a long way in its relations with China. At the same time, he believes that China and other Asian countries should not only be known, but also understood. There is currently not enough of this understanding, and therefore a workshop is needed. Asian studies, in his opinion, should become a widespread profession in Russia.

Minister Plenipotentiary of the Chinese Embassy in the Russian Federation Liu Xuesong expressed his gratitude to HSE University for organising the course. ‘This is my first visit to HSE University, although I first heard about this educational institution long ago. The university is in demand among Chinese students,’ Liu Xuesong said. The Minister Plenipotentiary expressed confidence that the intensive workshop will give impetus to bilateral relations. He reminded the audience that the 20th Congress of the CPC, held in October 2022, adopted a plan for the strategic development of the People’s Republic of China, which, among other things, provides for the expansion of Russian-Chinese relations. Chinese President Xi Jinping told the Congress that China would focus on developing and strengthening the domestic market. Beijing plans to actively innovate, increase the export of high-quality products, develop next-generation information technologies (including artificial intelligence and alternative energy sources), and introduce environmental protection practices. This creates space for cooperation with all of the world’s countries, especially Russia.  

According to Liu Xuesong, Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Russia was of global importance. The heads of state signed a number of documents on expanding economic cooperation. The Minister Plenipotentiary also reported that bilateral trade increased by 29% in 2022 compared to 2021,  reaching a historical high of more than USD 190 billion, and that in the first quarter of this year, the volume of trade increased by another 7.8% and amounted to USD 54 billion. Cooperation continues to expand: Chinese consumer goods are in demand among Russians, Russian banks are increasing operations in Chinese yuan, collaboration is growing in the fields of logistics, green economy and ecology, and the level of interregional cooperation is increasing as well.

Liu Xuesong emphasised the growing interest in the Chinese language in Russia. ‘I hope that students will become the driving force that accelerates Russian-Chinese cooperation. The Embassy will help strengthen bilateral cooperation, and together we will contribute to new chapters in Russian-Chinese relations. I wish you good luck with your project,’ the Minister Plenipotentiary concluded.

Head of ICCA RAS Kirill Babaev explained that the workshop would open up great opportunities to participate in a tectonic shift taking place in the world. Kirill Babaev believes that the participants of the workshop should focus on three components: study of the Chinese economy, understanding of its business culture, and knowledge of the Chinese language. The Chinese economy, according to the ICCA RAS Director, is the future of the world economy, and understanding its development trends will make it possible to predict the development vector of the whole world.

Kirill Babaev

Business culture is important for practical interaction, and currently, a lack of understanding in this regard presents difficulties for Russian entrepreneurs who want to work in China. ‘If you can understand the business culture of China, you will be able to advise the largest public and private corporations, successfully build your business, and enjoy the broadest emerging prospects,’ said Kirill Babaev. Finally, without a knowledge of the Chinese language, the researcher believes, it is impossible to understand Chinese civilisation and culture, and to get a true idea of ​​modern China.

Zhou Liqun 

President of the Union of Chinese Entrepreneurs in Russia Zhou Liqun stressed that Russian-Chinese relations are now developing rapidly, and trade between the countries has experienced a multifold increase in recent years. He noted that the rapid growth of trade and economic cooperation has caused a shortage of personnel, and often the implementation of projects that can bring mutual benefit is curbed by a lack of specialists. ‘I hope that ‘Chinese Perspective’ will bring us a large number of professionals to develop cooperation,’ Zhou Liqun said. He further elaborated, ‘Russia and China have a great future. There is a lot of work and collaborations ahead—we believe in you.’

Anastasia Likhacheva 

WEIA Dean Anastasia Likhacheva closed the official opening ceremony and stated that the programme evoked a lively response from students; in just ten days, the competition amounted to three people per place. Bachelor’s and master’s students who want not only to study China and the Chinese language, but also to establish collaboration with Chinese partners, will learn from experts with extensive practical experience. The project aims to ensure that its participants begin to understand China and take their first steps with a good safety net. Anastasia Likhacheva stressed that the workshop would be the beginning of a long journey to discover China, because ‘a journey of a thousand li begins with a single step.’

The practicum opened with an introductory lecture, ‘Great China and the Chinese Perspective’, delivered by Vasily Kashin, Director of the Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies at HSE University.

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