Minorities in Asia and Africa in Focus
HSE St Petersburg initiated and organised an international conference on Minorities and Conflicts: Asian and African States in the Modern World. Academics from Russia, South Korea, South Africa, Turkey and Armenia gathered for the event on 9th and 10th October.
The conference was organised by the Centre for Asian and African Studies and the Department of Asian and African studies at HSE St Petersburg.
Director of HSE St Petersburg, Sergey Kadochnikov opened the conference and Professor Sang Chul Park of the Korean Polytechnical University, who moderated the plenary session, gave a welcoming address.
The participants discussed approaches to studying racial, ethnic, religious and other minorities, the current situation these groups find themselves in Asian and African countries, their participation in politics and social and economic life and current racial, ethnic and religious conflicts they are involved in.
There were presentations on defending the rights of Shiite children in Bahrain, the deportation of Greeks from Istanbul in 1964 and on violence against women in Iraq. The participants discussed the results of research on probably the most serious issues in the Middle East today — the religious ideas and practices of Islamic State and the Arabic language as one of the instruments this terror organisation uses to mobilise support.
Evgeny Zelenev, Director of the Department of Asian and African Studies said it is essential the academic community focusses attention sharply on minorities in Asia and Africa.
‘Our practical aim is to bring together an international team to do further research in this area. It’s vital to bear in mind that minorities often form powerful social groups. And in many cases their political, economic, social and cultural self-determination turns passive political unions active. This process is often accompanied by problems and conflicts. These conflicts are particularly intense and have most significant consequences for the groups involved and the international community in the East which is why it is so important for us join forces today to examine and describe them.’
Alexander Poddiakov, Professor at HSE School of Psychology, Leonid Ionin, Professor at the Department of Theoretical Economics, Evgeny Zelenev, and Gerrit Olivier, Professor at the Department of Political Science (University of Pretoria) discussed the development of theoretical and practical approaches to the study of racial, ethnic, religious and other minorities, and conflicts in sociology, psychology, philosophy and political science during the plenary session ‘Minorities and Conflicts: Research Questions and Theoretical Approaches’.
During the session ‘Small Social Groups in Multicultural Societies’ the participants learned about the current status of minorities and their participation in the political and socio-economic life of several countries in the East – the Kurds in Turkey, the Zaidi in Yemen, the Yazidis in Iraq and Koreans in Japan.
Gerrit Olivier and his fellow professor from South Africa Deon Geldenhuys, gave papers on racial and ethnic discrimination after the end of Apartheid and about the possibility of creating cultural autonomy. Professor Sang Chul Park talked about Korean policies for attracting migrant workers. Professor Vahe Boyajian of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, presented the results of his field work on ethnic minorities in Iranian Balochistan.
The fourth HSE International Summer University has drawn to a close. The programme continues to grow and evolve. This year over 160 students from 46 universities came to HSE to take courses in International Relations & Politics, Computer Science, Russian Studies, Economics, Culture & History.
On July 17-28 an intensive course titled ‘In-transition lab: Structure as an Urban Catalyst’ by the Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism (Moscow) and the Architectural Association School of Architecture (London) was held at Moscow’s Shukhov lab.
On July 17-23 the Third Machine Learning summer school organized by Yandex School of Data Analysis, Laboratory of Methods for Big Data Analysis at the National Research University Higher School of Economics and Imperial College London was held in Reading, UK. 60 students, doctoral students and researchers from 18 countries and 47 universities took part in the event.
The Summer School ‘Law in Russia: National Aspects’ was held at HSE Nizhny Novgorod on July 17-28. Students from HSE Nizhny Novgorod and the Southwest University of Political Science and Law (Chongqing, China) took part in the event. For two weeks the international participants studied the basics of Russian language, law, and management.
In mid-June 2017, the town of Pushkin near St. Petersburg, Russia welcomed the Fifth International Summer School on Higher Education Research, a joint initiative between the HSE Institute of Education and Peking University’s China Institute for Educational Finance Research. This year, the Summer School focused on higher education and social inequality.
The HSE St Petersburg Buddy Club has officially become a section of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). The buddy club is a student organization and its main aim is helping international students adapt to their new lifestyle in Saint Petersburg and to their studies at the Higher School of Economics. Club members meet international students when they arrive, take them to the students' new home, explain how to use the underground, help buy a sim card, open a bank account and assist with other important tasks which students may find difficult to handle not knowing the Russian language. Additionally, the club also organizes educational and entertaining activities, trips to theatres, cultural events, Russian film evenings, etc.
Representatives of about 30 international universities have come to Moscow to take part in International Partner Week at HSE and discuss cooperation agreements, joint educational programmes, and research and student exchange programmes. On June 23, a partner university fair will be held for HSE students.
On June 19 the Higher School of Economics signed a cooperation agreement with Hitotsubashi University in Japan. The agreement covers mutual visits for lecturers and researchers, student exchange programmes, as well as joint research projects, academic events, and publications.
Students from HSE ISSEK, Stanford University, and Rice University have researched how Russia and the US cooperate in cybersecurity and explored the nuances present in the approaches that each country takes in this area, including different understandings of cybersecurity-related terms. The research was conducted in 2016-2017 as part of the Stanford US-Russia Forum (SURF), a programme dedicated to developing US-Russia cooperation. Over a period of 8 months, 30 American and Russian students and young professionals worked on their projects.
On May 10 – 19 students of HSE- Nizhny Novgorod and University of Utah Valley (USA) took part at the international school 'Democracy in the Contemporary World' held at Higher School of Economics – Nizhny Novgorod within the Master's Programme on Political Linguistics.