A Department of Oriental and African Studies and the Centre of Oriental and African Studies are being created at the HSE in Saint Petersburg. It will start admissions to Bachelor’s level programmes in 2014. Both divisions will be headed by Professor, Dr. Evgeny Zelenev, expert on Arabic language and culture.
Academics at HSE St. Petersburg are convinced that oriental studies as a field of humanities is becoming more topical every day. The challenges facing all of us today are created and complicated by relations between contrasting ‘worlds’. Economic, ecological, and demographic problems overlap with tensions between the world of liberal values and the Muslim world and it is vitally important to establish a dialogue with different cultures with the ‘other’.
‘The movement towards humanitarian compromise is at the heart of oriental studies and researching the ‘East’,’ say the founders of the new departments in the HSE in Saint Petersburg. They are offering 20 government funded places to undergraduate students to begin a degree (classes will start this summer) and will work with schools in St Petersburg to encourage school leavers to enter the field. They plan to begin research work in three geographical modules: Middle Eastern, Turkic and Central Asian/Eastern Asian/African. The research programme will involve expeditions to the regions.
Oleg Seregin, the HSE News Service