The 4th Forum of Russian and Ibero-American University Rectors and Presidents was successfully held in Spain in the period of October 16-18, 2019. Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic University delegation including SPbPU Vice Rector for International Relations Dmitry ARSENIEV attended the event. The Forum was held at the University of Seville. The Forum was attended by 24 Russian and 43 Spanish universities, as well as certain universities of Portugal, Andorra, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, Honduras, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Morocco, Peru and Chile. The Russian delegation was headed by the President of the Russian Union of Rectors, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Rector of Lomonosov Moscow State University Victor A. SADOVNICHY.
The Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation Mikhail M. KOTYKOV greeted the participants of the Forum. In his welcome speech he, in particular, noted that the Forum has become "a traditional one and an authoritative platform for sharing views on the development of cooperation in the field of education." The Minister underlined that the participants of the meeting will be able to discuss conceptual approaches to the new architecture of higher education and develop practical recommendations for further improvement of modern educational technologies.
During the two days the participants discussed topical issues related to the development of both modern education and research. The reports highlighted the special role of universities in harmonizing the global scientific, educational, technological and humanitarian fields in an era of great challenges. Welcoming the participants of the Forum, the Rector of Lomonosov Moscow State University reminded that the first meeting in such a format took place in March 2009 in Madrid. The first Forum was attended by the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev and the king of Spain Juan Carlos I. The Second forum was held within the framework of the "Cross year Russia – Spain" in Moscow in 2011. Then after a seven-year break the 3rd Forum was held a year ago again in Moscow. However, despite this long break academic and research cooperation, as well as academic mobility between the universities of Russia and Ibero-America had been successfully developing. The speakers considered Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University and its Ibero-American partners to be one of such vivid example.
The opening of the Forum was held with participation of the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Spain Yury Korchagin and President of the Conference of the Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE), Rector of the University of Cordoba José Carlos Gómez Villamandos and the Director of the Ministry of Higher Education of Cuba Ondina León Díaz. Within the framework of the ceremonies the following agreements were signed: an agreement on academic and research cooperation between SPbPU and the University of Malaga, and an agreement between SPbPU and the University of Seville on student exchange, as well as the agreement on the functioning of SPbPU Information Center in Madrid in the premises of the strategic partner of the Polytech – Technical University of Madrid.
On behalf of our University the agreements were signed by Vice Rector for International Relations Dmitry Arseniev. The purpose of these agreements is to support and promote internationalization of higher education in both countries, strengthening mutual understanding and relations between Russia and Spain in the field of higher education and research.
On the second day of the Forum working meetings with possible future partners of our University were organized. SPbPU representatives met with the Nebrija University, the University of Huelva, the University of Valladolid and some other Ibero-American universities, as well as with SPbPU long-standing partners – the University of Granada and the Madrid Polytechnic University.
In his speech, the Attache for Education of Spain in the Russian Federation, Senhor Jose Aurelio Lanez underlined the high role of SPbPU in terms of developing relations with the Ibero-American region and especially with Spanish universities. For more than 25 years SPbPU has been implementing an active policy in this direction, starting with the University of Granada. The first agreement was signed back in 1993 and in 2017 of a unique Information center of SPbPU in Madrid was established. In General, SPbPU cooperates within the framework of 40 existing agreements with 17 universities in Spain and Portugal and with 16 universities in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Over the years, hundreds of our students have visited this hospitable country and Spanish and Latin American students have studied at our University in different programmes. It has become a tradition to hold Language and Culture Weeks together with our Spanish partners every year: the festival "Open your heart to Russia" in Spain, "The 1st Russian-Spanish Week of Language and Culture" in SPbPU. Many Spanish and Portuguese students take an active part in Summer schools.