On September 20, 2019, ITMO University held ITMO Partner Day, which brought together over 30 representatives of ITMO's international partner educational institutions. Attending the event were rectors and vice rectors, heads of international departments, coordinators of international programs, and professors of the universities from Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, the US, Australia and other countries. As part of the Partner Day, they attended several of ITMO's laboratories and were able to meet the university's students during the Study Abroad Fair 2019, an educational fair dedicated to international exchange opportunities.
ITMO Partner Days is an annual event traditionally held in April. Its main goal is to bring the university's international partners together to discuss joint projects and future collaborations. This year, though, a decision was reached to host an additional Partner Day in September. The event prefaces the 31st Annual Conference and Exhibition of European Association for International Education (EAIE), which this year will take place in Helsinki, Finland, on September 24-27.
As noted by Ekaterina Tulugurova, head of ITMO University's International Educational Programs Department, the geographical proximity of one of the biggest events in the field of international education provided a great opportunity to invite the representatives of international universities to St. Petersburg. Many of them have joined ITMO's partner network only recently. As part of ITMO Partner Day, they were able to personally meet the university's researchers and staff, as well as learn more about the opportunities and programs for collaboration ITMO University offers to its international partners.
"The first request from our partners always concerns the opportunity to see how the university works, what research it conducts and what programs it implements. Face-to-face communication is a very important aspect both for us and our international colleagues, which is why the event's program was built in such a way that, on the one hand, would allow us to cover these matters in the widest scope possible, and on another, to do in the fastest and most effective way to leave our guests some time for getting to know the city of St. Petersburg. What is more, the event's framework also provided the university representatives with the chance to meet ITMO's students. For the latter, this event offered a unique opportunity to talk to the representatives of international universities and get first-hand answers to their questions about pursuing studies in another country," comments Ekaterina Tulugurova.
She also adds that as of now, ITMO University has established partnerships with over 400 higher education institutions from all over the world, and events like this one is a rich source of opportunities for developing these collaborations in a wide range of fields, and also for increasing the interaction in the field of academic exchanges. Attending ITMO Partner Day on September 20 were university representatives from 13 countries, including Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, France, the US, Norway, the Czech Republic, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay and Australia.
The guests were greeted by ITMO's First Vice Rector Daria Kozlova. She spoke about the university's structure, mission, values, priority areas and development strategy, and presented a range of initiatives allowing to strengthen and expand the cooperation with its international partners all over the world. ITMO has 13 international research centers headed by internationally recognized scientists. The university also implements the Fellowship and Professorship Program, which aims to give researchers who already are or have the potential to become leaders in their chosen fields an opportunity to build an independent research career and cooperate with ITMO's laboratories.
As part of the event, the international partners also had the chance to explore the research conducted by the specialists of National Center for Cognitive Technologies, attend a tour of the university's cutting-edge laboratories, and also take part in the Study Abroad Fair 2019, an education fair dedicated to international academic exchange opportunities, where they could meet ITMO University students.
ITMO.NEWS talked to the international experts to get their take on promising cooperation areas, the development of Russian universities, and the main challenges faced by modern education.
Radina Trengereid, Advisor for Education, Research, and Technology of the Embassy of Norway in Russia:
"In the course of the three years I have been in Russia, I had the opportunity to meet the country's leading universities and research institutions. In my opinion, ITMO University has a special development strategy, which was noted by Daria Kozlova in her presentation. The university's progressive approach manifests itself both in the field of research and in regard to education, in the framework of which ITMO not only offers its students a solid theoretical training but also an opportunity to develop their talents in practice.
That is why, when I started to prepare for the visit of our delegation from the University of Bergen, one of Norway's largest universities, to Russia, ITMO University was the most obvious choice for me to include in our St. Petersburg itinerary. We are very pleased to be attending ITMO Partner Day, as it gives us an opportunity to communicate with our colleagues from many universities the world over, and also, of course, to meet with ITMO University's administration.
The University of Bergen implements a wide range of educational programs in a variety of fields, among which are technical, natural and humanities sciences. As far as I know, ITMO University runs successful collaborations with different research centers and universities, for example, those specializing in medicine. This gives me the reason to believe that we have a lot of opportunities for future cooperation.
If we were to talk about the development of Russian universities in general, I can, in fact, note that recently, there has been a noticeable increase in the focus on the internationalization of education and research. A number of apposite national projects are currently being implemented in Russia, and I think that now you really can see the results that can be obtained thanks to such initiatives. But I also see this trend as one that is characteristic not only for Russia but for the world in general. We in Norway also place special emphasis on the internationalization of education as we believe that this is very important for the quality of education at all levels".
Livia Reis, Vice President for International Relations, Federal Fluminense University (UFF), Brazil:
"We were invited to attend ITMO Partner Day, and this event seemed to us as a great opportunity to, first and foremost, form a first-hand acquaintance with ITMO University. We are already a partner of ITMO, but today we have a change to learn more about the fields the university is developing in. Brazil and Russia are located very far from each other, so there aren't a lot of occasions that would allow us to come here on a regular basis. This year, though, we are also attending the EAIE conference, which is the largest event in the field of international education, so it seemed logical for us to visit our St. Petersburg partner and discuss the prospects for our cooperation. We are already implementing student exchanges, but it is also very interesting for us to initiate joint programs in the field of exchange of teachers and professors".
Antonio Claudio Lucas da Nóbrega, Rector of Federal Fluminense University (UFF), Brazil:
"We are here because the development of international cooperation is one of our university's strategic goals. I would like to highlight that meeting in person plays a very important role in this process. As has already been noted by my colleague, we are situated geographically very far away from Europe and Russia, and that is what makes events like this one so significant. Above all else, they provide a unique opportunity for face-to-face interaction.
We live in the era of technologies and ITMO University is a technological university, but we are also very impressed with the fact that here, special attention is paid to the development of students as individuals. It is not fortuitous that love is one of ITMO's values".
Gilles Sere De Lanauze, professor at the IAE University of Montpellier, France:
"In my opinion, organizing ITMO Partner Day in the coming up to the EAIE conference in Helsinki became a great opportunity to bring together over 30 representatives of international universities on one platform, and to meet and exchange ideas with partners from different countries.
ITMO University's reputation is growing, and its development makes it an attractive partner for different universities all over the world. Our cooperation with ITMO started in 2015, with the implementation of initiatives in the field of student exchanges as its main impetus. Apart from continuing our joint work in this direction, we are also interested in developing new joint projects and collaborations. If we were to talk about specific areas for such cooperation, I can note that the University of Montpellier conducts work in a great number of fields such as information systems and technologies, natural sciences and many more. These are the fields in which both you and we have established very solid competencies. But we are also interested in the development of new fields, for example, the field of technological management and innovations, which opens up many interesting opportunities for joint work".