The Summer School of the Francophone Organisation on European Studies and Education in Social Sciences (OFFRES – Organisation francophone pour la formation et la recherche européennes en sciences humaines) was held at the beginning of July 2019 in St. Petersburg with the support of HSE University. The school brought together 60 researchers from almost 20 countries. Over the course of a week, school participants organised lectures and seminars around the theme, ‘Empires: Centre and Periphery’ in 5 areas: cinema, literature, philosophy, history, and political science. Founded in 2001, the Francophone Organisation on European Studies and Education in Social Sciences has been running its Summer School in different European countries for the last 18 years.
HSE University – St Petersburg is the first university in Russia to host an OFFRES Summer School. This year, 60 participants from France, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Romania, Albania, Serbia, Croatia, Poland, Columbia, Algeria, Macedonia and Russia, gathered to discuss various issues in social sciences.
The Summer School was made possible by the support of the French-Russian Research Centre, the Agency for University Cooperation for Francophonie, the French Ministry of Internal Affairs programme PARCECO, and the General Embassy of France in St Petersburg.
Participants had positive things to say about the Summer School, which gave them the opportunity to engage in fruitful discussions, hear thought-provoking presentations, and meet with international colleagues.
Tatiana Pankratova: ‘I found this year’s theme of ‘Empires: Centre and Periphery’ to be very interesting.
We studied this topic in the context of history: we read a range of texts (even ancient ones), studied the Roman Empire and compared it with the Arab Empire, and identified similarities and differences between them. We also discussed a text about the world after the World War II, as well as US-European relations.
During this Summer School, we listened to a lot of informative and exciting reports on history, philosophy, cinema and literature’.
Tatiana Gladysheva: ‘This was the first time I took part in the Summer School and it was a truly interesting experience. I got the chance to take part in a discussion about movie art, learn more about it, and present a paper in French on a topic of particular interest to me (I talked about the movie ‘White Crow’, which is about the ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev).
The participants, both students and lecturers, came to St Petersburg from various countries. It was exciting to interact with everyone and get to know people from all over the world and hear their perspectives on various topics.
I wish these discussions were less political, which is irritating, but overall, I am happy to take part in this wonderful international event. I would like to express my gratitude to the French history teacher at French University College (St Petersburg State University) Lydia Kamenoff for the Summer School organisation and the opportunity to participate in it!’