The roadmap for cooperation between St Petersburg University and the University of Isfahan released
Representatives of the university academic community have started active work on developing cooperation within the framework of the signed Memorandum of Understanding between St Petersburg University and the University of Isfahan (Iran).
At the webinar moderated by Artem Andreev, Director of the Centre for the Study of the Islamic Republic of Iran at St Petersburg University, and Mr Arash Shahin, Advisor to the Rector of the University of Isfahan on International Affairs and Director of Scientific and International Cooperation at the University of Isfahan, the parties identified specific areas for further cooperation.
Welcoming the webinar participants, Dr Arash Shahin stressed that St Petersburg and Isfahan have a lot in common, especially in the development of education and culture. The purpose of the webinar was to exchange specific ideas to help reach important agreements.
The Iranian side showed a keen interest in cooperation in the fields of geology (X-ray diffraction research methods), biology, and medical technologies.
Moslehi Ghasem, President of the Isfahan Science and Technology Town, spoke about the plans for the development of technology parks not only at the university itself, but also in Isfahan Province − the advanced technological centre of Iran. He drew attention of the webinar participants to the willingness of his colleagues for mutual cooperation with St Petersburg University in the creation of a completely new technology park related to: the development of medical technologies; the introduction of developments in the chemical industry and other sectors of the economy; the development of cross-sectoral research; and the involvement of scientific potential of universities in other countries. The Russian side, represented by Oleg Grunskiy, Director of the Resource Centre for X-ray Diffraction Studies at St Petersburg University, expressed their readiness to participate in all specific studies and to develop scientific and practical cooperation in the mentioned areas.
‘The St Petersburg University Research Park has practically all possible methods of scientific research of various materials, from biological objects to minerals and rocks,’ said Oleg Grunskiy.
Representatives of the Institute of Earth Sciences of St Petersburg University and the Department of Geology of the University of Isfahan informed the webinar participants about the structure, scientific and educational potential of their divisions and mutually expressed their willingness to establish direct contacts to start work in their fields. During the discussion, the Iranian colleagues showed interest in the experience of the Russian side in mining, prospecting and exploration. After a brief discussion, it was decided to hold a special webinar on introducing knowledge of mineral prospecting and exploration into industrial applications.
Of particular interest was the issue related to the possibility of establishing a testing centre for Russian as a foreign language at the University of Isfahan.
The participants in the meeting exchanged views on the readiness for cooperation in the sphere of Russian language testing of Iranian students and staff involved in the work to ensure mutual cooperation between our universities. The Iranian side proposed to start testing in Russian as a foreign language on the basis of testing centres already existing at the University of Isfahan. It was suggested that further development of this area of cooperation be discussed in the framework of a specific videoconference, which could be attended by a wider range of field-specific specialists.
It was stressed that student and academic exchanges between our universities are an important point of cooperation. St Petersburg University experts suggested starting with student exchanges to study Russian and Persian. Two forms of such exchanges seem promising: a one-year course at a partner university after prior study at the home university (a programme for students); and a short-term course that would be useful not only for students but also for St Petersburg University staff involved in joint work within the framework of the memorandum.
The Iranian side expressed its readiness to host Russian students at the Isfahan summer camp to study Persian. The colleagues spoke about the possibility of learning Persian not only in person, but also online. The online education experience of both universities was also discussed. Online courses, which have recently become an integral part of the teaching and learning process, can be considered as the first part of learning. The continuation of any course should be completed in person directly in the classroom. At the end of the discussion, the parties discussed the possibility of establishing a Centre for Studying Persian at St Petersburg University.
A representative of the Department of History at the University of Isfahan suggested organising a conference at St Petersburg University on the history of relations between Russia and Iran with a focus on the history of the Safavid dynasty. Colleagues from the Faculty of Education and Psychology at the University of Isfahan advocated the development of new joint courses related to psychology.
At the end of the webinar, Mr Shahin, Advisor to the Rector for International Affairs at the University of Isfahan, expressed confidence in fruitful cooperation and readiness to work in specific areas. As soon as possible, the Iranian colleagues will prepare and send to the Russian side the information necessary for further organisation of work.
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