International Forum on Collaboration of BRICS Universities started at Ural Federal University

Top Quote Forum participants say social sciences can change the world. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) December 13, 2014 - December 6-7 the two-week International Forum "Collaboration of BRICS universities and research centres: education, research, innovations" started at Ural Federal University (Ekaterinburg, Russia). The Forum opened with a kick-off meeting of Global Educational Initiative of the BRICS University League.

    On December 17-18 four significant events will be held within the frames of the Forum: research seminar for young scholars "BRICS STUDIES: Challenges and Prospects", international conference "Collaboration of BRICS Universities in multilateral format", teleconference bridge "Prospects of collaboration of BRICS studies centres" and round table for students "To the united international educational environment of BRICS countries". These activities are carried out with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.

    The kick-off meeting that took place on 6-7 December was attended by the representatives of the leading universities of Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

    "BRICS countries are very different: they have different cultural, economic and educational models. But BRICS universities can benefit from working together on solving any kinds of social problems of these states - this will be the real collaboration", noted Maxim Khomyakov, UrFU Vice-rector for International Relations and Director of Institute of Social and Political Sciences when presenting UrFU BRICS studies centre.

    Situation in the world is dictated not only by economics, but by science as well. And by social science in particular. This was mentioned by Peter Wagner, professor of the University of Barcelona and the co-head of UrFU BRICS studies centre. Professor Wagner underlined that it is very important to take into account the history and the past experience of BRICS countries in their social development. Having defined the social problems of their countries, representatives of the BRICS University League should discuss them together.

    During the kick-off meeting of the BRICS University League the Forum participants tried to identify the areas for further university collaboration. Thus, Professor Christopher Gerry (Higher School of Economics, Saint-Petersburg) presented a new study area, Global Health Studies, and presupposed that the university can become a home for all BRICS studies in natural sciences and geography, and Professor Claudio Pinheiro (University of Rio de Janeiro) paid attention to the collaboration opportunities in the fields of history and area studies. Thirteen BRICS universities presented their Master programs. Programs of Ural Federal University were presented by Maria Guzikova, Deputy Director of the Institute of Social and Political Sciences, She told the participants about the 2-year Master programs in "Russian Studies in Real Russia" and "BRICS Studies" open for the students from all over the globe interested in Russian culture, politics and economics.

    As a result of the kick-off meeting in Ekaterinburg participating universities came to a unanimous decision about the necessity of launching network educational programs within BRICS. As a first step it was decided to focus on social sciences and humanities, and afterwards gradually expand the list of courses and programs. Participants of the meeting agreed to start with launching short-term continuing education programs, summer and winter schools. The second priority is developing Master and PhD programs.

    Another issue for discussion was funding. It was decided to forward an official letter to the Ministers of Education of BRICS countries to request financial support for student mobility within BRICS countries similarly to Erasmus Mundus program.

    Participants of the meeting agreed that together they'll develop regulatory documents fixing the rules of functioning of the Global Educational Initiative of the BRICS University League. In particular it was decided to prepare a consortium agreement and explore the possibility of submitting an application for Erasmus+.

    Members of the forming consortium decided to continue the work within the frames of the Forum in Ekaterinburg, and take part in the events associated with the meeting of the Ministers of Education of BRICS countries in Brazil in March 2015 and in the conference "Education and global cities" (Saint-Petersburg, May 2015).

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