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"We need platforms for dialogue"

Timofey Bordachev on the only Russian-Chinese summer school on international relations

Interview with Timofei Bordachev, scientific adviser International Russian-Chinese Summer School on international relations of the Higher School of Economics, director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies of the Higher School of Economics.

"We need platforms for dialogue"
Photo: fdp.hse.ru
- A lot of scientific and educational events take place on the basis of the Faculty of World Economy and World Politics at the NRU HSE, and the Russian-Chinese summer school is one of them. Tell me, please, what distinguishes the format of the Summer School from other projects?

- I would say that the Summer School is not one of many events that take place at the Faculty of World Economy and World Politics at the Higher School of Economics. This is quite a unique event. This is the only Russian-Chinese summer school on international relations. It is unique in that it involves Chinese and Russian students and graduate students, children from other countries. It is conducted entirely in English, thus, our participants have the opportunity to communicate with each other on an equal footing.
 
- This year will be the eighth Summer School, but how did it all begin in 2011 year? How did you come up with the idea of ​​opening this project? What was the main goal of the school, has it changed over the years?

- The First School was held in the summer of 2011, when it became obvious that the Sino-Russian relations are entering a period of very rapid, intensive development and increasing the level of political trust between the parties. And at us - at dean of faculty of world economy and world politics Sergey Aleksandrovich Karaganov, the head of Summer school, colleagues from the Higher school of economy there was an understanding that this dialogue needs to be supported by creation of various kinds of joint expert, scientific, student and discussion platforms that the Chinese and Russian scientists, young experts communicate more with each other, before they began to understand each other's mentality, each other's approach to discussing issues, those restrictions that we have, national specific features, views on the problems in Russia and China.

After that, a few years later we decided to go on a fairly revolutionary practice and allowed students to participate in the Summer School from other countries. But at the same time, Russians and Chinese are still the most important among the participating guys. It seems to me that while this practice justifies itself, although, of course, we will closely monitor whether it is worth preserving it in the future or whether we will return to a narrower Sino-Russian format, which, I repeat, is simply vital in a multitude species in order to support the existing Sino-Russian relations at the political level and increasingly developing at the economic level.
 
- As far as is known, the Summer School is conducted jointly with the East China Pedagogical University (WCPU, Shanghai). How much does this format allow to develop interuniversity relations? In your opinion, does this interaction contribute to the deepening of Russian-Chinese relations at the educational level?

- It seems to me that the main benefit of this kind of joint summer schools is the dissemination of knowledge about those universities that conduct them, about the possibility of receiving education there. Spreading this knowledge through friends, acquaintances, classmates, transferring them to social networks that exist both in Russia and in China. This is the most important function associated with the tasks that higher education decides.
 
- The declared theme of the upcoming Summer School - "Beyond the traditional agenda: a new reality for Russia and China" - covers such areas as digital technologies, cybersecurity, the role of media space and social networks in international relations, the green economy, cooperation in the cultural sphere. What prompted the organizers to stop on this topic?

- I would like to start by saying that another specific feature of this Summer School is that it has never been about Russian-Chinese relations. Our vision is that China and Russia are so closely linked politically and are so important for the development of all mankind that Chinese and Russian scientists, and at the level of our Summer School - and young experts, should not talk about our bilateral issues , but about those problems where the role and place of China and Russia are significant. About those problems where China and Russia should develop, if not a joint, then a similar position in content. We looked at those plots that were not previously touched upon in our Summer Schools and at those plots that are extremely relevant now in the world. And we have chosen a whole range of issues as the problems that the Chinese and Russians should first talk about together, and only then, gradually move in the expert community and at the state level to develop a common position. In this big work, our small modest contribution is our Summer School.
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