The 3rd International Forum "Russia and Ibero-America in a Globalizing World: History and Modernity" is taking place at St Petersburg University.

Academics, politicians and journalists from more than thirty countries of Latin America came to St Petersburg to take part in this event. The participants include Ernesto Samper, a former president of Colombia, and Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil until August 2016.

Today, a new system of international relations is being created in the world, and Ibero-America plays a special part in it. Experts agree that this region is gradually becoming a key player influencing the foreign policy of many world powers and also acting as a mediator between Europe, Asia and Africa.

Experts from all over the world discussed the future of the Ibero-American states in St Petersburg, a city that is called a window not only to Europe but also to Latin America.

"It was here, in the capital of the empire, that embassies and consulates were located; it was also a major seaport. It was then, in the 19th century, that Russia's trade and economic ties with Spain, Portugal and other countries were formed," SPbU Professor Lazar Jeifets told.

Today our city is also one of the major centres for Latin American studies.
SPbU Professor Lazar Jeifets

Following a long-standing tradition, St Petersburg University, the largest centre of Ibero-American studies, became the venue for discussing the current processes taking place in the region. It is for the third time that the Forum is held here, thus supporting the unique format of a free and informal exchange of views — truly academic networking, reaching far beyond the participants' political commitment.

Alexandr Khokhlikov, Deputy Director of the Latin American Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, noted that the forum reflected the trend of involving the civil society in solving various social and political problems.

"It is very important that the forum is developing and helps attracting attention to this region. This year, a Latin American session was also held within the framework of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. It means that St Petersburg is becoming a place not only for Ibero-American studies but also for Ibero-America's vibrant dialogue with Russia in return. I am convinced that this event will help combine the intellectual potential of our scholars with the interests of businesses and governmental authorities," highlighted Sergey Brilev, Deputy Director of the state television company "Telekanal Rossiya", President of the Bering — Bellingshausen Institute in Montevideo, Uruguay.

For representatives of Ibero-America, this forum is an opportunity to strengthen their ties with Russia. "Today, when conflicts are breaking out across the globe, Latin America stays free from nuclear weapons; it is a region of democracy that has for 40 years already been living without authoritarianism. Our objective is to consolidate our positions in the world arena by increasing integration with our partners, with Russia above all. Today we are all here to do everything to create a multipolar world in which there will be no place for violation of human rights," said Ernesto Samper, President of Colombia (1994–1998).

To involve young people in Latin American studies is one of the main objectives of the event according to its organisers. Traditionally, a competition has been held before the forum. Young specialists in Ibero-American studies, from high school students to aspirantura programme students, could submit their works. This year, 59 people took part in it, including representatives of Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Moscow State University, Ural Federal University and other major universities of Russia. Mikhail Perevozchikov, a student of St Petersburg University, became the winner and was awarded a trip to the country he studied. His work was devoted to Bolivia.

Ten years will pass, and today's students will become not only specialists, but also decision-makers.
SPbU Professor Victor Jeifets

"Today they meet the leading politicians on the sidelines of the forum, and tomorrow they will speak on behalf of the city and the country, governmental authorities and businesses. I hope that every year the number of young people, whose academic and diplomatic career starts here, will be growing," SPbU Professor Victor Jeifets said.

The International Forum "Russia and Ibero-America in a Globalizing World: History and Modernity" is now the most representative event in our country dedicated to the socio-political and economic processes taking place in Ibero-American states. The first forum was held at St Petersburg University in 2013 and brought together 230 people from 19 countries. This year, the University hosts the third forum, with about 500 participants from more than 30 countries.

In 2017, the timing of the forum coincided with the centennial of the Russian Revolution, and the assessment of the impact of this historic event on Latin American countries was one of the main issues discussed. In addition, the participants discuss such topical issues as the evolution and current state of Ibero-American relations with Russia, the role of the BRICS countries in the formation of a multipolar world, regional political and economic integration, and the extra-European ties of Spain and Portugal