French Ambassador for the Arctic and Antarctic Poles, Segolene Royal has met SPbU students and Rector Nikolay Kropachev and highly appreciated the projects the University was implementing to study the Arctic region.
SPbU Rector told the French delegation through the history of the oldest University in Russia and our traditions to study the Arctic region. “Last year, St Petersburg announced a post of Vice-Governor for Arctic, with a corresponding committee being formed soon. These are all logical steps as St Petersburg is rich in organisations that particularly focus on the Arctic. Among them is St Petersburg University”, — said Nikolay Kropachev.
In 1992–1993, Segolene Royal served as the Minister of the Environment in France, while in 2014–2017, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy in France. She was also president of the Poitou-Charentes regional council.
The ex-Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy says that St Petersburg plays a role in Russia-France relationships: “As the Ambassador for the Arctic and Antarctic Poles, I will contribute to developing Russian-French relationships and opening the Arctic Centre in St Petersburg in the nearest future”.
Segolene Royal also told about the University and thanked the Rector for the warm welcome:
The scientists who continue the life of the University and its outstanding academics are at the core of cementing the ties between our countries.
Ambassador for the Arctic and Antarctic Poles Segolene Royal
“The Arctic research covers all subject fields: from mathematics to geography and law. You have shown incredibly interesting environment projects. The range of issues you focus on is impressive”, — said Segolene Royal. She particularly mentioned the he Northern architecture the French researchers have not studied yet, and she suggested a bilateral collaboration in the area.
Education is another area for collaboration, said SPbU Rectror. “Our University has the councils of the educational programmes that decide on how who should teach. The members of the councils are the employers, not the academic staff. Among those who head the councils are Minister of Education and Culture of Cyprus, Ambassadors of Germany and Hungary. If you and your colleagues join us, we will do a lot”.
Segolene Royal promised to think it over as it was of interest to her. When meeting the students in International Relations, she confessed that in Russia she felt like she was a student as she gained much in the Arctic research.
We have to open a long-term project on climate changes and think about where we are heading at, said she: “The Earth is a small planet and we are all connected. Global warming makes the sea levels rise, and it can lead do disasters. The islands in the Caribbean may be flooded by rising sea levels, and those who live on Fiji in the Pacific are afraid of losing their habitats and buy property on the shore. It means that many countries will face the “climate refugees”.
SPbU students asked Segolene Royal to dwell upon her book Manifest of Climate Legislation, discussed the fight against sea and ocean contamination, and proposed opening youth-driven Russian-French centre of the Arctic sustainable development.
Climate change is among the global challenges that make us join our efforts to fight for a better place to live. Among the key ecological problems, as Segolene Royal thinks, is rise of the average temperature, sea level rise, and atmosphere contamination.
The Arctic research is one of the overarching priorities at St Petersburg University. The University offers a range of programmes in polar and marine research and complex development of the Arctic region. The students annually have internship programmes in the Arctic. The first in history UArctic Congress was in SPbU in 2016.
In 2017, the director of the Artic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), the oldest research institute in Russia that study Arctic and Antarctic regions, became the SPbU's graduate and academic Aleksandr Makarov.