St Petersburg University plans to open the first secondary school in Russia with Chinese as a language of instruction
A delegation of CITIC Foundation for Reform and Development Studies has visited St Petersburg University. During the meeting with the University leadership, the parties have discussed the prospects for cooperation in the academic sphere.
Welcoming the guests, Professor Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that St Petersburg University has been actively developing cooperation with the People’s Republic of China. Over the last decade, the number of interdisciplinary academic programmes with a Chinese component implemented at the University has grown tenfold. Currently, there are approximately 90 such programmes. The Chinese language is the second most popular foreign language among the languages studied at St Petersburg University. Over a thousand students specialising in various areas of study — from philology and economics to international relations and tourism — are studying Chinese at the University. Professor Kropachev emphasised that a breakthrough in the development of Chinese studies at St Petersburg University took place in 2010 on his initiative. The cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China and the visit of President Xí Jìnpíng to St Petersburg University greatly contributed to their success.
‘St Petersburg University produces a huge number of specialists who will be able to contribute to the development of China-Russia relations,’ said Nikolay Kropachev. ‘I have been urging rectors of other universities in our country to follow the lead of St Petersburg University and these efforts bore fruit. A number of Russian universities have opened academic programmes with advanced study of the Chinese language, economy and law of China. However, there are few strong secondary education institutions with Chinese as a language of instruction in the Russian Federation.’
CITIC Foundation for Reform and Development Studies is a division of CITIC Group, formerly the China International Trust Investment Corporation (CITIC), one of the largest state-owned investment companies in the People’s Republic of China. It was founded in 1979 with the approval of late Chinese leader Dèng Xiǎopíng.
During the meeting, the Rector of St Petersburg University approached the delegation of CITIC Foundation for Reform and Development Studies with a list of initiatives aimed at strengthening academic cooperation between the two countries. First of all, he proposed the establishment of a secondary school for Russian school students at St Petersburg University with Chinese as the language of instruction and textbooks published in both Russia and China.
Professor Kropachev also noted that Chinese literature is now widely published in Russia. A third of these publications have been translated into Russian by St Petersburg University academics. In this context, he suggested launching a collaborative translation project with CITIC Foundation to translate contemporary Chinese fiction into Russian. Nikolay Kropachev suggested starting with a compiling a collection of short stories to introduce contemporary Chinese authors and their literary style to Russian readers. To date, St Petersburg University has participated in publication of literary anthologies of contemporary Russian prose published in China, Turkey, and Iran. It is time Russian readers had the opportunity to get acquainted with works by contemporary Chinese authors.
St Petersburg University is an active participant in many major forums. Some of these events, such as the St Petersburg International Legal Forum and the St Petersburg International Labour Forum, were established on the initiative of St Petersburg University, shared Nikolay Kropachev. He invited members of CITIC Foundation for Reform and Development Studies, as well as academics and students from Chinese universities to take part in these events. The parties also discussed the possibility of CITIC Foundation supporting Russian-Chinese student exchange and academic mobility programmes.
Additionally, Rector Kropachev invited representatives of CITIC Foundation to join the Centre "Geopolitical Observatory for Russia’s Key Issues" (GORKI) at St Petersburg University, headed by former Minister of European and International Affairs of the Republic of Austria Karin Kneissl.
Mr Kǒng Dān, Chairman of CITIC Foundation for Reform and Development Studies, thanked Rector Nikolay Kropachev and talked about the history of CITIC Group Corporation Limited and CITIC Foundation for Reform and Development Studies. CITIC Group operates in five business sectors: comprehensive financial services; advanced AI manufacturing; advanced materials; new ways of resource consumption; and new-type urbanisation. For 15 consecutive years since 2009, the organisation has been included on the Fortune’s Global 500 list of the world’s largest companies, ranking 100th in 2023. In 2014, CITIC Foundation was established within the structure of CITIC Group to advance the reform and development studies of the Chinese economy. The Foundation also operates the research and development Centre for Strategic Cooperation between China and Russia.
I believe that in the contemporary history of Russia and China, there has never been such a level of friendship between the leaders of our countries as we are witnessing today.
Mr Kǒng Dān, Chairman of CITIC Foundation for Reform and Development Studies
Mr Kǒng Dān underlined that he was pleasantly surprised to learn about the large-scale efforts to promote and develop China-Russia relations undertaken by St Petersburg University. ‘Through your efforts, you are applying in practice and implementing all our leaders’ ideas and policies. In addition to cooperation in economical and political spheres, our interactions in science, education and ideology are also of great importance. CITIC Foundation is also a research centre. Hence, we are colleagues; and as such, we will give special attention to your proposals.’
Mr Kǒng Dān noted that China and Russia are members of many international alliances and organisations, including BRICS and SCO, which are among the subjects of the Foundation’s research efforts. Additionally, CITIC Foundation provides a discussion platform for leading experts from various fields, including law and international relations. The Chairman of CITIC Foundation for Reform and Development Studies stressed they can report the Foundation’s research findings and conclusions directly to the government and the President of the People’s Republic of China. He added that the Foundation’s experts are willing to collaborate with representatives of the GORKI Centre in joint publication projects and participate in the St Petersburg International Legal Forum and the St Petersburg International Labour Forum.
At the end of the meeting, the parties agreed that the reviewed proposals would be sent to CITIC Foundation for Reform and Development Studies.