Olga Slov, the Consul General of the State of Israel, has visited St Petersburg University. Hebrew teaching issues and prospects for organising a representative office of St Petersburg University in Israel were discussed during a meeting with representatives of the University administration.
Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Activities of St Petersburg University, said that, during the year since the last meeting with the Consul General, several projects that have contributed to increased interaction with Israeli partners have been implemented at the University. The plans for further development of cooperation include organising a representative office of St Petersburg University in Israel. The possibility of its opening is now being discussed with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The deputy rector explained that the representative office is not a branch, but a project that makes it possible to strengthen ties with universities in a country or a certain region. It will be possible to hold roundtable discussions, seminars, conferences, teleconferences, and student festivals at the representative office.
In my opinion, our cooperation with Israel has great potential, we can do a lot. At present, it is not as broad and multifaceted as a partnership with European or even Chinese universities. That is why, we would like to bring our cooperation to the same level.
Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Activities of St Petersburg University
He also said that in August a Hebrew testing centre had been opened at St Petersburg University with the support of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem. According to Professor Igor Tantlevskii, the Head of the Department of Jewish Culture at St Petersburg University, the centre stands out because of a fundamentally new exam procedure which involves determining the level of language proficiency. The highest level makes it possible to work and continue training even in specific areas such as medicine or law. Testing involves working not only with students but also with graduates, and with acting Hebrew teachers who need to get a certificate confirming their level of language proficiency.
Igor Tantlevskii proposed starting the development of a new bachelor’s programme in Jewish theology at the University. The professor of St Petersburg University noted that university graduates in theology are in high demand. However, at present, the university provides only doctoral programmes in this field. He also added that a student club of Jewish culture has been created at the University. Students from all areas of study are invited to take part in its meetings. This project will help increase the number of students interested in studying not only Hebrew but also Israel itself: its culture; history; and position in international policy.
Olga Slov, the Consul General of Israel, supported the initiative and noted that the development of such a bachelor's programme will open up another opportunity for employment for students of St Petersburg University. She confirmed that the Consulate is actively cooperating with the University: it invites experts to deliver public lectures and opens joint exhibitions. The Consul General said that it is a brilliant idea to organise the representative office of St Petersburg University in Israel and that it should be implemented in the near future.
The following issues were also discussed during the meeting: the development of courses in cultural studies on Jewish philosophy; and an academic programme dedicated to modern Israel at the University. Olga Slovo, the Consul General of Israel, spoke to students of the Institute of Philosophy of St Petersburg University who are studying Jewish culture.