The All-Russian Student Contest ‘Russia and the USA: A Step Forward’ is being organised by the Association of Leading Universities and the Council of University Rectors of St Petersburg and the Leningrad Region with the support of TASS. Works of the creativity contest winners will be presented at various venues in Russia and the United States of America. This was announced at a press conference in TASS by Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Affairs of St Petersburg University.

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‘The contest "Russia and the USA: A Step Forward" is timed to the opening of the University Representative Office in New York. This is a unique case. A representative office of a Russian university in the United States had never appeared in the history of Russia-United States relations,’ said Sergey Andryushin. ‘Our academic cooperation with the United States is developing, despite certain problems in bilateral relations. We have academic exchange programmes for lecturers and students and create joint projects.’  

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Sergey Andryushin also added that the organisation of the similar contest among American students is being discussed with partners from the United States. This is especially important, since one of the tasks of the creativity contest is to strive against negative stereotypes of young people in both countries. As part of the creativity contest, members of the expert jury will assess photographs, videos, and essays.

This contest and similar ones are the future. They make it possible for students from different countries to learn the truth about each other, despite all possible barriers. I can say that even now students want to take part in it, and at times with very unexpected ideas.

Alexey Demidov, Chairman of the Council of University Rectors of St Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, Rector of St Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design

In his opinion, it is of vital importance that the topics of the projects are not limited. Participants can speak about anything: from their own view of history to the importance of a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, the contestants have the opportunity to submit their work both individually and as part of teams.

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‘The special nomination of the contest is dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two. I am sure that it will help to know better the history of Russia-United States relations, including those during the War. It is important to show what impact this has had on the contemporary world and how it can positively affect the development of Russia-United States relations in the future,’ said Sergey Andryushin.

The jury consist of representatives of: state authorities; youth public organisations; mass media organisations; culture and business; as well as employees of academic institutions from Russia and the United States. They will assess each work according to several criteria: the idea of the project; its relevance; compliance with the contest aims and objectives; information content; creative solution and originality of the work; the internal logic of the project; as well as the quality of execution.

‘TASS North-West Information Centre is the general information partner of the contest, and its director Aleksandr Potekhin is on the jury of the creativity contest. We have already agreed with Sergey Andryushin that the final press conference devoted to summing up the contest results and presenting the winners will also be held at our venue,’ said Stanislav Viazmenskii, head of the corporate communications department of the TASS North-West Regional Information Centre.

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He also added that TASS is pleased to organise an excursion at the regional centre in St Petersburg for all contest finalists and to show how the country's leading news agency works.

All information about the contest will soon be published on the official website of the Association of Leading Universities of Russia. Immediately after that, the acceptance of applications will begin, which will last until the end of May 2020. It is planned that the contest results will be announced by 5 September. The winning projects will be presented not only at Russian venues, but also at the Representative Office of St Petersburg University in the United States.