A videoconference with representatives of Qatar University has been held at St Petersburg University to discuss joint research, development of student and teacher exchanges, and organising language testing in Russian and Arabic.

St Petersburg University Language Testing Centres operate in 40 countries throughout the world.

Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Affairs, said that St Petersburg University partners with more than 500 universities from 65 countries, including Europe, America, and Asia, as well as the largest public and private Russian and foreign companies. The University also promotes student, teacher, and academic exchange and participates in international research and academic programmes. 'In order to enhance international scientific, cultural and educational cooperation St Petersburg University opens representative offices and testing centres for Russian as a foreign language, of which there are over 100 today,’ said Sergey Andryushin. ‘Representative offices of the University have been opened in the Republic of Korea, China, Spain, Italy, and Turkey. They regularly host joint events with partner organisations, including seminars, conferences, and public lectures.'

Cesar Wazen, Director of the International Affairs Office at Qatar University, said that Qatar University is actively developing cooperation with various foreign universities and is interested in attracting St Petersburg University doctoral students to: study in a wide variety of fields of expertise, including economics and the Gulf studies; and participate in organising exchanges and joint research projects.

Mahjoob Zweiri, Director of the Gulf Studies Centre, the largest in the Middle East, presented the work of Qatar University in the field of regional studies. The centre offers doctoral and post-graduate programmes in a number of fields, including 'Security in the Gulf' and 'Politics, Energy and Economics'. In addition, students have the opportunity to receive a scholarship to study Arabic.

To date, the centre's experts have published some 98 scientific papers and conducted more than 64 major international events.

Mahjoob Zweiri suggested: developing cooperation with St Petersburg University in the field of scientific research on the Persian Gulf; publishing joint monographs; inviting professors; organising exchanges; and holding joint scientific conferences, seminars, and expert roundtables. He also said that joint research in the history of relations between Russia and the countries of the Persian Gulf as well as Islamic studies could be of interest.

Another area of cooperation between the two universities could be in the field of law. According to Talal Abdulla Al-Emadi, Director of Qatar University Press and Professor of law at Qatar University, Qatar University has established the College of Law, thus separating it from the existing College of Sharia and Islamic Studies. This teaching and research division is accredited by the High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education and the British Accreditation Council and actively cooperates with leading law schools.

Talal Abdulla Al-Emadi also proposed a joint project to publish the book 'Gesture and Sign: Non-Verbal Communication in the Qatari Culture' at St Petersburg University Publishing House. The work, published in Arabic, was translated into English and Russian. Nadezhda Vorobeva, Head of the Department of Publishing Project Support at St Petersburg University, encouraged the proposal. In this regard, the Qatari side sent the Russian version to be considered for proofreading and subsequent publication of the book in St Petersburg University Publishing House.

A separate meeting was held to discuss the organisation of examinations in Russian and Arabic.

The St Petersburg University Language Testing Centre was established in 1997 to organise and conduct state testing in Russian as a foreign language (TORFL) for foreign citizens.

Today, the University is one of the leaders in this field and has the right to hold examinations in Russian as a foreign language, Russian history, and the basics of Russian legislation. The certificate that is issued is the only official document certifying the level of proficiency in Russian as a foreign language in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. St Petersburg University currently offers tests in 20 foreign languages, including Hungarian, Bulgarian, Turkish, Polish, Korean and Japanese to name just a few.

During the discussion, the parties expressed interest in further talks on issues related to opening Russian and Arabic language testing centres at Qatar University and St Petersburg University. The representatives of the universities also exchanged information on the conditions of student and teacher exchanges that are organised at both universities, and agreed to develop cooperation in various areas of mutual interest.