On November 14, a ceremonial opening of the exhibition of the Russian Geographical Society dedicated to the outstanding geographer, statistician, traveler, and public figure Pyotr Semenov-Tyan-Shansky was held at the University of Orléans. One of the initiators of the project was the RGS Center in France.
The opening ceremony was attended by Vice-President of the University and Head of the Administrative Council of the University Paule Quilichini, Director of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Rachid Nedjai, Professor of Geography and the most prominent explorer of Lake Baikal in France Laurent Touchart, descendant of the great traveler Kirill Semenov-Tyan-Shansky, representative of the Center of the Russian Geographical Society in France Daria Loyola, teachers, postgraduates, and students from the Department of Geography of the university.
Ilya Gurov, First Deputy Executive Director of the Russian Geographical Society, addressed the participants of the opening of the exhibition with a welcome speech. He expressed gratitude to the University of Orléans and colleagues in France for their desire and willingness to acquaint a wide audience with the rich heritage and history of Russia.
Vice-President of the University of Orléans Ms. Quilichini thanked in her speech the initiators of the organization of the exhibition: Laurent Touchart, Professor of Geography at the University of Orleans, and the RGS Center in France. She stressed the importance of the project for international dialogue and scientific exchange.
Daria Loyola, representative of the Russian Geographical Society Center in France, noted that the dialogue between the Russian and French Geographical Societies has been established since the official foundation of the Russian Geographical Society in 1845, and scientific exchange between geographers of the two countries has existed since earlier times. She expressed hope for continued cooperation and gratitude to every scientist, teacher, student who promotes bilateral dialogue. Special thanks were given to the Department of Geography and the CEDETE geography laboratory of the University of Orléans.
The third-year geography students of the University of Orléans took an active part in the organization of the exhibition. At the suggestion of Professor Laurent Touchart, throughout the semester they worked on two large-scale projects telling about the history, structure, activities of the RGS, as well as about Peter Semenov-Tyan-Shansky and his legacy.
As part of their research, the students interviewed Vladimir Kolosov, Vice-President of the Russian Geographical Society (who was also the first vice-president of the International Geographical Union in 2012-2016); Daria Loyola, representative of the Russian Geographical Society Center in France; Associate Professor at the University of Caen Normandy and the great-great-granddaughter of the great geographer Irène Semenoff-Tian-Chansky-Baïdine. As a result, the presentations were created to complement the exhibition.
Thanks to the contribution of Kirill Semenov-Tyan-Shansky, photographs of the Semenov-Tyan-Shansky archive were presented to the public at the Petrovka family estate in Aubagne near Marseille. The exhibition panels were made with the support of the Russian House of Science and Culture in Paris.
The materials of the exhibition aroused keen interest of the public. The Center of the Russian Geographical Society in France received an offer to publish a translation of the works of Pyotr Semenov-Tyan-Shansky and drawings by the artist Pavel Kosharov made during the expedition to the Tian Shan in 1856-1857 in a French geographical journal.
The exhibition will be open to the public at the University of Orléans until early December.