The International Summer School of the Russian Geographical Society has completed. Its participants were 27 young men and women from Russia, China, Italy, Belgium, South Africa, Serbia, Egypt, Argentina, Greece and other countries of the world. During the week, young men and women met with famous travelers of the world, mastered the skills of oratory from the best Russian specialists and developed a plan for further cooperation with the Russian Geographical Society.
The RGS International Summer School has been held annually since 2013. This time the event was organized with the participation of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo).
“The RGS Summer School changes each year in terms of composition of speakers, participants and framework. This time, the key topic was international humanitarian cooperation. In a week, we managed to outline a plan for further cooperation with the participants, so the final results of the Summer School can be summed up only in a year. In the meantime, we just moved to the main part of the project - the joint implementation of initiatives in Russia and foreign countries", said Ellina Pekurovskaya, an organizer of the International Summer School of the Russian Geographical Society, an adviser to the Project Operations and Analitics Department of the Executive Directorate of the Russian Geographical Society.
The Summer School was held on the territory of Russia's largest ethnographic park Ethnomir in the Kaluga Region from August 19 to 25. Each day of the program included lectures, creative meetings, trainings and a master class on enhancing competencies and developing universal leadership qualities, working with human capital. In the classes, young specialists shared their countries' experiences in the field of humanitarian cooperation, shared knowledge and ideas of public initiatives in the field of geography and related sciences.
“It was nice that the applications from Abkhazia were accepted, and we managed to represent our country. The principle of the school’s work turned out to be successful: here is the organizers work, that was held in the best way possible, here were invited speakers, the selection of participants. The RGS School has become the very international platform for the exchange of experience and opinions in the field of geographical science.We are currently working with the Executive Directorate of the Russian Geographical Society on the possible creation of a Youth Club of the Russian Geographical Society on the basis of the Institute of Ecology of the Academy of Sciences of Abkhazia and the implementation of international projects for popularization of geography", - said a participant of the RGS Summer School, Mikhail Kiria (Abkhazia).
The speakers at the events were leading experts in the field of cinema and journalism, diplomats and travelers, representatives of the TEDxMoscow and "Chto? Gde? Kogda?" projects. So, the adviser to the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the captain of the team in the television club "Chto? Gde? Kogda?" and the author of the "Intellectual Diplomacy Workshop" project Igor Alekseev held an educational business game at the Summer School.
The participants prepared commercials for “social advertising” reflecting the goals of the “New Generation” program. Depending on the impact on the “target audience”, the expert jury determined the most successful projects.
According to Igor Alekseev, the participants showed an extraordinary ability to work in a team, rationally use the available resources to achieve a result, think broadly, strategically and creatively.
"I was pleasantly surprised that, according to the results of the event, the participants suggested specific ways to apply the skills, acquired in the game, to solve the large-scale problems that modern youth face in real life", said Igor Alekseev.
The most traveling person in the world, member of the Russian Geographical Society Babis Bizas, also addressed the participants of the school. He spoke about the wildlife and animal world of the Russian Arctic, showed photographs and presented his observations from travels. At the workshop with organizer of TEDxMoscow Andrei Yegorov the participants got acquainted with the TED conference, its concept, as well as the basic principles of the TED-style performances, which are always distinguished by the obligatory presence of an “idea worth spreading”.
“The participants themselves could present their ideas in the form of a short presentation and get feedback in the second part of the workshop. And if everything is fine with the oratory and the ability to present themselves to the guys, then the skills to find an idea that you need to share with the world and present it correctly require more preparation - developing scripts, rehearsals and even drama. The first steps of working at the workshop were dedicated to this", said Andrey Egorov.
In the classes, boys and girls also watched videos of TED speeches on topics close to geography, scientific discoveries, and anthropology.
“I am still very impressed. This summer school not only expanded my knowledge of geography, but also allowed me to break down the language barrier. All lectures were as informative as possible. Personally, the most interesting event for me was our TED-style speeches - all reports turned out to be on completely different topics, different styles. Also, a lecture by Harutyunyan Aghasi, the Liaison Officer of the FAO branch in Russia, turned out to be extremely interesting. He told me what international internship programs exist, how they fight low-quality products, what agricultural problems they face in different countries of the world", - said the participants of the summer school of the Russian Geographical Society Maxim Ivchenko (Russia).
Among the lecturers were also Ana Poshtek, a head of the International Students' Association in the field of agriculture and related sciences; Sergey Apresov, an editor-in-chief of the magazine "Around the World"; Arseny Aredov, a creator of the game "Geobitva"; Marina Nozhenko, a winner of the contest “The Best Guide of Russia”, Christina Kozlova, a producer and director of “RD Studio”, and many others.
“Speaking at the Summer School as a lecturer is a wonderful experience. Most of the classes that I managed to attend were aimed at developing personal qualities - the trainings are useful to everyone. It also seems to me that such a project is very important for creating a positive image of the country: it was noticeable, how stereotypes are broken, and participants enjoy communication and joint activities", Marina Nozhenko shared her impressions.
Excursions in Moscow and Kaluga Region were also organized for participants of the Summer School. Young specialists visited the Ugra National Park, where employees of a specially protected natural area conducted an excursion, talked about the national park and the features of protected areas in Russia, showed off the bison cubs that were specially raised to inhabit these territories. The program of trips also included an environmental campaign to clear and improve the estates of the princes Obolensky and a private park, as well as an excursion to the Optina Pustyn.
“It is interesting that school participants from South Africa, Argentina and other countries noted how beautiful Russia is, they were especially impressed by Moscow. Colleagues did not expect such a development. They said that their countries are unlikely to be able to reach such a level in the coming decades,” noted Vladan Gorbich (Serbia), a participant of the RGS International Summer School.
The main result of the International Summer School of the Russian Geographical Society was not only the development of an individual plan for international cooperation, but also the opportunity for one of the best participants in the program to take an internship in the walls of one of the oldest public organizations in the world. The organizers of the Summer School chose Nurgul Nursagatova from Kazakhstan as a candidate for the internship.
"I am very glad that I had the opportunity to take an internship in the Russian Geographical Society, and I look forward to it. It is an opportunity and an honor to learn more about Russia and make my small contribution to the work of the Russian Geographical Society. From the very beginning, even before applying to Summer School, I thought it would be great to take an internship. And I was pleasantly surprised when I had such a chance", said Nurgul.
In conclusion, young specialists also selected the best participants in the RGS Summer School. They were Maxim Ivchenko (Russia), Viktor Zanozin (Russia), Johan Nartier (South Africa), Hakob Gabrielyan (Russia).