Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University hosted the first festival “Africa in St. Petersburg”
For the first time, Polytechnic University hosted the international youth festival «Africa in St. Petersburg». The venue for such a large-scale event was the Technopolis Polytech SPbPU Research Building. The event coincided with the 60th anniversary of Africa Day. May 25, 1963 — the day when the Organization of African Unity was founded — was declared African Liberation Day by a decision of the UN. This date symbolizes the desire of African countries to unite for independent development, peace and prosperity on the continent. A significant role in the liberation of the continent from colonialism belongs to the USSR.
The event was organized by the Committee on Foreign Relations of St. Petersburg, together with the Committee on Youth Policy and Cooperation with Public Organizations, the Committee on Science and Higher School, the Committee on Interethnic Relations and Migration Policy Implementation in St. Petersburg, Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University with the participation of the Regional Public Organization «African Unity — St. Petersburg», the African Diaspora Union Inganzo Gakondo and St. Petersburg higher educational institutions.
For Polytechnic University, cooperation with Africa is a key strategic goal. It is important to remember that the university was at the origin of scientific and educational cooperation with the African continent. For over 65 years now, we have welcomed African students who want to study at the leading technical university in Russia, and every year the number of those who want to study at our university increases. The list of countries interested in qualified personnel is also growing. Our graduates are an excellent example: engineers and economists, who graduated from St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute, work in 45 African countries. Almost all of them occupy leading positions in industrial enterprises, state authorities and national universities, said Rector of St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, RAS Academician Andrei Rudskoi.
Arbi Abubakarov, deputy chairman of the St. Petersburg Committee for External Relations, opened the festival with a welcome address from St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov. According to the Governor, the Northern Capital has created a sound initiative, which is important for the sovereign development of all Africa. The mayor also noted that it helps to combat the effects of colonization. He also reminded about the second Russia-Africa summit, which will soon be held in our city.
Welcoming the participants of the festival, SPbPU Vice-rector for International Affairs Dmitry Arsenyev noted that it was a great honor for Polytechnic University to host the first youth festival «Africa in St. Petersburg».
Today the African fraternity at Polytechnic University numbers over 220 students from more than 40 countries. It is very indicative that every year the number of students from Africa in programs of all levels increases. The doors of Polytechnic University are always open to students and partners, we have big plans to develop educational and scientific cooperation with the countries of the African region, said Dmitry Arsenyev.
«Africa is the fastest developing place in the world,» said Francois Tulikunkiko, Chairman of the Board of the African Diaspora Union for Truth and the Advancement of People of African Descent Inganso Gakondo. «Russia and we need each other. The Russian Federation has always helped African countries when needed, both with money and resources. Now there are about two thousand students from the African continent studying in Russia.
The program of the festival is very rich. Here and presentations of youth programs, and demonstration of scientific potential and higher education in St. Petersburg, and the project «Forum of Africans-graduates of universities in Russia and the USSR» (project FAVRIS), and the action «60 Days of Africa».
And of course, the cultural aspect was not forgotten. There were organized master classes and an exhibition of applied art and art works. So, in Polytechnic University, the festival participants appreciated the exhibition of the Ethiopian artist Tewodros Zeleke, a fourth-year student of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. And everyone especially remembered the incendiary concert program. Incredible dances and colorful African melodies captivated the festival audience.
Youth Festival «Africa in St. Petersburg» is planning to make it an annual event. And it will be held at various universities of the city. It should be added that our country and Africa are united by the traditional ties of friendship. And it is symbolic that in this anniversary year, from 26 to 29 July in St. Petersburg, the second summit Russia-Africa will be held. Polytechnic University will take part in it. The Russia-Africa summit scheduled for the same days will be the most important foreign policy event. And it will give a new impetus to relations with the countries of the continent in the long term.