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Встреча с мэром г. Такэта в Комитете по внешним связям.The St. Petersburg Association for International Cooperation is a unique organization in the sphere of public diplomacy and well-known in the city and abroad. It embraces more than 30 friendship societies and associations for cultural, humanitarian and business cooperation with foreign countries, numerous corporate and individual members representing the whole spectrum of St. Petersburg life – museums, libraries, universities, schools, business companies.

Законодательное собрание Санкт-Петербурга, Вручение пасхального яйца, выполненного по дизайну британского ювелира Тео Фаберже к 400-летию династии Романовых.It works in close contact with the Government of St. Petersburg and the Government of Leningrad Region, St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly, Rossotrudnichestvo, Representative Office of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation in St. Petersburg, consulates and cultural centers of foreign countries in St. Petersburg, non-governmental organizations. The Association participates actively in the projects of the Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg. Long-term and fruitful cooperation with Russian and foreign partner organizations has brought the status of the Association to a high level.

The Association plays a leading role in public diplomacy as a «soft power» and an effective supplement to the efforts of state diplomacy in presenting an appealing image of Russia and St. Petersburg abroad thus breaking down barriers and prejudices and promoting mutual understanding, peace and security.

Генеральный консул КНР г-н Цзи Яньчи вручает подарок Обществу российско-китайской дружбы.

The prestige of the city as dynamic scientific and cultural centre, its multicultural diversity and present day achievements are pursued as general aims of the organization. A number of events are organized to promote Russian culture and the Russian language abroad. It is also a centre for activities of branches and clubs of international organizations such as the English-Speaking Union of Russia, Lions Club «Riona», St. Petersburg «Soroptimist Club International» and Friendship Force.

Венеция. Экспонат выставки детских работ Моя Италия.

The Association for International Cooperation has become a focal point of contacts and exchanges and a centre of many fascinating events, including international festivals, exciting educational projects, creative arts and cultural ventures. The House of Friendship, Association’s headquarters, hosts exhibitions, concerts, conferences on the problems of contemporary concern and issues of international relations. These events help to bring people from different countries together and support international links of the city. Members of the Association can always find activities to meet their interests and expectations.

A comprehensive range of quality programs is delivered to strengthen cooperation with twin-cities of St. Petersburg.

Мастер-класс знаменитой индийской танцовщицы Яшоды Тхакор для членов Общества культурных связей с Индией.

Much attention is paid to involving young people in international activities. Student exchanges, competitions, festivals, scholarships, debating and public speaking events are beneficial for youngsters and help to bring them up as devoted citizens and future leaders, who would contribute to their society and understand better the needs of the world they live in.

Charity programmes are also an important part of the Association’s activities.

This wonderful organization is a unique and vibrant resource for the city academic community, professionals, students interested in exploring any aspect of the sociocultural life of different countries. Enthusiasm and willingness of members support international links of St. Petersburg and attract people from around the world to our beautiful city.

 

Мастер-класс знаменитой индийской танцовщицы Яшоды Тхакор для членов Общества культурных связей с Индией.Антонио Виллани читает главы из романа Итало Кальвино Незримые города.Встреча русских и английских ветеранов полярных конвоев.Делегация Ассоциации гуманитарного сотрудничества с арабскими государствами в Марокко.

 

Traditional Days of Scotland in Saint-Petersburg

January 31 – February 5 (2019)

The 49th Days of Scotland Festival was held in St. Petersburg. Every year this event gives the citizens of St. Petersburg an opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of Scotland, enrich themselves spiritually and culturally. Days of Scotland Festival is an exciting event in the life of the city, which is interesting to all who loves Scottish culture and history.  

The influence of the Scottish culture in St. Petersburg has a great effect. Scots have brought a significant contribution to the development of Russian industry, army, science and medicine.

The main organizers of the Festival are the St. Petersburg Association for International Cooperation and the St. Petersburg Forum (Scotland, Paisley) with the support of the External Relations Committee of St. Petersburg, the Russian National Library, educational and cultural institutions of St. Petersburg and Scotland.

Thanks to the Days of Scotland, the successful cooperation has been formed between the Association for International Cooperation and the St. Petersburg Forum, Robert Burns World Federation. It includes educational, cultural, and charitable projects. As usual Petersburg mass media did a lot to make this event even more popular.

Days of Scotland included wide variety of events.  

The Opening Event

On 31 January, the Opening Ceremony was held at the Russian National Library. After the official opening speeches the exhibition "From James Bruce to present days. Scots in St. Petersburg"  specially prepared by the Library was opened.     

The Days of Scotland Festival is usually held at the end of January, on memorial days when the Siege of Leningrad was lifted. This year, due to the 75th anniversary of the Siege lifting, St. Petersburg History Museum presented a digital copy of Historic Scottish Album to the Scottish delegation. This album is kept in the funds of the museum. It contains the letters of support from Scottish women to the women of besieged Leningrad. Exhibitions and memorial events, organized at school № 207 and gymnasium № 61, reminded about those wartime relations. Friendship between Russia and Scotland went through the centuries, got stronger during the difficult years of the war and continues today. It is very important to remember that glorious page of the history of cooperation.    

Kay Blair, a member of delegation, made a presentation about memorable events in Scotland dedicated to the centenary of the First World War’s ending. Tatyana Emelyanova, the Director of International Programs of the Association for Cooperation with the United Kingdom, spoke about the history of Russian-Scottish relations, paying attention to their influence on the development of St. Petersburg. She emphasized the contribution of Scots to the culture of the city, including industry, medicine and its architectural ensemble.

There was an award ceremony for the Burns Essay Competition winners and for the art competition that was chaired by the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the St.Petersburg Forum Elizabeth Clark.

 Julia Golyshova (gymnasium № 295) got the first place at the Essay Competition. Two other winners ‒ Grigory Kaigorodov and Vladimir Tyulenev ‒ represented the educational center PLS Ketzal.

The first place in the art competition, dedicated to the Scottish artist Charles Mackintosh, was awarded to the painting "A Portrait of My Horse" (Saibel Valeria, school № 75), the second ‒ to "Melancholy" (Kozel Anastasia, school № 263), and the third ‒ to "Stained Glass" (Kravtsova Anna, orphanage № 5).

  

Youth programs

St. Petersburg school students were the main participants of the Days of Scotland Festival. They showed the active interest in Scottish history and culture. School students participated in competitions on the knowledge of Scottish history and culture ‒ wrote essays based on Robert Burns poetry, created paintings in the style of Scottish artists, prepared presentations on the topics proposed by St. Petersburg Forum. School students celebrate the beauty and power of Robert Burns works through the quotations chosen by the Forum and the Robert Burns World Federation.  The Youth Competitions help a lot to develop Scottish-Russian cultural dialogue and school students become ambassadors for Scottish culture and present day developments.

 The participants of Competitions were awarded with gifts and certificates from the St.Petersburg Forum, and the winners with a visit to Scotland. Forum certificates and Special evaluation letters from the Association are very meaningful for portfolios of students and teachers who helped and stimulated them.  

Ceilidh Party

On 1 February, there was a Ceilidh Party in the Scottish style initiated by the Scottish delegation. Both Scottish and Russian participants prepared an interesting Russian-Scottish literary and musical program. The itinerary was very creative and everybody wanted to participate. It was really very natural and easy going dialogue of cultures. Ceilidh Party brought together Scottish Delegation, former competitions winners, members of the Association, friends.

Competitions winners and Association members were happy to meet Scottish friends, speak, discuss news and exchange ideas in friendly atmosphere of a nice cafe chosen by Sasha Bukreev.  New friendships also started. We all want to continue such parties.

The Final of “How well do you know Scotland Competition”

On 2 February, the final of the annual competition "How well do you know Scotland?" was held at school № 193. It gives the opportunity to strengthen and develop cultural and educational relations between Scotland and Russia. This competition involves young people in educational activities and the development of their creative abilities. The participants showed a high level of knowledge of Scotland. It shows the growing interest of youth to the historical and cultural heritage of Scotland. The final of the competition was the ceremony of awarding the winners. Tyukhina Taisiya (school № 46) with the topic "The Battle of Bannockburn" got the first place. Two other winners were Alexander Savinsky (school № 207) with the topic "Robert Burns Parents" and  Daria Leus (gymnasium № 157) with the topic "The Battle of Bannockburn".

We should criticize the School and ourselves for mistakes and failures in organization of the event. The itinerary was prepared by the School in advance and sent to the Association. Prior to this Julia sent the school a pattern of this annual event.

First of all it was the first experience of this school in organizing such event, second the Director’s mother was unexpectedly taken to the Hospital by the ambulance and she couldn’t give instructions to her deputies. We even didn’t know that the Director was not there. We really want to apologize for this event’s poor organization and have to learn a lesson for the future in communicating more closely to a host school if it is a newcomer.

Robert Burns Supper

On 3 February, a traditional Robert Burns Supper was held at the Ambassador Hotel. This event is an integral part of the Days of Scotland. As always the event was accompanied by a dinner of Scottish national dishes prepared by the Catering College that has become a part of the St.Petersburg Polytechnical University.

Tom and Elizabeth Clark with Peter Pringle worked out a perfect programme with traditional speeches in the memory of Robert Burns including in it presentations and concert pieces of Scottish and Russian participants.

Peter Pringle was a President of the event. He made the Immortal Memory Speech, that was a wonderful tribute to Robert Burns - a  national poet of Scotland. He mentioned that people of Scotland know and love him and his poetry is very popular and well translated in Russia. It was also mentioned that the poet`s works reflect and embrace the whole spectrum of human feelings, emotions and philosophy. Peter spoke about poet’s life, his works and quoted a lot of poems. Translation of the speech was prepared by Irina Shabunina.

Members of the Association were very pleased and proud to hear from Kay Blair complimentary words about the efforts of the Association in organizing The Days of Scotland and promoting Scottish Culture among Russian people. Helen Morrison’s Video Message was a perfect addition to Kay’s speech and a present to everybody.

Other Petersburg supporters of the event were also mentioned – The Ambassador Hotel,  The Russian Standard Company, University Polytechnic College.

Scottish Delegation Paid a Special Tribute to the Lifting of the Siege of Leningrad and we thank our Scottish friends for this. Toast to St. Petersburg was made by the Representative of the City Governor, Honorary People’s Actor of the Russian Federation Nikolay Burov.

We should thank Peter Pringle for a Remembrance Tribute to the Lifting of the Siege of Leningrad that was very well thought of and professionally prepared. Scottish and Russian Speakers involved were proud to participate and express their own appreciation of the heroic did of Rissian and British people.

   

Visit to the School Orphanage 46

          Visit to the School-orphanage 46 was interesting, hospitable and very well planned. The concert programme demonstrated talents of school students. It was mainly dedicated to Scotland and we could see that much effort of the Director Lubov Kataeva, teachers and staff was put in the event. The result of such hard work and creative approach could be seen during last years as few students from the school kept winning awards of the Knowledge of Scotland competitions.

The orphanage is very thankful to the St.Petersburg Forum for sponsoring “English in Action programme” for students of the orphanage. This year group though not very big is very active and the teacher Olga Kruglova is pleased with their enthusiasm and positive results. She mentioned that they really like this additional classes. Their marks and evaluations at the school programme have also become higher. Meeting with members of the delegation brought satisfaction to children and they were proud to show their study results. Maybe in future we shall organize some events with the group at the House of Friendship.

After you left we discussed with Olga and the Director a possibility to organize few practical language classes during this school year either with native speakers or with other teachers. We think that children should be able to practice language more with other English Language speakers and to develop ability to communicate.

By the way, Olga Kruglova “English in Action” teacher has recently been awarded with an Honorary Professional Title “The Best Teacher of the Year”.

Many thanks to St.Petersburg Forum for everlasting assistance to the School-Orphanage 46. They highly evaluate your efforts in helping children in need.

Meeting at the Association for International Cooperation

On 4 February, there was a traditional meeting of the Scottish delegation with the participants of joint Russian-Scottish educational, cultural and charitable projects and with the winners of Scottish competitions of the past years. It took place at the House of Friendship. We express a special gratitude to the St. Petersburg Forum, which support educational programs for school students and charitable programs at the orphanage № 40 and № 46.

Young talented performers of the Palace of Youth Creativity prepared a concert for the Scottish guests. We hope that everybody enjoyed this Farewell Party.

 

Being in St. Petersburg, the guests explored further the history of our city. They visited the Military Medical Museum. The main purpose of the visit to the museum was the exhibition dedicated to the Scottish physician James Wylie, the founder of the Military Medical Academy.

The participants visited the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad. They paid a tribute to the citizens of Leningrad who died during the heroic years of the Siege. Members of the delegation laid flowers to the monument. Students from School 207 recited the poetry dedicated to the War time heroes.

The delegation was invited to the "Capellabook" premises, which contains rare editions and a unique collection that opens the way to the mysterious world of the printed book. It really was a discovery and a very interesting visit both to Scottish delegation and Russians.

Scottish delegation also visited the Yusupov and the Stroganov Palaces, as well as the Wax Figures Museum, where they met face-to-face with wax-made figures of famous people and biblical heroes.

Another interesting and new event was the visit to the “Water Museum” where we all got much information about the city water supply and water purification and met extremely dedicated and knowledgeable stuff. The Museum is interested to continue communication and maybe to work out a project with Scottish colleagues in the future. The representative of the Museum came to the meeting at the Association to discuss with Peter a possibility to establish contacts in this field.

The Days of Scotland Festival has become a real holiday for those who loves Russian and Scottish cultures, helping to strengthen the friendly relations.The Days of Scotland are always a starting point for new contacts, cultural and educational projects.

The St. Petersburg Association for International Cooperation is especially grateful to the St. Petersburg Forum for its long-standing contribution to the development of cooperation between St. Petersburg and Scotland and for the organization of the Days of Scotland. Their efforts, boundless energy and good will ensure the continuity of the traditions of friendship between Russia and Scotland.

Our special thanks go to the Trustees of Forum of St. Petersburg.

 

 

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