International Forum of Foreign Alumni of the Soviet and Russian HE institutions Moscow, May 14-16, 2003 /
The second plenary session
Moscow, May15, 2003
The Forum's participants start discussing recommendations and speeches continue
The floor is given to General Director of INCORVUZ-XXI - the International Coordination Council of Alumni - Gennady Dmitrievich Kaluzhny.
Esteemed friends, first of all I should like to express my deep gratitude to Vladimir Mikhailovich Filippov for his decisive role on organizing this Forum. As a member of the Organizing Committee I know how all this work went - it was supervised and sometimes it was hard on the staff responsible for the Forum's preparation.
Maybe it is due to the fact that Vladimir Vladimirovich attended the alumni's first regional meeting in Lebanon, or because he was at some point in time the RUDN rector and before that - a student and alumnus of this international institution of higher learning. Anyway, he demonstrates a public approach to the issues of cooperation with foreign alumni.
A big thank you to him and the staff of the RF Ministry for Education, Roszharubezhcentr and other colleagues. But, most importantly, to you - the alumni - for coming here. You have spent rather big money, maybe your own money. But you have come, though you are busy and there are personal matters to attend to et cetera. This shows that the alumni of the Russian (Soviet) institutions of higher learning are one big family, one big fraternity. And as such, we are concerned with the same issues.
Here is an interesting point. Our official statistics figure is 700 thousand alumni. Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova who chaired a session yesterday said: "Excuse me, Gurragchaa, the Minster of Defense of Mongolia and cosmonaut graduated from a military educational institution". And this started me thinking for we had never factored in the statistics of the military schools alumni, or added them to the alumni of the vocational and technical training system, or short-term courses for qualification upgrading and apprenticeship. But if we add all this together, we can safely say that there about a million alumni of the Soviet and Russian educational system in the world.
There are 60 alumni national associations in the world today, but we are also happy to welcome those from countries with no national associations or amalgamations. Perhaps, the experience of other countries' associations, some of which are over thirty years old, will serve as a good example to follow and create new associations in near future.
We thank all those who, during these days, has spoken kindly about the INCORVUZ-XXI which currently unities 17 alumni associations. I am sure that, based on the meetings we have had, the ranks of INCORVUZ-XXI will grow.
The Forum has identified new tasks for us. And the sections' recommendations we have just heard testify to this. And now we have to think how to translate them into reality. The efforts of INCORVUZ-XXI are clearly not enough, given a lack of adequate material and financial resources. However, we are eager to work and brimming with ideas and enthusiasm. However, joint efforts are needed - something that has been mentioned in the resolutions and interventions today. I mean joint efforts of the NGOs, associations and individual alumni.
We are glad that the Forum's participants have supported the idea - also endorsed by the Ministry's for Education - to set up a Foundation for alumni cooperation put forward by INCORVUZ-XXI and the Association of the friends of the Peoples' Friendship University. If this proposal is included in the Forum's final documents we need to do a lot in this area.
Maybe other alumni clubs will join in such Foundation's efforts: the Moscow Energy Institute, the MGIMO, the Moscow University and the Voronezh State University. These are fairly big potentialities to be used in embarking on this work. We hope that the other CIS countries will not stand aloof, especially, since the education Ministers from the CIS countries have participated in the Forum.
Today's recommendations are full of valuable ideas. And I should like to thank the working group headed by Dmitry Petovich Bilibin which has incorporated all sections' proposals in a single document. Not everything is included in the Forum's Recommendations, of course. Chin Chang - Our Vietnamese friend of long standing - who spoke at yesterday's session held at the House of Friendship, proposed that a Foreign Alumni Center be set up in Moscow.
And he did not just make this proposal but gave assurances that, if other alumni associations, the Moscow and the Federal authorities supported the idea, the Vietnamese side would be willing to contribute to the creation of such a Center. And then, it would be easier, perhaps, to resolve many issues spelled out in the Recommendations.
Many valuable and interesting ideas have been expressed at the Forum, we have taken them down and will gather at the INCORVUZ-XXI to analyze them as well as the other interesting ones not included in the Recommendations. At least, I am sure that the practice of regional meetings will continue, for their value is evident.
It is worth mentioning, by the way, that the Third Pan-Arabic meeting set up the Union of Arab Alumni Associations. And already the first steps taken by the Union deserve praise and support. Maybe, similar regional unions will be created at future regional meetings in Asia, Europe and Latin America. I'll venture to make a joke: I think that things will happen much faster in Europe given the energy of our Greek friend Xantopulos.
Ahead is the anniversary meeting at the MGU and a reunion of alumni of the Saint Petersburg HE institutions scheduled for autumn. The Moscow Energy Institute has just held one.
All of you know that heads of states, governments, ministers, public figures and scholars from many countries sent their greetings to the Forum. This, as well as the participation of President of Russia V. V. Putin demonstrates that we are doing important work which meets the interests of many countries and peoples.
Esteemed friends! I want to assure you that the higher educational institutions which you graduated from - your alma mater - is not limited to the faculty members, but it includes your former classmates and friends who remember you, rejoice in your success and share your feeling.
The professional, scientific and friendly relations and ties you forged during your studies are not so much the training outcome, like the knowledge you gained, but rather a basis for each alumnus' development as a professional and individual.
During your studies you did not just gain knowledge but also shared your cultural wealth, historic heritage and the national traditions of your people with the peoples of the host republics.
On the other hand, you went back to your home countries enriched not only with professional knowledge, but also a deep understanding of the host countries' peoples. This understanding was very often filled with love and gratitude, which you have generously shared with your colleagues, friends, family and acquaintances back home.
I wish you and all alumni professional success for the benefit of your countries and peoples. I wish you the best of everything and I hope for a broader cooperation.
The floor is given Academician Baataryn Chadraa, alumnus of the Moscow State University, class 1963, Member of the Great Khural, President of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Rector of the Ulan-Bator State University.
It is a great honor for me to say a few words from this loftiest of the world's rostra. First of all, I'd like to say that all Mongolian alumni who studied in Russia and the alumni for all countries participating in this Forum share my opinion in that we want express our gratitude and thank Russia in a big way. We boldly and honestly do our work for the benefit of our people.
It is exactly 40 years ago that I graduated from the Physics Department of this great University. Since then and thanks to the excellent education, a vast and priceless knowledge I have spoken to many audiences on issues of science and education. But I have never expected to be speaking from such a lofty rostrum. It is a great honor for me!
When I studied at the MGU, I was lucky to see and listen to the first man on Earth who had just returned from space - Yuri Gagarin; the greatest man on Earth - Jawaharlal Nehru; the great Mao Tse- Tung, Nikita Sergeevich Khruschev, as well as the great scientists of the world - Niels Bohr, Igor Kurchatov, my professor Lev Landau and many others.
I often compare Russian education with that in many countries of the world and see that graduates of Russian Universities quickly find jobs in all world intellectual markets. And it takes all other graduates, especially in the Western countries, longer to find employment. I am very grateful that it is precisely here, in Russia that your scholars selflessly transfer their knowledge and expertise to us, their students.
We have just reached a common opinion that we will approve the Final document of our remarkable Forum organized by Russia. We all promise to honorably implement this document's provisions in our respective countries. I believe that the document is the behest of our Russian professors as to what we should do in our countries in the coming four years to bring our people closer to the great people of Russia and how we should do it.
The Mongolian delegation wants to thank, first of all, the Forum's organizers - the Russian leaders, the Russian government, and the Russian scientific and educational institutions. We should like to thank you for the excellent way the Forum is organized. I'd like to take this opportunity and say that from this day on we will be working in closer cooperation.
All of us have come to realized that the world is in our hands when the Russian leadership and the Russian people support us.
We will work hard for the benefit of our people and the benefit of the entire world.
The floor is given to Elio Gomez (Cuba) - head of the European department, the Peoples' Friendship Institute, graduate of the Azerbaijan State University, class of 1985.
Let me on behalf of the Cuban Government and the people of Cuba express our gratitude for the invitation to this important international meeting of the alumni of the Soviet and Russian educational institutions. The friendship between the Cuban and Russian people has a hundred years record. After the victory of the Cuban revolution on January 1, 1959 the relations between the Cuban and Soviet governments have changed, for since then they have been based on socialist principles.
Thousands of young Cubans have got secondary and higher education and graduated various educational institutions of the former USSR; they have become highly qualified specialists able to implement social and economic transformations on our island.
Apart from this, thousands of Soviet experts and advisors came to Cuba to help create a new society, which had cast the yoke of a century-long exploitation, hunger and backwardness. The Cuban people will always be grateful for the international assistance which the army and the people of the Soviet Union rendered us during the Caribbean Crisis in October 1962, when forty thousand Soviet officers and soldiers were stationed in Cuba defending our Motherland, ready to sacrifice their lives for her sake, if need be.
The ties between our countries grew increasingly diversified and comprehensive. In those years a true brotherhood was born which took root in every Cuban's heart. Following the changes which occurred in the 1990s, today's current relations between Russia and Cuba are based on the traditional ties and brotherhood forged during 30 years; they are characterized by mutual respect, willingness to develop in all areas in the new environment.
We, graduates of various educational institutions of Russia and the USSR have internalized not only this country's high scientific and cultural dimension, but friendship, the spiritual and highly humane values of the society which accepted us as its own children.
Only short-sighted politicians fail to fully appreciate the contribution the peoples of Russia and the other republics of the former Soviet Union have made to the development of many peoples of the world. Cuba believes that this contribution is invaluable. It is due to this capital that Cuba has enjoyed impressive social and humanistic progress over the last forty years.
Due to out state's tremendous efforts and in spite of the genocide and the criminal blockade - the longest in human history - our country boasts indices comparable with those of the developed countries today. The high cultural, scientific and general intellectual potential of our experts - many of them trained in your country - enables Cuba to render modest assistance to many Latin American countries in various areas, mostly medicine and education. Over three thousand Cuban doctors work in the remotest locations of different continents.
Thousands of foreign students are now trained in our country free of charge, mostly at the Latin American Medical School and the International Physical Culture Institute. Since 1992, Cuba has implemented a plan for medical assistance to Ukrainian children - victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster - with 17 thousand children rehabilitated so far under this program.
We see an entirely different and deplorable picture in the irrational world where a frantic arms race results in huge amounts of money used to create 'smart' bombs which kill, destroy and mutilate scores of poor and illiterate people. This money could be used to develop the humankind's intellectual potential, eradicate poverty and illiteracy.
Dear friends, college and work mates, we cannot but declare again at this plenary session, that Cuba is in danger. A dirty campaign is waged in the mass media to create the environment which would justify a military aggression. We will not let anyone confuse us, for tomorrow it may be somebody else's turn. Our truth will be our weapon.
Humankind's survival depends on humankind itself. The way to survival, by what ways and means - this is the great dilemma facing humankind today. We will either unite or sink.
The world has changed. The Russian and world realities are different today. But we always remember the unfailing friendship and solidarity invariably manifested under the challenging historic circumstances our revolution had to live through.
The floor is given to Santosha Nand Mishra (Nepal) - Director of the Nepal Energy Company, Vice-president of the Nepal Alumni Association, graduate of the Volgograd Polytechnic Institute, class of 1970.
Santosha Nand Mishra
Let me welcome you at the alumni international Forum on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Mitra Kunj (Friends' Club) Association and 5 thousand Nepali alumni of the Soviet and Russian HE Institutions and the delegates from Nepal present her.
We have looked forward to and prepared for this day for almost a year - to come here and meet our old friends - burevestniks. Like our delegation members and many of our friends - burevestniks from other countries - I believe that this international meeting is very important, for it provides an opportunity to discuss topical issues.
Since graduation from the Soviet HE institutions, most of us lived through many difficulties back in our home countries. We have suffered many ordeals and got wiser and more experienced. Over the last decade, the world political environment has undergone dramatic changes which continue to impact on the status of the Soviet and Russian HE institutions' alumni. Living and working in their countries has become somewhat easier for the alumni.
They say, that History teaches us lessons through our own life experience. We have gathered in this hall today to discuss various burning issues and share our views, based on our experience, to step up our future cooperation with like-minded people in different countries of the world.
Mitra Kunj and the Nepali alumni made an important step in this direction - they organized, in March 2000, the First Asian meeting of the USSR and CIS alumni's associations. Held in Katmandu, it was devoted to The Role of the CIS HE institutions and their alumni in the Asian countries' development in the Third Millennium.
Among the active participants in the discussions of burning issues were spokespersons for the associations, alumni from Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, Cambodia, China, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Japan as well from the Roszarubezhcentr, the INCORVUZ and the RUDN. The document you are holding in your hands is the Katmandu Declaration adopted at the First Asian meeting. It is also essential here today, for it contains many topical points which are on the Forum's agenda.
And now a few words about the role of the alumni -members of Mitra Kunj - in Nepal's progress.
Our graduates worked shoulder to shoulder with the technical experts at the facilities built in Nepal with the Soviet assistance. The Nepal alumni continue to make a substantial contribution to Nepal's economic and technical progress. They also help strengthen economic and technical ties with Russia and actively promote peace on Earth at various international fora.
Our organization will turn 36 on May 18, 2003. The Mitra Kunj members hold high public positions in Nepal: they head ministries, departments, Universities, institutes, colleges, hospitals and industrial enterprises. They are also active in the private sector working in managerial positions.
Mister Dipak Gyavali, the Minister for Water Resources of Nepal, is here today a member of our delegation. He graduated from the Moscow Energy Institute in 1978.
During 35 years of fighting for survival, Mitra Kunj has earned the respect with the Nepali Government and people. We thank you for this, dear and esteemed peoples of Russia and the former Soviet Union. The international situation has significantly changed over the last years and this exerts a huge influence on the countries' economic progress. Today, the world economy is influenced by many factors, among them cooperation between countries on a mutually beneficial basis.
Nepal is a small country in the Himalayas, but it also boasts a potential to advance mutually beneficial economic cooperation with Russia in such areas as tourism, hydropower generation, construction, cement and pharmaceuticals manufacturing, trade, education, healthcare, technology imports from Russia, etc.
We were students in bygone days, but now we are mature, knowledgeable experts, capable to contribute, in different ways, to the improvement and strengthening of relations between our countries. Young Russian entrepreneurs should be aware that world business operates on the basis of transparent competition.
Every country has its own specifics, rules of business conduct which should be taken into account. And this is precisely where foreign alumni can assist Russian businessmen; all of us are ready to help on mutually beneficial terms.
One of the key targets of our Forum is to discuss in detail the ways to further cooperation between the alumni living in different countries. Mitra Kunj maintains close ties with the Roszarubezhcentr, the INCORVUZ-XXI, the Russian HE institutions, the RF Ministry of Education, the Russian Society for Friendship and Cooperation with Nepal and the RUDN. Ongoing business contacts are maintained in the spirit of mutual understanding thus making our work easier and more efficient. I am sure that such work is a source of energy and inspiration for serving the needs of our respective countries.
To wrap up, on behalf of the Nepali delegation and the Mitra Kunj members I thank the Russian government, the Roszarubezhcentr, the INCORVUZ-XXI and the Organizing Committee for arranging this Forum and for inviting us to this high-profile international meeting of alumni, for the excellent conditions which contribute to the Forum's success.
The floor is given to V. S. Sergeev, President of the Association of Friends of the Russian Peoples' Friendship University.
V. S. Sergeev
Today is the third and final day of the momentous event - the first-in-history World Forum of the foreign alumni of the Russian (Soviet) HE institutions. Of course, the participants were happy to look back at their youth and the best period of our lives which our University days were.
But we have not gathered here just because of nostalgia and a desire to feel younger. Most participants to the Forum maintain business and friendly ties with Russia, with the countries of the post-Soviet space where they got their start in life. Many alumni of the Russian (Soviet) HE institutions have successfully built on this start having reached key positions in the political, public and professional spheres in their countries.
The foreign alumni's potential is not limited to the positions they hold, it also embraces a desire for self-perfection and willingness to be useful for their countries, alma mater and friends. One can draw this conclusion after the intense and sincere discussions and interventions both at the Forum's sessions and in the friendly get-togethers. And many agree that this potential should be used more efficiently.
Everything seems to go as it should - national associations of Russian (Soviet) HE institutions alumni are set up and start developing. Such organizations as Roszarubezhcentr, INCORVUZ-XXI, the Association of the RUDN's friends and others play a significant role in this process, however, their interaction and interface needs to be improved as it is not systemic.
Some functions overlap and, conversely, there are gaps today in furthering some streams of activity, for example, such as business and scientific cooperation, technology sharing, external economic activity, etc. I hope you will agree that, with the right coordination and interaction, the number of joint economic projects and investments raised can be substantially increased thus boosting our countries' progress.
Many participants to the Forum have expressed an opinion that setting up a Foundation for cooperation between the Russian (Soviet) HE institutions' alumni will facilitate the attainment of such objectives. The Foundation could, with the assistance of the above organizations, coordinate all areas of cooperation and secure the agencies' interface in the identification and resolution of fresh objectives.
The Foundation's efficiency will, doubtless, depend on the interaction between our countries' governments, business and political circles. Clearly, the tasks to be addressed should be identified based on reasonableness and the available potential. The Foundation should not seek to address the so-called world-scale economic, political and scientific issues, especially while it is still in the making, but start with local and specific ones, without getting carried away by the ideas of a world revolution or a 'great leap forward' in industry.
If we are determined to go ahead with this idea, such a Foundation can be set up, drawing on the expertise of the above organizations, within the shortest possible time frame. We would welcome the participation of such 'greats' of education and science as the MGU, the RUDN, the MGIMO, the MEI and others.
In conclusion, I want to thank President Putin, the government of Russia and the Ministry for Education for having supported the idea of a World Forum.
I wish to specially mention the personal contribution by Minister for Education Vladimir Mikhailovich Filippov to making this Forum become a reality. But we ask you Vladimir Mikhailovich, not to let us stop half-way and help us to address the issues you have heard so much about during this event.
The floor is given to Khaled Arikat (Palestine) - General Director of the Department, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Palestine, who graduated from the post-graduate course of the Institute of State and Law, the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1988
First of all, I should like to thank the government of the Russian Federation and the Russian people for their invitation to participate in the World Forum of the Russian (Soviet) HE institutions' foreign alumni. We are also very grateful to the Forum's organizers.
Let me convey greetings to the Forum's participants from the fighting people of Palestine, its lawful leadership and personally from President Yasir Arafat.
These greetings come from the people waging, in the twenty first century, a continued and valiant battle against suppression by the Israeli occupants, protecting its lawful rights, set forth and confirmed at the international level. First of all, the Palestinians struggle for the right to put an end to the occupation and create an independent Palestinian state which will ensure security, stability and peace in the Middle East.
The Palestinian people currently live under the worst conditions of the occupation and look to the peoples of your countries and all nations with a hope for a true solidarity, unity and concerted efforts to help enforce the rights and achievements of the Palestinian people confirmed by international law.
Our heroic and creative people deserve a truly independent state like all other peoples of the world. It will be a modern democratic one uniting all sons and daughters of the Palestinian people; it will play an efficient role in achieving enduring security and stability in the region thus putting an end to the longstanding occupation.
It is for this sake that the Palestinian people consented to have talks with Israel and sign the peaceful settlement agreements which, unfortunately, have not been a success due to Israel's failure to honor all commitments under the agreements and the change in the negotiations' course from the transition to the final stage the way it worked out at Camp David.
The situation has seriously aggravated and the tension has increased - this is a logical result of the Israeli policy of oppression of the Palestinian citizens which involves political murders and arrests, extermination of innocent adults and children, destruction of houses and trees, confiscation of the Palestinian lands, blockades of the Palestinian cities in violation of all norms and rules of international law.
Against this background, the friends and brothers of the Palestinian people make concerted efforts to alleviate the Palestinians' suffering. And we respond by our willingness to cooperate with everybody who facilitates resolution of this issue, who makes proposals and new plans.
One of the latest proposals is the Road Map. It has been put forward by the Four-Party Commission with Russia as a key player in drafting the document. The Palestinian side insists that a mechanism for the Road Map implementation be designed. Unfortunately, we have not so far received a positive response from the Israel.
We greatly appreciate Russia's principled and consistent policy in supporting the Palestinian people's struggle for the exercise of its national rights confirmed by international law. At all levels, Russia has always stood for an equitable solution of the Palestinian issue and establishing peace in the Middle East.
We strive to put an end to the occupation and realize the idea of creating a Palestinian state, at the same time we seek to strengthen our friendly ties with your country and your people and promote these relations at all levels and in all areas - cultural, public, economic, political, etc.
We have enjoyed longstanding and strong relations with your country which has provided continued moral and material support to our people. Russia has always stood on the side of the Palestinian people and helped it through all its trials. And one type of such support is the training, in your country, of Palestinian experts of which we have many back home.
They also hold high positions in the country including the incumbent Prime minister as well as outside Palestine. One can say that the alumni of the Soviet and Russian HE institutions are well represented in Palestine's public life and the Arab countries' societies as a whole.
This testifies to the high prestige of the Russian institutes and universities and the culture the students absorb in your learning institutions. Due to the mutual penetration of cultures, a whole generation of Palestinians has emerged for which Russian has become their first language.
The Palestinian Association of Russian HE institutions' alumni currently operates as part of the Palestine-Russia Friendship Society seeking to step up its efforts which have weakened due to the gravest conditions in the region as a whole and Palestine itself. That is why I want to assure you that we fully endorse the objective and constructive proposals our colleagues have put forward at this Forum which will also serve the interests of the Palestinian alumni of the Russian HE institutions.
We support the peoples of the Arab countries and, first of all, the people of Iraq whose problem should be resolved through the United Nations Organization and the UN Security Council. The occupational forces should leave Iraq's territory, and the issue of the occupied territories in other countries of the region - Syria, Lebanon and Palestine - should also be addressed. This needs to be done in a peaceful way, on the basis of international law and the numerous resolutions of the international organizations and fora like the UN and its Security Council.
The speaker hands Palestine's symbol to the Presidium.
An Israeli spokesperson lodged an official protest by its delegation against the 'attempts of individual delegates to turn the Forum into a political discussions arena'.
The floor is given to Pallekande Ratanacara Tero (Sri Lanka) - Deputy Chairman of the Sri-Lanka- Russian Friendship Society, alumni of the Patrice Lemma Peoples' Friendship University, class of 1980.
Pallekande Ratanacara Tero
First of all, allow me, on behalf of the alumni delegation from the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri-Lanka to express our gratitude to the organizers of the Forum of the Soviet and Russian HE institutions' alumni for the opportunity to come to Moscow and participate in this high profile assembly.
In opening this assembly, the rector of the Moscow State University pointed out that students and great people of Russia and other countries had been trained at the MGU for 250 years. I hope that Victor Antonovich will not get angry, if I say that it will go down in history that over half this Forum's participants as well as the Minister for Higher education of Russia are alumni of the Peoples' Friendship University. I believe that some time in future, the President of Russia will be trained at the Russian Peoples' Friendship University. I think this will happen some day!
Sri Lanka is a very small country But is boasts about three thousand alumni of the Russian HE institutions. After getting higher education in the Soviet Universities, they work for the benefit of their Motherland. They had, of course, to overcome great difficulties at the beginning, but they were not idle. As we all know Russia taught us how to 'make porridge out of an ax'. Sri Lanka alumni, uniting under a single association, have fought the government bureaucracy to get our diplomas recognized.
Our medics and other experts have managed to get good positions in the national economy and culture of Sri Lanka. That is why our people and the government hold alumni of the Soviet HE institutions in high esteem. And this is borne out by the fact that the alumni work for many departments, agencies as first secretaries, department managers and head doctors in the country' central hospitals. They do not just work but also actively improve and expand their knowledge.
The alumni get together at their center to share views, experience and help each other. Working hard in their own country, they do not forget their second Motherland. That is why many of them are active members of the Sri Lanka-Russia Friendship Society, they send delegations to Russia and host their friends from this great country.
I should like to take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude to the Russian people, the former Soviet people for the huge help and kindness they extended to us during our studies in Moscow and other cities.
I can tell you a story, for example. I had a monk's toga which I wore both in summer and winter. Once when there was already snow, I was standing at a bus stop in Volgin street. And a babushka came up to me and said: 'Oh, son, do you think you are in your home country? Aren't you cold? Take this, please'. And she took off her scarf and gave it to me. Tell me, in what other country a babushka would do this?'
A have been to over 50 countries but nowhere else I was treated this way! This Russian woman realized that that we were children living in a strange country, with no mother or relatives nearby, and that was why Russian should become our relatives and mothers. This is how simple Russian folks treated us - they gave their hearts to us. That is why we cannot forget this help and we are very grateful to you, dear Russians!
The Soviet Union and Russia have always been out true friends and allies. Their assistance in our country's economic and cultural progress has been enormous.
Sri Lanka is the only country to have sent Buddhist monks to study in the Soviet Union, though many believed that a religious person could be trained in a higher educational institution. But our government and clergy supported the Soviet Union and sent monks to study in secular, not religious HE institutions. And in 1958, the first Buddhist monk was even awarded the Lenin Prize for peace and establishing friendly relations with the Soviet Union.
I believe that studies in a secular HE institution promoted an all-round development of the individual, this is precisely why I managed to become a member of the Board of the Buddhist clergy in my home country. The Buddhist clergy greatly values the contribution made by the Soviet HE institutions, including the Peoples' Friendship University. That is why, in honor of the University's 40th anniversary, it awarded the RUDN with the highest religious order.
Today's generation perfectly grasps the situation that has taken shape in the world today. And as a person concerned with the state of contemporary world I will briefly touch on this subject. Russia as a great country does not seek to establish its own world order or dictate its terms to others. It is important for us that Russia be our reliable friend and partner. Many thought that after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russia would weaken and lose its influence on world events. This is not the case. In our country we say: 'Though the elephant has lost weight, you still cannot wash him in a wash-basin'.
Being your friends, we believe that Russia will overcome all challenges it is facing and will become a great and mighty power. I do not think there another country in the world which could gather together so many of its pupils, or there is any other country capable to hold such an international forum without interpreters.
Only Russia -a great power - promotes spiritual development of the individual and now increased numbers of young people seek to do Oriental studies. And it is not by chance that it is precisely today that we are celebrating the birthday of Nepali people's great son and the philosopher who belongs to the world civilization, our teacher Buddha.
On behalf of our delegation, comprised of the most active alumni, we express our gratitude to the Russian leadership for the opportunity to speak at this Forum.
The floor is given to Siksto Diaz Belido (Peru) - President of the Peruvian Alumni Association, the Peoples' Friendship University graduate, class of 1982.
Siksto Diaz Belido
In summing up the results of this highly successful assembly and on behalf of the Peruvian delegation, I express our deep gratitude to the Forum's organizers and the Government of the Russian Federation for the warm welcome and making us feel at home, the way we did many years ago. We will take back home many impressions to share with our families, friend and colleagues. And we hope that there will be many such meetings to come.
The floor is given to Issa Dabbakh (Jordan) - Chairperson of the Jordanian Alumni Club, Graduate of the Peoples' Friendship University, class of 1966, and the post-graduate course at the Moscow State University.
This is not my first time in this hall. In my University days I danced and sang on this stage, but I have never thought that a day will come when I will be addressing the high-profile alumni of the Soviet and Russian HE institutions, my Rector, the Minister of Education and three cosmonauts from the MGU historic stage!
I came to this country thanks to the selfless international assistance of the Soviet people. If had not got my education here, I would not have got it anywhere. Unfortunately, I have failed to afford such an opportunity to my children due to the situation which emerged in our country in the early 1990s.
But at least I gave them Russian names. The only boy in Jordan named Vladimir is my son. And my daughter Tatiana is here today and it is her first time in Moscow. And at least I have passed on to them my love for the great Russian people, the entire humankind and peace.
Dear friend and colleagues - alumni of the Soviet and Russian HE institutions from over 130 countries of the world! I am overjoyed about this Forum and our get-together. On behalf of over 15 thousand Jordanian alumni, on behalf of thousands of alumni from the Arab countries I wish to say a big thank you to the dear Russian people, great Russia, the Russian land, the Russian scholars and professors, the Russian science and the great, mighty and free Russian language!
We will always remember the wonderful words by Vladimir Mayakovsky: 'I will sing praises to my Motherland, my republic born in hard work and fighting as humankind's spring!' Mayakovsky's words mean that we, like our peoples, want to see a great and prosperous Russia full of spirituality.
We have come from the Arab countries which were divided by colonialism. Our brothers from Iraq could not make to the Forum, as the USA has annihilated Iraq, it has destroyed its state system, burnt the National library, looted the National museum housing exhibits -which belonged to an 8-thousand years-old civilization.
It is clear that the USA is out to enslave Iraq the way the colonial powers did in the past. They want to get hold of Iraq's oil - its national wealth and financial resource. The US wants the Iraqis to shape their lives at the US will and see exclusively US companies rebuild it.
The US has promised that Iraq will become a democracy model for the entire Arab world. We know the US 'democracy' all too well. It is of the type under Shah of Iran, Marcos and Sukharto, Franco, Salazar, Pinochet et cetera. It is a democracy of apartheid and genocide.
It is no surprise that I also want to dwell on the tragedy of the Palestinian people, for my people are mostly Palestinian refugees. You are well familiar with the policy of state terrorism which Israel enforces against the Palestinian people, including innocent children, women and old people by tanks, missiles, aircraft and Apache helicopters.
The Israeli soldiers blow up houses, uproot gardens grown by many generations, take over the Palestinian lands to build settlements. They have even turned Zemlya Mosckovii - a property in Jerusalem's center owned by the Russian Orthodox - into a prison which the Israelis have nicknamed Moscovia Prison.
The UNO has adopted over two hundred resolutions - many of them endorsed by the US - on the rights of the Palestinian people. However, Israel with the US assistance, has up till now refused to implement these resolutions whose implementation would lead to peace in the Middle East.
Israel claims that his security is in danger, though the country has been turned into a depot for advanced US military hardware, the one holding hundreds US nuclear bombs while its civilian population is under arms. Israel's security is in danger, but at the same time, the lands of Palestine, Lebanon and Syria continue to be occupied.
The Palestinian people are fighting for liberation of their land from the Israeli occupation. Over five million Palestinian are refugees forced to seek asylum in various countries of the world, primarily in Jordan. Israel is hampering their lawful return to the native land.
In fighting against the Israeli aggression, the Palestinians exercise their natural and lawful right. They draw inspiration from the heroic combat of the Soviet and the French peoples against the Nazi occupation, the combat of the Vietnamese people against the Japanese, French and US occupation. They are inspired by the combat of all peoples against aggression and occupation.
How can anyone claim that the Palestinian people will resign themselves to the Israeli occupation of their country? Resistance to the Israeli occupation is every Palestinian's duty and the entire humankind supports this just struggle.
We urge our friends - the people of Russia - to strengthen cooperation and co-ordination with the Arab world and support the Arabs' just cause. We realize that Russia is not the Soviet Union. However, Russia and the Arabs have common interests today as well. We should jointly act against the US hegemony over the world. The US domination causes damage to all countries and peoples, that's why we join force, first of all in economic terms, as well as in the areas of human rights and democracy.
We are very hard hit by the absence of the Russian cultural center in Jordan closed down soon after the disintegration of the USSR. Our country boasts over 15 thousand alumni of the Russian and Soviet HE institutions; apart from this, over 5 thousand Russian women married to Jordanians, as well as their children and grandchildren live there.
We have a vested interest in maintaining scientific, cultural, social and personal ties with Russia. And launching a Russian cultural center in Amman will be the best way in this direction. We - alumni living in different countries of the world - need Russian language publications to enable us to read about the latest achievements and news in various fields of Russian science, culture and economy.
We ask for the entry procedure to Russia for alumni of the Russian HE institutions to be simplified. We want to see more Jordanian subjects come to study in Russia, though we realize that education has mostly become fee-paying. We request that stipends be made available to the children of Russian HE institutions' alumni.
Though alumni of the Soviet and Russian HE institutions are to a certain extent discriminated against in Jordan, many of them have been very successful in serving their country in various fields. They are to be found in public service, the army in production and agriculture as well as medicine, engineering, business et cetera. There are university professors, renowned figures in culture and arts among the alumni.
We have launched the Ibn Sina Club uniting the Soviet and Russian HE institutions' alumni; we maintain close contacts with the Russian Embassy and celebrate the red letter days of our countries together.
Boasting a long record, the Jordanian-Russian Friendship Society continues to do extensive work. There is the Women's Club of literature fans in Jordan. Last year witnessed the creation of the Pan-Arabic Society of the Russian and Soviet HE institutions' alumni and we hold conferences in its framework every year with sizeable Russian delegations invited.
We have recently launched the Society of Jordanian doctors-alumni of the Russian and Soviet HE institutions. Its plans to hold the first Jordanian - Russian seminar in Amman shortly where Russian experts will be invited. We put energetic and concerted efforts in strengthening all-round relations with Russia.
We are deeply grateful to the World Forum's organizers and hope to see this tradition continued in future. Our special thanks go to the Minister of Education of Russia, the INCORVUZ-XXI, and the RF Ministry for Foreign Affairs for their assistance. We are very glad to be in close-to-our-hearts Russia and look forward to the forthcoming meetings with our colleagues and friends from different countries of the world.
Esteemed Minister, let me give you and the Rector of the Moscow State University and Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova some modest souvenirs hand made by Jordanian craftsmen.
Sourse: The Proceedings of the World Forum of Foreign Alumni of Russian (Soviet) Higher Educational Institutions
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