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Smolensk is a heritage of the region in the historical and cultural space of Russia and Europe

06.12.2013 10:59

Summer School organized by Smolensk State University is directed to students, who study liberal arts, such as history, philology, sociology and political science and experts in the field of international relations, history and culture. The module is multidisciplinary. This School is focused on cross-cultural, linguistic integration through joint reflection and experience of the events of history, the imagery of national and regional culture, traditions.

The content School module consists of three components. They are historical, linguistic (philological) and cultural. However the School offers not only ready-made knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of Russia through a history of the Smolensk region, a special border region linking the countries of old Europe and Russia, but provides the ability to share understanding of the historical, cultural and linguistic heritage in the format of discussion forums, webinars, public lectures and workshops, an extensive excursion program.

Why is it Smolensk? How can the Smolensk region be interesting to the modern German students? And what special competence and experience can they get from this Summer School in Smolensk? It was mentioned in the chronicles in 863 and in 2013 Smolensk celebrated its 1150th anniversary. The renovation of the city for the anniversary became extremely attractive for historical, cultural and educational tourism. In the 9th century Smolensk was the key centre of world trade route "from the Varangians to the Greeks", becoming a major trade, political and cultural centre. For centuries the history of Smolensk related to the military history of Russia. Being a fortress on the western borders of the country the Smolensk region spent more than a century in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and it was a part of the zone of geopolitical interests of Poland. Medieval Smolensk absorbed the culture of the West, combining it with the national cultural, religious and ethnic traditions of Russia. Smolensk suffered heavily from the invasion of Napoleon Bonaparte's troops in 1812. Many of the major battles of the war are associated with the Smolensk province. The other tragic events for the region were the events of the Second World War, the death of tens of thousands of Smolensk citizens on the front and in the period of occupation, the tragedy of Polish army officers murdered in Katyn near Smolensk, and in 1940. All the events made the painful legacy of Smolensk one of the places of the tragic reconciliation memory. Russians and Poles gather for communal prayers in Katyn. In the second half of the XX century Hagen and Dresden became sister cities of Smolensk.

This rich historical and cultural heritage of the Smolensk region, its problems (consideration) in the historical, linguistic and cultural aspect will enrich modern German students, future lawyers and representatives of creative professions.

What experience in organization of educational programs does Smolensk State University have? It was established on November 7, 1918 among the first 8 universities in the Soviet Union, Smolensk State University, the first and backbone University of the Western region of Russia. Today, it realizes the mission of the backbone university centre, which has fundamental scientific and pedagogical potential. The University has a strong scientific school of historians, linguists, sociologists, implementing large science projects. In 2010-2012 the university took part in the European project Tempus IV implementing the project "Network cooperation of partner universities in multilevel system of training and professional development in the field of educational management". Since 2009 the university participates in the all-Russian scientific-educational project "The History of Stalinism" combining the efforts of leading historians, archivists, foundations, and publishers of the recent history of Russia. The university hosted the international scientific conference "History of Stalinism : repressed Russian province". In 2011 it held jointly with the French - Russian Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences in Moscow international Summer School "Stalinism through the eyes of young scientists," it has implemented a big youth research project "The Power - society - the individual in the history of Russia", it founded the scientific-educational center "The history of the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia", where Russia's leading historians of the Russian Academy of Sciences and federal University were involved. The whole experience, infrastructure and specialists will be involved for this School, which will be held with the participation of experts from Germany, France, Poland (in the form of lectures, webinars, round table discussions). We have the necessary agreements.

Smolensk State University has great experience of working with international students. Students from Germany, France and China study Russian here. The university has the staff of experts in the field of foreign languages, especially German and organizes Summer School on a bilingual basis. The university regularly receives foreign delegations and realizes partnership with the University of Hagen. University staff has the necessary linguistic, intercultural competencies. During the work of the School the participants will be assigned by supervisors from among the students of the Faculty of Philology (Department of German Language), which would create the language environment for the participants of barrier-free schools and their stay in Smolensk comfortable.

What will be the content of the educational program of the School? The content of the School will reflect three disciplinary units. They are historical, linguistic and cultural studies. The School participants will get a basic knowledge of the Russian language. Academic studies and traditional lectures and seminars will take half of the module. The second half of the classes will be in an interactive way, webinars and workshops, study tours, film viewings, visits to museums, archives, libraries, theaters, architectural and natural reserves, different levels of education. The complex activities of this group will help the participants of Summer School to form specific communication and general cultural competence, to meet with all the available forms of heritage of the Smolensk region.

The concept "heritage" is the core of the School and serves social and cultural phenomenon and guide the educational model at the same time. There is a complex of historical events, epochs of material evidence, landscape, architectural and estate complexes, various cultural institutions that preserve the memory of the past, design of existing images of the country and the region and determining the cross-cultural cooperation in the field of perception, analysis and learning.

Within the framework of the School the participants will visit the cultural centers of the Smolensk region, such as the estate of outstanding figures of Russian culture Tenishevs, the Cultural Center named after Tenishevs in Smolensk, the estate of the creator of the classical school of Russian music M. Glinka, the Cathedral Church of Assumption.

Smolensk State University is a modern campus. School participants will be accommodated in the new hotel of the university, they will have access to the Internet, be able to enjoy athe sports complex, the library. The location of Smolensk State University is in the historic center of Smolensk within walking distance of the central parks, cafes, shops, monuments of history and culture. We planned an extensive tour program, a visit to the educational and cultural centers, public meetings and communication with students of Smolensk State University, who will create the atmosphere of intercultural communication.



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