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

22.01.2015 14:50

"Smolensk is a heritage of the region in the historical and cultural space of Russia and Europe"
August 24th - September 6th, 2015

1. Target groups

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.

2. The concept "heritage"

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.

3. Why Smolensk region?

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.

4. International experience of the university

What experience in organization of educational programs does Smolensk State University have? 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. In 2013-2014 Smolensk State University arranged Summer Schools and refresher courses for Polish students, undergraduates and postgraduates. These projects were devoted to identification of the role of the Russian language in cross-cultural communication. In 2014 our university became an organizer of the Union State competition among school children "Russia and Belarus: historical and spiritual community", where more than 150 foreign guests had been invited.

5. Summer School "Go-East 2014"

Summer School aroused great interest among the participants and served as an incentive for them to explore further the image of Russia. The responses were positive. The course participants were pleased with a friendly welcome. According to them, Summer School in Smolensk "enriched their historical, social, cultural and linguistic knowledge and skills", "they returned home with positive impressions of Smolensk". One of the participants said: "It is obvious that the organizational work was invested with a part of the soul". Summer School stages and its results were reported on local TV and other media sources.

6. Summer School content 2015

a) Module structure

The module is multidisciplinary. It consists of three components. They are history, language and culturology. There are also classes in the Russian language. The program consists of academic classes (lectures and seminars) and interactive events, webinars and workshops, educational tours, film shows. Participants will visit museums, archives, libraries, theaters, architectural reserves, and educational institutions. This will allow the participants of Summer School to expand communicative and cultural competence and literally touch the cultural heritage of Smolensk.

b) Russian course

Russian course will help participants to adapt to the new linguistic, communicative and discursive environment. We have developed educational programs for both beginners and for advanced study of the Russian language. Participants will become familiar with the various aspects of the Russian language (phonetics, vocabulary, grammar, syntax), especially functional styles (scientific, journalistic, conversational style). One of the main objectives of the Russian course is the presentation of effective learning strategies that will enable participants to independently continue the study of language after this Summer School.

c) Project work

Project work consists in research and development of the concept dedicated to a specific aspect of Russian cultural and historical heritage using available information resources. Performing this task is possible with a variety of perspectives. It will reveal the similarities and differences at the objectification of the basic concepts of the communication sphere. An important fact is that participants are free to decide how to develop academic problematics. Participants also choose their own theme for the presentation and methodology. The main sources of the "inspiration" concept are folklore, literature, art, cinema, etc.

d) Cultural program

The cultural program of Summer School is diverse and includes the following activities: visiting ultural enters of the Smolensk region (the estate of prominent representatives of Russian culture V. Tenishev and M. Tenisheva, Culture and Expo Center named after the Tenishevs, the estate of the Russian writer Aleksandr Griboedov), visit to the legendary fortress wall, the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, etc. Working up of educational and cultural programs shall be based on the following important events in 2015:


- The Cross-Year of the German language and German literature in Russia and the Year of the Russian language and Russian literature in Germany;

- 70 anniversary of the end of World War II;

- 105 years since the birth of the Russian poet, honorary citizen of Smolensk Aleksandr Tvardovsky;

- 220 years since the birth of Russian playwright Aleksandr Griboedov;

- 1200 years since the birth of the founder of Slavic written language Methodius.

7. Features of offered educational and cultural programs

School participants not only get "ready knowledge" and understanding of the Russian history and culture, arising in the reflection of the unique history of the border region in our country (Smolensk has long ties to Europe and Russia). One of the features of our School is that the participants also place emphasis by the simultaneous consideration of the historical, cultural and linguistic heritage in the form of various communication activities (in discourse groups on open lectures and workshops, at various events of an extensive cultural program).

Within the framework of Summer School participants attend Russian families. This project is very important for cross-cultural exchange: it provides familiarity with the Russian way of life, a meeting with representatives of different generations, gives an opportunity to explore and understand the different layers of the Russian language in an authentic setting.

Since "Go East" Summer Schools are primarily youth projects, the School program includes intercultural meetings with youth, such as a visit to a youth camp, a youth festival and dance classes. Dance instructors are just Russian students who will introduce their peers from Germany with the traditions of Russian dance.

8. Infrastructure

Smolensk State University is a modern university campus. Participants stay at the new building of the university hotel. They have access to the Internet, besides they have a sports complex and a library at their disposal. The university is located in the historic city center, within walking distance there are the central parks, green areas, cafes, shops, etc.

Planned extensive excursion program, visit to educational institutions and cultural centers, meeting with representatives of public organizations and students of Smolensk State University will create an atmosphere of comprehensive intercultural communication.

9. Patronage

Russian students who speak foreign languages and are familiar with the theme of "Intercultural Communication" accompany the participants of Summer School on the first day of their stay in Smolensk thanks to the participation in international, educational and cultural programs. It will create a barrier-free communicative environment and make our guests feel at home in Smolensk.



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