Today, in the Kazan Town Hall, Mintimer Shaimiev, State Adviser of the Republic of Tatarstan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Republican Renaissance Foundation, and UNESCO Special Envoy for Intercultural Dialogue together with UNESCO Director-General Ms. Audrey Azoulay took part in the plenary session of the All-Russian Congress of UNESCO Chairs held in Kazan.
In his welcoming speech, Mintimer Shaimiev thanked UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay for visiting Tatarstan during her short stay in the Russian Federation. He highlighted that the dialogue on education, science, and culture between UNESCO and the Republic of Tatarstan is developing successfully. New cooperation links are emerging, joint educational and cultural events are being held. The days of Tatarstan were organized at the headquarters in Paris. “I would particularly like to say about the missions of the advisory bodies of ICOMOS and ICCROM when we worked on restoring the ancient cities of Bolgar and Sviyazhsk, their recommendations and expert opinions contributed to recognizing our historical and cultural monuments as outstanding universal value and inscribing them on the World Heritage List,” said Mintimer Shaimiev.
He also suggested that UNESCO Chairs of Russia play an increasingly important role in the exchange of experience, knowledge and information relating to higher education and science. The network of UNESCO Chairs accumulates and disseminates best practices in the interests of sustainable development. “In today’s higher educational institutions of the Russian Federation, there are more than 60 UNESCO Chairs with over 200 branches and offices in various cities. We are pleased that the chairs of our republic also make significant contribution,” he said.
The State Adviser of the Republic of Tatarstan also shared new plans and projects of the Republican Renaissance Foundation in the field of education.
“This year, the Republic of Tatarstan has started the construction and establishment of the general educational multilingual complexes, which are designed to provide competitive education in two state (Russian and Tatar) and English languages, to become a new school that uses effective educational practices, whose students value their own culture and understand foreign cultures and make a significant contribution to the development of the society,” he said.
Director-General Audrey Azoulay said she was happy to be in Kazan, in the Republic of Tatarstan, and this is not by chance, because Tatarstan is actively involved in the activities of UNESCO. “This is because Tatarstan is in the center of different religions, cultures, stories and has a unique experience of successful intercultural communication. This is unique wealth for the whole world, which is looking for ways to live together. This philosophy fits into the dialogue, which is very professionally arranged in the Republic of Tatarstan and UNESCO World Heritage Committee. The Republic warmly welcomes us, representatives of the UNESCO Chairs, and supports their operation,” she noted.
Audrey Azoulay spoke briefly about the history of creation, mission and about some aspects of the UNESCO activities in the development of education, culture, communications, stressing that this requires a multidisciplinary approach and the contribution of many researchers. “We are thinking about the following topic: how to connect the academic world of education with the technological world in the 21st century. Education, in order to live together, preserves cultural and linguistic diversity, and we must do together so that everyone can express themselves through the diversity of the language, including the academic sphere,” she said.
Audrey Azoulay thanked the Russian Federation, the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, the Republic of Tatarstan, the Republican Renaissance Foundation and the University of Management TISBI for supporting various UNESCO activities.