Tolerance: New Perspectives and Stereotypes in Russia and Abroad
A round table ‘Tolerance: New Perspectives and Stereotypes in Russia and Abroad’ timed to conincide with the International Day for Tolerance declared by UNESCO in 1995 and observed on November 16th, was held at HSE Nizhny Novgorod. The event was organised by the Faculty of Humanities, the International Relations Office, and the Department for Educational work at HSE Nizhny Novgorod.
The following HSE staff members took part in the event: Valery Zusman, Director of HSE Campus in Nizhny Novgorod, Sergey Molkov, Deputy Director of the branch, Marina Tsvetkova, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Irina Arkhangelskaya, Head of the International Relations Office, Irina Sadovich, Head of the Department for Extracurricular Work with Students, Tatyana Romanova, Professor at the School of Applied Linguistics and Foreign Languages, students in computer linguistics and visiting lecturers from Austria and the USA.
In his welcoming speech, Valery Zusman stressed the importance of intercultural communication and tolerance in modern society. He emphasised that the ability to understand and to hear ‘the other’ is a necessary condition for the coexistence of all peoples. The term ‘tolerance’ is gradually taking root in people's minds and is contributing to changes in the system of interpersonal relationships, promoting positive interaction and personality enrichment.
The participants of the round table raised some issues concerning modern society. Sergey Molkov considered the problem of xenophobia in the context of emerging threats, including the rise of terrorism in many countries, and asked the students to determine the limits of tolerance.
Marina Tsvetkova spoke about her experience of conducting associative experiments to determe the attitude of people to tolerance, and the nature of the concepts ‘native’ and ‘alien’. She noted that in most cases, people tolerate ‘native’ and have a fear of ‘alien’ subjects. Even in the twentieth century the American inventor Charles Kettering said: ‘People are very open-minded about new things - as long as they're exactly like the old ones’.
Irina Arkhangelskaya suggested considering how ideas of tolerance are implemented in everyday life, if every one of us is ready to understand and accept other people's traditions.
The next part of the conference was dedicated to reports by our humanities students. Ekaterina Orekhova, 4th-year student of the Fundamental and Applied Linguistics programme spoke about the attitude to social regulators and tolerance in Russia and abroad. Karina Shakirova, 3rd-year student of the same programme, presented her report on tolerant and intolerant verbal behavior towards the ‘native’ and ‘alien’, based on materials from the Russian mass media.
Victoria Zemlyak, a 3rd-year student, described personality types of social network users based on their speech tolerance and flatness.
Presentations by HSE visiting lecturers Christian Lloyd and Dionys Neubacher raised great interest among the participants. During the discussion, special attention was paid to different approaches to the concept of tolerance in Europe and America.
Christian Lloyd assessed the results of the US presidential election campaign of 2016. The participants asked the speaker, how can the provocative, intolerant statements of Donald Trump during the election be evaluated, and asked who represents the candidate’s electorate.
Lecturer of the Austrian library, Dionys Neubacher, spoke about the growing migration problem in Austria, which sometimes provokes xenophobia. Europe tries to determine the limits of tolerance, and situations when ‘aliens’ should accept the rules of the ‘natives’.
At the end of the meeting the speakers came to the conclusion that in modern world it’s important to listen to and understand each other.