Education and art beyond borders: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Benin to the Russian Federation has visited HSE University in Nizhny Novgorod
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Benin to the Russian Federation, His Excellency Okunlola Biau Akambi Andre officially visited Nizhny Novgorod at the invitation of the Nizhny Novgorod campus of the HSE University.
During his visit to Nizhny Novgorod, Mr. Ambassador took part in a number of meetings with the city administration and universities of Nizhny Novgorod, and honored with his presence the opening of Lilia Boldyreva's photo exhibition "Faces of Benin" at the HSE – Nizhny Novgorod.
On the initiative of the HSE – Nizhny Novgorod, within the framework of the visit, the Ambassador of the Republic of Benin met with Mayor of Nizhny Novgorod Yuri Shalabaev, Representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Nizhny Novgorod Sergey Malov, HSE Vice Rector for International Cooperation Victoria Panova, President of the HSE - Nizhny Novgorod and Advisor to the Mayor Gennady Ryabov, heads of departments of the city Administration.
The subject of the meeting was possible cooperation between Nizhny Novgorod and the Republic of Benin in the field of education and culture, business contacts, as well as the possible conclusion of an agreement on twin-cities. The Mayor of the city thanked the HSE – Nizhny Novgorod administration for the initiative to expand international cooperation of the city. Mr. Ambassador expressed interest in increasing the number of students from Benin in universities of Nizhny Novgorod and in the prospect of developing cultural and educational cooperation.
HSE Vice-Rector for International Cooperation Victoria Panova noted that currently students from Benin are already studying at the HSE, she expressed hope for further mutual cultural enrichment.
HSE will always wait students from Benin with a warm welcome and mutual understanding. All students, teachers and professors of our university will also be enriched with knowledge thanks to your youth who will share the culture and history of your wonderful country.
Next year we will have the Russian-African summit, and I hope that we will be able to offer a meaningful development of our relations.
During the visit of the Head of the Diplomatic Mission of the Republic of Benin, an official meeting was held at the HSE - Nizhny Novgorod with Anna Blyakhman – director of the HSE - Nizhny Novgorod, Denis Fomenkov – Deputy Director of the campus, and Valery Zusman – Academic Supervisor of the HSE- Nizhny Novgorod. They discussed the prospects of cooperation in the field of education, teacher training, science and interaction with business.
The Ambassador emphasized the importance of developing links between countries in education and announced an increase in the number of intergovernmental quotas for students from Benin next year. The Director of the HSE - Nizhny Novgorod noted the versatility of our university, as well as the opportunity for future foreign applicants to study Russian during the preparatory year and subsequently enroll in the HSE educational programs implemented in Russian.
One of the vectors of possible interaction, the parties outlined the expansion of academic cooperation, in particular development of student mobility, participation of specialists in scientific conferences and seminars, research in fundamental and applied mathematics. The Ambassador drew attention to the fact that Benin increases the number of technical personnel and the leader in this direction is the Institute of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Abomey-Calavi.
Cooperation with the universities of Benin is also interesting within the framework of the new bachelor's degree program " Foreign Languages and Intercultural Business Communication ". Next year, the program plans to open a francophone track, where students studying French will be able to study the culture and business culture of not only France and Canada, but also African countries, including Benin. The parties agreed to cooperate with the Embassy of Benin in this direction.
After the discussion with administration of HSE – Nizhny Novgorod, His Excellency Mr. Okunlola Biau Akambi Andre met with deans of the faculties, during which they presented educational programs and areas of scientific research.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Benin to the Russian Federation, His Excellency Okunlola Biau Akambi Andre
My task is to strengthen relations between our countries. I have heard a lot about Nizhny Novgorod and would like our cities will cooperate with each other. I am betting in our cooperation in education and art. During this visit, I was in the HSE - Nizhny Novgorod, where I held a number of meetings and participated in the opening of the photo exhibition "Faces of Benin" by Moscow photographer Lilia Boldyreva.
The idea is to hold an exhibition of photographs of Benin at the HSE- Nizhny Novgorod campus belongs to Igor Evdokimov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Benin and Togo. This exhibition and the photo album "The South of Benin through the eyes of a photographer" were the result of Lilia Boldyreva's journey to this interesting country in West Africa and her response to a warm welcome from the diplomatic corps of the republic.
I was very touched by the invitation to present my work within HSE - Nizhny Novgorod. Everything was wonderfully organized. It was unexpectedly very pleasant to conduct a tour of my photos – there were many students who listened carefully and asked questions. I am grateful to the organizers of the exhibition, first of all, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities Marina Tsvetkova and President of the HSE - Nizhny Novgorod Gennady Ryabov for organizing this important event for me and for the warm welcome.
“Liliya Vladilenovna Boldyreva is an amazing, bright and incredibly deep person who is passionate about her favorite art,” said Marianna Korenkova, Academic Supervisor of the educational program: "Foreign Languages and Intercultural Business Communication" – in love to art Lilia climbs into the most remote corners of the planet. Incredibly vivid faces of the people from another continent, the beige-turquoise combination of the Benin wave and the beach, the colorful quarters of Cotonou, all of it warmed our icy Nizhny Novgorod December."
Marina Tsvetkova, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities
The exhibition "Faces of Benin" coincided with an unusual natural phenomenon: after an icy rain, nature, cast in crystal by December frost, contrasted strikingly with the exuberant multicolored colors of the Benin photographs of Lilia Boldyreva, from which the equatorial heat wafted. Incredible warmth also emanated from our distinguished African guests. Ambassador of the Republic of Benin to the Russian Federation Akambi Andre Okunlola Biau and Embassy employee Leopold Jean Victorien Grimaud accompanied him came to open the exhibition. It turned out that both of them are graduates of Russian universities and speak Russian perfectly, and in his welcoming speech, Mr. Ambassador said that most of the leaders of the Republic of Benin have graduated Russian universities.
Noting the high quality of education in Russia and the prestige of HSE, Mr. Ambassador stressed that he considers it his most important task to strengthen comprehensive ties between HSE and Benin universities and expand quotas for students in his country.
At the end of his speech, His Excellency thanked for the warm welcome, complained about the frost outside the window and promised to return at a less cold time of the year to get to know the city better, the beauty of which he could only observe from the car window.
At the opening of the photo exhibition "Faces of Benin", the guests of the educational project of the HSE – Nizhny Novgorod "Cultural Environment" were acquainted with an exotic West African country – the Republic of Benin.
Christianity, Islam, and paganism coexist in this Republic. Benin is known as birthplace of the system of animistic voodoo cults. Music and dancing are a key part of voodoo rituals, hence the uniqueness and originality of the musical culture of Benin, which has a rich variety of ethno-musical traditions. It intricately intertwines local folk music with West African highlife, French cabaret, American rhythm and blues, rock, funk, soul and Congolese rumba.
In opening day guests of the exhibition could hear the music of this amazing country during the presentation dedicated to Benin prepared by students of the educational program "Foreign Languages and Intercultural Business Communication".