St Petersburg University has been visited by a delegation of Hamad bin Khalifa University (Qatar). It was headed by Adam Al Saadi, Director of Public Relations and Student Affairs. The purpose of the visit was to get acquainted with master’s and doctoral academic programmes of St Petersburg University, taught in English; as well as to establish scientific cooperation.

Anna Porodina, Assistant for General Issues of the Deputy Rector for International Affairs of St Petersburg University, said that, due to its special status, the University has broad academic autonomy. This greatly expands the opportunities for cooperation with higher education institutions of other countries. At present, St Petersburg University implements exchange programmes with more than 300 foreign partner universities. Their geography is quite extensive and covers almost all continents. 

>750 international students are annually enrolled at St Petersburg University for academic mobility programmes.

Additionally, about 2,000 students master Russian language programmes. The list of programmes that are taught in English is expanding. Talking about the academic and research potential of St Petersburg University and its history, Anna Porodina emphasised that the University is the cradle of the study of the Arabic language in Russia.

Mr Adam Al Saadi delivered a presentation on Hamad bin Khalifa University for the participants and introduced the meeting attendees to the university’s priority areas of study. They include: computer and engineering sciences; law and general politics; healthcare and biology; Islamic studies (Islamic finance); and humanities and social sciences. The university consists of six colleges and three research institutes that are engaged in finding solutions relevant to Qatar and other countries of the world. For example, one of these institutes is studying environmental issues and alternative electricity, while another one is investigating computer technology and artificial intelligence. According to the guest, about 82% of graduates find jobs in high-profile Qatari and international organisations or continue their studies at respected universities in the USA and Europe. He also added that cooperation with foreign partners is of vital importance for the university and suggested specifying promising areas of research and academic cooperation.

Irina Novikova, Dean of the School of International Relations of St Petersburg University, told the Qatari delegation about the potential of the research and academic division and noted that it represents the University in the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs. It unites all the top-ranked schools of world diplomacy. Applicants who wish to study international relations at St Petersburg University can choose from 15 master's programmes. Two of them – ‘International Relations’ and ‘Strategic and Arms Control Studies’ - are taught entirely in English. A few years ago, there appeared a module on the Middle East as part of a bachelor’s programme. So, students study the Arabic language, the history of Middle Eastern countries and modern international relations in this region. Irina Novikova said that a great number of international students from different countries study at St Petersburg University. Consequently, it is interested in cooperation with Hamad bin Khalif University, in particular, in the field of Islamic studies and social sciences. Also, of great interest are: modern international relations in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf; and the challenges of non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Oleg Redkin, Professor of St Petersburg University, is a representative of the University oriental division. He proposed cooperation in translation from Russian into Arabic and interdisciplinary studies on politics, economics, and intercultural communication. He said that this year the first graduates of the new academic programme ‘Islamic Studies’ finished their studies. After completing the course, they received senior appointments from the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Russian Federation.

At the end of the meeting, the parties agreed to exchange information, as well as discuss the possibility of organising a conference on one of the areas of mutual research interest.