The opening ceremony of the Educational Socio-Humanitarian Forum organised by St Petersburg University as part of the All-Russian Student Olympiad "I am a Professional" has been held at St Petersburg University. The participants in the forum are competitively selected university students from across Russia. Among them are ten students from St Petersburg University, which is the largest number of students participating per university.

Over 500 students from 50 regions of Russia submitted applications, of which 75 students from 24 regions of the country were selected. The top 5 regions in terms of the number of participants are: Moscow; St Petersburg; the Saratov Region; the Vladimir Region; and the Sverdlovsk Region.

The event has been attended by Shri Kumar Gaurav, the Consul General of the Republic of India in St Petersburg. He noted that it is important for young people today not only to develop their professional skills in a chosen field, but also to expand their horizons by learning more about the world they live in.

‘The relations between the Republic of India and the Russian Federation have gained a status of a special and privileged strategic partnership. I am very pleased to be able to speak to students of St Petersburg University today at the opening of the Educational Socio-Humanitarian Forum at the Multimedia Historical Park "Russia — My History". St Petersburg University, which will celebrate its 300th anniversary next year, is a key platform for a wide range of international and educational activities in the Russian Federation. I wish the students and academics of the University every success in their endeavours!’ said Shri Kumar Gaurav, the Consul General of the Republic of India in St Petersburg.

Andrei Ermakov, Head of the Department of the Ministry of Culture of Russia for the Northwestern Federal District, pointed out that cooperation between students and employers today is impossible without the support by the government authorities. Their active involvement provides the foundation for constructive dialogue.

St Petersburg University holds the "I am a Professional" Olympiad in four areas: Geography; Linguistics; Philology; and Law.

Vladimir Savinov, Vice-Rector for Educational Activity at St Petersburg University, welcomed the participants at the Forum opening ceremony. He noted that St Petersburg University, as one of the largest modern research and educational centres in Russia, is a platform for interaction between students of the leading Russian universities, largest employers and representatives of government agencies.

‘As per tradition, the Educational Socio-Humanitarian Forum organised by St Petersburg University is a platform where the most talented students from all across Russia can acquire new skills and competencies under the guidance of the best teachers and then, with the experience gained here, continue their studies. I wish you a good time; and may this forum be a success and a milestone for each of you!’ said Vladimir Savinov.

The participants were also greeted by: Kristina Kalinovskaia, Head of the Department of Mass Events and Development of Volunteering of the Committee for Youth Policy and Interaction with Public Organisations of St Petersburg; Natalya Chesnokova, Vice-Rector for Student Admission at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University); and Kristina Zorina, Head of the Department for Implementation of Professional Development Projects at the Independent Non-Profit Organisation "Russia is a Land of Opportunities".

The All-Russian Student Olympiad "I am a Professional" is a flagship project of the presidential platform "Russia is a Land of Opportunities", supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation.

It is a large-scale academic contest in a new format for students from different fields of study: engineering and technology; humanities; natural sciences; pedagogy; agriculture; and medicine. The tasks for the participants are prepared by experts from Russia’s leading universities and businesses. In the 6th season of the All-Russian Student Olympiad "I am a Professional", the participants will be able to try their hand in one or more of 73 areas, from linguistics to robotics.

The best will receive cash prizes; gain benefits for admission to master’s, doctoral and clinical residency programmes; and have the opportunity to introduce themselves to employers and secure an internship at a major specialist company.

The project is organised by: the Association of Organisers of Student Olympiads "I am a Professional"; the all-Russian association of employers "The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs"; 33 leading institutions of higher education; and over 500 Russian business companies.

The Educational Socio-Humanitarian Forum programme offers three educational tracks: Law; Philology and Linguistics; and Social Sciences and Humanities. Representatives of businesses and St Petersburg University academics will deliver lectures and conduct seminars and workshops where they will share their knowledge and professional experience with the students.