The British Council held a press conference in January to announce its ongoing activities under the programme:
‘UK-Russia Year of Science and Education 2017.’
The meeting was attended by about 50 Russians students, teachers and scientists, as well as high ranking Russian and British science and cultural functionaries. British-Council-initiated-activities held in the recent past, such as the highly successful exchange of Art between the Tretyakov Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery in London, and the ‘Shakespeare on the Russian Metro’ special train were illustrated using videos and described in guests’ speeches. Upcoming activities such as: the 2nd UK-Russia round table on Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance; a round table on Science Diplomacy which will bring together leading UK and Russian scientists at MGIMO, the ‘Making Science Live in Schools week in October and a host of other activities were showcased.
There were nuggets of fascinating information embedded within speakers’ speeches. For example, Mikhail Shvydkov, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for International Cooperation said that co-operation between the UK and Russia in the cultural and scientific spheres is strong, but it could be stronger. Professor Grimes, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We can only understand things like robotics together, because we look at things in a slightly different way. This is useful.”
It was heart-warming to see that even in mid-winter, essential cooperation between the UK and Russia continues, and can probably expand very quickly if the climate changes. From talking to Russians and their British hosts at this meeting it was clearly evident that there is a strong desire for positive change, but at the same time, tactic recognition that restraining factors are beyond the control of those who attended that meeting.
Be this as it may, a host of opportunities exist for educationalists and science-based businesses in the UK, and for that matter for UK businesses, business people and educationalists in Russia to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation. It might be worthwhile checking out what the British Council is up to here; the breadth and scale of their activities (a small fraction of which have been mentioned here) even in these quiet times may surprise you.
For further information, see the British Council’s website: www.britishcouncil.ru