HSE University Hosts Syrian Delegation Led by Minister of Education

On October 11, HSE University hosted a delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic at the building on Pokrovsky Bulvar. During the meeting, they discussed education and the continuing cooperation between HSE University and Damascus University.

HSE University was visited by Bassam Bashir Ibrahim, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research; Riad Haddad, Syrian Ambassador to Russia; Mohamad Osama Al-Jabban, President of Damascus University; and Akel Mahfud, Head of the Department of International Cooperation of the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

HSE University Rector Nikita Anisimov welcomed the Syrian delegation and expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to discuss the development of cooperation with Syrian educational institutions in person. He also expressed his confidence that the Russian government’s decision to increase the quota for Syrian students is both important and timely. This academic year, HSE University has 29 Syrian students on various programmes and four Syrian research assistants. ‘I can see that they are actively working at the university,’ he said. ‘I hope that they will help to develop ties between us and our Syrian colleagues.’

The rector also noted that Arabic Studies programmes are being implemented at HSE University’s St Petersburg and Moscow campuses, including at the School of Asian Studies, the School of International Regional Studies, and the Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies. In addition, last academic year, HSE University hosted online lectures by teachers from Damascus University.

‘Today, we will be happy not only to sign a cooperation agreement with Damascus University, but to implement it with the same swiftness with which we our developing our relationship,’ said Nikita Anisimov. ‘We want to keep our position among the world’s leading universities. I am certain that the best universities are those that work for the good of their country and cooperate with overseas partners to create additional development opportunities for both countries,’ he said.

Bassam Bashir Ibrahim thanked his colleagues from HSE University for the invitation. ‘Today, I felt the impetus you are giving to cooperation with Syria, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific research, and Syrian universities—including Damascus University. It is a great pleasure for me,’ he said, adding that he himself is a graduate of Moscow State University of Civil Engineering and that it is an honour for him to be part of this large country.
The minister also spoke about Syria’s educational organisations. The country currently has seven state universities, which provide free education for 700,000 people. It also has well-developed online universities and private universities where 60,000 students study on a fee-paying basis.

‘The relationship between Russia and Syria is developing at a rapid pace, in part due to the mutual respect between our countries and peoples,’ said Bassam Bashir Ibrahim. ‘More than 40% of lecturers in Syria are graduates of Soviet and Russian universities, and the majority of them still retain their knowledge of the Russian language.’

As a result of the meeting, it was decided that a cooperation agreement between HSE University and Damascus University would be signed. The agreement will facilitate the implementation of short-term exchange programmes for students and lecturers. The Syrian minister also invited his colleagues from HSE University to take part in a conference being held in Syria in May in honour of Damascus University’s 100th anniversary.