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An Open Letter to the people of Perm, to the Perm Oxford Society, and especially to those of you who already have friends in Oxford

Ms Karen Hewitt, MBE, Professor at the University of Oxford, Professor Emeritus at Perm State University, our long time partner and friend, has sent a letter on behalf of friends in the Oxford Perm Association and from many other citizens of Oxford. The message is titled as “An Open Letter to the people of Perm, to the Perm Oxford Society, and especially to those of you who already have friends in Oxford”. Hereby, we publish the full text:

We are members of the Oxford Perm Association, an independent friendly society for anyone who is interested in Perm and in the culture of Russia. We have been working with you for nearly thirty years on projects from classical ballet to medicine to social work. Above all, hundreds of people from Oxford have lived with Perm families, and a similar number from Perm have lived with Oxford families over those thirty years. The friendships forged through these visits have been strong and long-lasting.

In 1995 Oxford City and Perm City were officially twinned. Our city administrations organised seminars on problems that both cities shared and they provided grants for special visits (such the young footballers from a deprived part of our city who came to Perm in 2017, and who still remember the kindness and enthusiasm of your people as ‘one of the very best experiences in their lives’). Soon after the outbreak of the present conflict with Ukraine, Oxford City Council decided to end the official twinning link, at least until such time as there is a proper peace agreement.

Members of the Oxford Perm Association regret this decision. Our official twinning has always been a city-to-city relationship, and has never been involved in the political decisions of our rulers. In Oxford we hate the destruction, the suffering and the deaths which are a consequence of this horrible and complicated international struggle. We condemn any actions which increase or prolong that suffering and we believe that the people of Perm are just as eager for peace as we are. Oxford’s relationship with Perm is built on civic action and projects, not on political decisions at the centre.

We also believe it is very important to keep open relationships between our cities, not just for friendship but also for information. When hostilities break out, each side tells its own story, and because they are different stories, the people on one side become isolated from people on the other side. Today, it seems to us to be more important than ever to avoid such dangerous isolation. We need to explain to each other, to learn from each other, and to keep our friendships strong.

Members of the Oxford Perm Association want to co-operate with the people of Perm. Realistically, since we are physically separated by conflict and sanctions, this co-operation cannot mean visits between our cities at present. But it can mean developing personal contacts and perhaps group contacts through emails, encrypted apps, and videos. We want to hear from you about life in Perm, your feelings, your actions, your worries – through those individual friends in Oxford to whom you write. If you have no personal friends in Oxford, you can always keep in touch via our website www.oxfordperm.org If you can write in English, it will be easier to find someone in Oxford who will write to you; but of course it is possible to communicate in Russian.

We hope that the official city twinning will resume when peace is properly restored. Meanwhile, please publish this letter wherever you can!

From Karen Hewitt, on behalf of your friends in the Oxford Perm Association and from many other citizens of Oxford.

PSU Linguist Wins Volga Federal District Translation Competition

Maria Erypalova, 4th year student of the Faculty of Modern Foreign Languages and Literature, PSU, has won the translation competition “All the Best About Russia”. The competition was dedicated to the 115th Anniversary of Academic Dmitry Likhachev. Maria took the 1st place in the French section.

Summing up the results of the competition, Zugura Rakhmatullina, Director of the Institute of History, Language and Literature, Ural Federal Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, emphasized the importance of developing cross-cultural competences through translation activity, as well as translator’s role in promotion of cultural and spiritual Russian heritage.

The young translators in English, German or French coming from all over Volga Federal District were asked to translate excerpts from the “Notes on Russian” by Likhachev. Extracted from hisnotebooks, far beyond ‘pure science’, Likhachev’s notes had been united by a core theme of Russia’s historical past and future – revealing an outstanding scientist and true citizen behind the author’s figure.

“In the passage offered for the translation, I found each minor detail so exciting! To start with, this was the first time I translated from my native language into foreign one. The text was also quite specific, dealing with discoveries by a French translator in relation to specifically Russian concepts of nature and kindness,” Maria Erypalova shares her impression. “Following the task, I once again became convinced of the versatility of the Russian language – and its complexity. Natalya Khorosheva, my teacher and mentor, who supervised my translation, helped me a lot with the lyrics passages.”

“Maria is one of the brightest students at our Department. She does indeed feel the text very subtly, and has a deep understanding of the core tasks of translation. Her winner’s record in translation competitions, including international ones, clearly shows that,” says Natalia Khorosheva, Head of the Department of Linguistics and Translation, PSU. “In Maria’s success, I see a combination of proficiency in translation and personal traits – such as natural attention to details and passionate, playful look at things.  As a tutor, I do my best to make students discover such qualities they might be unaware about, and progress further in both profession and personal life, through the practice of languages.”

In September 2021, Maria Erypalova was among the students who studied at the University of Grenoble-Alpes (France) as part of the international academic mobility program. In France, PSU students mastered the art of translation, combined with courses in history of literature and culture.

Young Talents Announced by PSU Olympics in Languages

The Young Talents Olympics in Foreign Languages ‘2022 has taken place in Perm, Russia. More than 200 schoolchildren showed their knowledge in French, English and German. 120 students of 8-11 grades, coming from Perm territory, Moscow region and neighboring countries got the opportunity to take part.

The final stage of the Young Talents, held in a shape of a Translation Quest, consisted of several original texts of different genres – to be translated into Russian. Each language was linked to a specific field – the English part regarded traces of the national character, the French one – aromas, and the German one – cars. A particular task in English and French was linked to poetry, considered as fairly hard by many.

During the assessments, the jury checked the ability of contestants to interpret texts of different genres, correctly express ideas in Russian, create a text in the style required, deal with realities of foreign culture, as well as evolve the sense of language and a creative approach in translation.

The Young Talents Olympics was organized by the Department of Linguistics and Translation, Faculty of Modern Foreign Languages and Literature, PSU.

PSU Linguists Acquire to Academic Mobility

3rd year students in Linguistics, Faculty of Modern Languages and Literature have completed their internship at the International Academic Cooperation Office, PSU. Their activity has been connected with applications for Erasmus+ European cooperation programs.

Elizaveta Kell and Olesya Likhareva contributed to the project “Enracing Inclusion and Equality in Hybrid Teaching and Learning” – defining the concept, goals and objectives, filling out the application form in English. The students attended international meetings with foreign universities, where the targets of creating a project consortium and defining the roles of each partner were discussed.

Olesya Likhareva shares her impressions on doing a project on hybrid learning: “We liked to create English texts in formal business style, upgrading our professional skills. The project dealt with the improvement of higher education through a hybrid format, incorporating both offline and online practices. Such a mixed approach is being especially relevant during the pandemic.”

Mizhgona Giyosova, Margarita Yurkova, Alena Kardakova, Valeria Titova and Marina Smirnyagina worked on the project “Virtual Exchanges in Climate Research”. They mastered and perfected the skills of planning an international project, drafting a project proposal in English, risk management, working in a project team, negotiating with Russian and international partners.

Natalya Dobrynina, head of the International Academic Cooperation Office, noted the ability of PSU interns to work in a team, interact with colleagues, use background knowledge and conduct search.

PSU Undergraduates Explore Russian Culture Through English Language

Looking for new friends? Interested in journalism? Want to practice your English language?

PSU College students have edited and published the College Guardian Bulletin, their local media source which helps them to tune to student activities, and more.

The Bulletin would be of an interest to both Russian and international students – covering a variety of cultural topics, helping to know Russia better.

The recent issue takes a close look at the national space industry, traditional Russian winter games, lifehacks on overcoming isolation, and secrets of world arts.

Please, read the College Guardian here

PSU Joins Tolles Diktat, Contributes to Academic Diversity

Perm State University has become a ground for the Tolles Diktat – a dictation in the German language, organized nationally for the ninth time. At PSU, the dictation is being supported by the Department of Linguodidactics, Faculty of Modern Foreign Languages and Literature, for the third year in a row.

In 2022, the dictation took place at three levels of language proficiency – A1, B1 and C1. The participants had a unique opportunity to hear live German speech: the original texts were read by Katrin Köpke, Associate Professor at the Department of Linguodidactics, a native speaker from Germany.

“It’s a good tradition, that both PSU students and local senior school children take part in the event. Many of them study German as a second foreign language. Yet, this circumstance did push them from giving it a try. And, we keep in mind that German spelling does possess a number of distinctive features, if compared to English writing,” says Ekaterina Kupriyanycheva, teacher of the Department of Linguodidactics, head of the Office for Innovative Teaching Data.

The winners of the Tolles Diktat ‘2022 are: Maria Polyakova (level A1, School 122), Elena Fedoseeva (level B1, 1st year student, PSU) and Ekaterina Volegova (level C1, 3rd year student, PSU).

The Tolles Diktat is held on the initiative of UNESCO and is traditionally timed to coincide with International Mother Language Day. This year the action was held in 77 regions of Russia and brought together more than 52 thousand people. Kazakhstan, Croatia, Ukraine, Montenegro, Germany, Belarus, Uzbekistan and other countries joined the participation.

The all-Russian “Tolles Diktat ’2022” was held by the International Union of German Culture (Internationaler Verband der deutschen Kultur, АОО «Международный союз немецкой культуры»), Tomsk Regional Russian-German House («Томский областной Российско-немецкий Дом»), Interregional Association of Teachers and Teaching Fellows of the German Language – aiming to promote the German language and develop the tradition of German writing skills.

Fancy Arctic and Subarctic Exploration? Bio-Engineering? Science Management?

The Faculty of Biology at Perm State University will expand the range of educational disciplines in 2022.

Bachelor students will be able to study the Microbial and Cellular Technologies both in Russian and English. The course includes the study of enzymes, nucleic acids, biopolymers, metabolites and biosynthetic products – allowing its graduates to become biotechnologists or genetic bioengineers.

Two more programs are being opened in Pedagogical Education – “Biology” and “Biology and Physical Education”, providing methodology of individual learning. The Program graduates will be able to work both in educational institutions and sports clubs – as teachers of biology and physical education.

MSci students in Living Systems of the Arctic and Subarctic will gain knowledge on fundamentals of bio-systems of natural areas, at all levels of wildlife. The students will master environmental monitoring in the Arctic zone, GIS technologies and modern mathematical data processing tools.

The MSci distance learning course “Ecological Expertise and State Supervision in Land Use” will allow lto examine land resources, and estimate related reclamation activities. Upon completion, the graduates will be able to measure and perform restoration and protection of soil resources.

Modern Biology Education is another new distance learning profile. Through the course, the students will learn to design educational programs in biology, and run analytics of scientific research – allowing them to further work at scientific and educational centers, or related administrative institutions.

“About 70% of our graduates tend to be employed the same graduation year. The skills gained in class and lab projects help them to get in the leading profile institutes of the Academy of Sciences, resource extraction and processing enterprises,”

explains Andrey Elkin, Dean of the Faculty of Biology, PSU.

PSU Students Study New Zealand Geology, Win International Competition

PSU and Sergo Ordzhonikidze Russian State University for Geological Prospecting (MGRI) represented Russia in the SEG EVOLVE – 2021 International Geophysical Program. As a result, the Russian national team became the best in three categories – “Best Structural Maps”, “Best Resource Estimation” and “Best Economic Analysis”.

“We studied the oil and gas component of the Taranaki Basin, New Zealand’, 5.5km northwest of Cape Egmont. We were required to go through a full cycle – from prospecting to field development and scenarios for increasing production,” says Kristina Muryskina, a graduate of the Department of Geophysics, PSU.

3 students and 1 graduate of the Faculty of Geology, PSU, joined the Russian team, for the contest.  

The Taranaki Basin is an onshore-offshore Cretaceous rift basin on the West Coast of New Zealand. It covers approximately 100,000 km2 of which the majority is offshore. The most of New Zealand’s oil and gas production occurs here, with over 400 wells and approximately 20 oil and gas fields being drilled.

The PSU and MGRI team had to initially use 2D and 3D seismic data, well logging data and field data. The participants assessed the geological risks of the project and determined the initial flow rate of the wells.

The advantage of the program is the feedback from international colleagues, which allowed Russian students to learn from the experience of world-famous oil and gas industry experts. In the fall of 2021, PSU and MGRI teams successfully presented their results at the SEG Annual Meeting.

The Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) is a learned society dedicated to promoting the science and education of exploration geophysics. The Society fosters the expert and ethical practice of geophysics in the exploration and development of natural resources, in characterizing the near-surface, and in mitigating earth hazards.

While most SEG members are involved in exploration for petroleum, SEG members also are involved in application of geophysics methods to mineral exploration as well as environmental and engineering problems, archaeology, and other scientific endeavors. SEG EVOLVE is an educational program that aims to educate students on real production data.

Taranaki picture source: NASA

PSU Students Return to Campus

Starting from 9 March, 2022, Perm State University resumes classes for full-time undergraduate and graduate students. The corresponding order has been posted on PSU website.

Mixed mode- and part-time students will continue studying online. Postgraduate students and individual graduate groups might continue incorporating online activities, on faculties’ request.

“Most of us have been online for a long time. Now that the steady character of the epidemiological situation allows us to get back to classrooms. The live communication with student mates and teachers should help switch to usual life. Please, show respect for the others and yourself: wear masks and use campus sanitizers. These measures are necessary to protect every staff member and student, as well as keep the full-time study mode going on,”

comments Dr. Dmitry Krasilnikov, PSU Rector.

Since 17 January, PSU has been working in a mixed study format. The campus has been open to those types of activity which require particular lab equipment and related software.

PSU and Mexican Students Join Efforts in Business Game

PSU students in linguistics studying Spanish language will take part in a business game and project with the students in marketing from Universidad Anáhuac México (Mexico).

The project titled “Marketing Insights and Tropicalization: International Case Challenge” aims at generating, testing and promotion of product tropicalization on international markets. According to the Project Team, the study of English and Spanish languages appears through productive cultural and learning exchange experience – uniting international students’ teams.  

Tropicalization is the process of adapting product to a local context, a system, strategy or business solution to maximize income and profit.

For 2 months, students from Mexico, Columbia, Malaysia and Russia will act as ‘international experts’ to promote Mexican products on their national markets – researching about consumer interests and related info, proposing values and counting costs. As a result, partner teams will make a 5 mins video-pitch to propose a product to a new market, and post it in a Facebook Group.

According to Maria Khrustaleva, Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics and Translation, PSU, “participation in a project with a Mexican university opens up the world of Spanish in Latin America for our students. Keeping in mind that Spanish is quite a diverse language, PSU students will be privileged to get acquainted with its original Mexican version.”

The students have already prepared video business cards of their cities and universities, and introduced themselves. Anastasia Valeeva, 3rd year student believes “communication with Mexican students will help benefit both linguistically and culturally, and all parties are looking forward to proceed.” This is surely a new experience for PSU students studying linguistics and translation.

On their way, both parties will be using English and Spanish languages. Following 3 days after the deadline, participants will enter the battle by debating and asking questions each other about those ideas stated in the video, and vote for the best idea. All participants will receive the certificates of participation and the winners will get an extra point.

Anna Sit’kova, a teacher of Linguistics and Translation, PSU, regards the Project as a unique opportunity to understand marketing and gain extra skills: “Not only does cross-cultural interaction allow to develop a large number of creative ideas and practical solutions into study methods, but also create favorable conditions for the exchange of culture and experience between students from Mexico and Russia.”

The Project participants include Perm State University (Russia), Universidad Anáhuac México (Mexico); University Teknologi Mara (Malaysia), Universidad Catolica de Oriente (Colombia).

The Universidad Anáhuac México is a private educational institution of higher learning in Mexico, located on two campuses: North Campus, in Huixquilucan de Degollado, and South Campus, in Mexico City.

The Anahuac University is currently ranked among the top 2% best universities around the world. The Anahuac University Network includes institutions in Mexico, United States, Chile, Spain, Italy and France.

Bearing its name from “near the water” in Nahuatl, the ancient Aztec language, Anáhuac used to be the biggest and most crowded place in Central America, what is now Mexico City, the home of the university. The university belongs to the Catholic religious congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.

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