The United Kingdom’s consul discussed the question of ‘public diplomacy’ around a cup of tea with PSU students

Martin Fenner, the General consul of the United Kingdom in Ekaterinburg, invited the founders of the social project ‘West Fest’ and Perm State University Students, for a cup a tea, to discuss the existing stereotypes between Russia and Great Britain and the manner to overcome them.

The project ‘West Fest: Perm-Oxford’ has been realized by PSU students in 2016 and was directed towards the popularization of the two cities’ twin relations amidst the youth. Within the framework of this project the students lead, a quest around town on the theme ‘England in Perm’ and a quiz for pupils entitled ‘Oxfordshire Connoisseur’. They also organized a book sale called ‘Let’s Read Shakespeare’, a series of webinar entitled ‘Closer Than You Think’ and the West Festиваль (West Festival), which was the project's grand finale. Martin Fenner took interest in this student initiative and expressed the wish to meet with the West Fest team to discuss the project. The meeting took place January 17th, in Ekaterinburg.

He introduced the students to the Consulate’s employees, talked about its main projects and personally lead the visit of the consular mission. Then, the rendezvous continued around a cup of tea at the Consul’s residence, where he introduced the West Fest team to his family and told a few interesting stories about his service.

‘It was nice to hear the consul’s positive outlook on our work. He considers that such projects support the dialogue between peoples of different countries; that high politics does not bear a lot of influence on international relations since they are only really developed by way of what is called “public diplomacy”, which is the living dialogue of and between peoples’, told the leader of the West Fest project and 4th year student at PSU Law Faculty, Daria Krasil’nikova.

According to Martin Fenner, such projects fight off stereotypes and prejudices, which have got nothing to do with real life but seriously complicate the relations between inhabitants of different countries.

The consul thanked the students from Perm State University for the realization of this project and their interest in the Oxford-Perm twin relations. He also expressed his hopes for the further continuation of such activities within the University.

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