New international students’ association launched

The World Foreign University Student Association has one and a half million potential members. Source: Kommersant

The World Foreign University Student Association has one and a half million potential members. Source: Kommersant

The World Foreign University Student Association, a new forum set up to bring together students who have graduated from Soviet and Russian universities, aims to create a more united network and bonding among former students.

A new association for global students has been established in Russia. It intends to unite several million people, who have graduated from Soviet and Russian universities, and are now spread across the world.

Launched at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (PFUR) on July 30, the World Foreign University Student Association has been officially presented at the Forum of Foreign University Students. The association was launched with support from Rossotrudnichesvo and the Russian Foreign Ministry. Close to 300 of this year's graduates from 40 different Russian universities attended the forum.

"The association now has one and a half million potential members," said Khatib Samir, head of the Israeli association of Russian university graduates. "This could become the most active association in the world. It will have social, cultural and, I underline, political objectives."

According to Vladimir Filipov, Rector of the PFUR, the idea of bringing the graduates together was supported by the Russian Foreign Ministry and personally by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

"The knowledge of Russian organizations and individuals is your competitive edge," the rector told the graduates. "You know the Russian language and customs."

"Russia is proud of its centuries-old experience in the peaceful coexistence of various peoples and religions. Freedom, responsibility and our other traditional values have formed our moral-ethical denominator. And our graduates' mission is to spread it far beyond the borders of Russia,” said Anatoly Viktorov, Director of the Department of Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights at the Foreign Ministry.

 Sangadzhi Tarbayev, member of the Russian Civic Chamber, said the association will seek serious privileges for its members.

"It is worth thinking about the introduction of a simplified process for residence permits or even the issuance of citizenship for graduates of Russian universities," he said.

During the event, high-ranking former graduates demonstrated an understanding of the Russian world.

"We are all now patriots of the Russian Federation," said Gabriel Kochofa, Benin's Ambassador to Russia and the CIS. "It is necessary to educate graduates who, when returning to their countries, will develop their ties with Russia, [who] will be loyal to their second homeland."

"We consider ourselves a part of the Russian world," stated President of the Russian Association of Foreign Students Yao Adu. "We bring Russian culture to the attention of other countries, which is why often we are misunderstood in the world."

First published in Russian in Kommersant.

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