Sergey Vasiliev, Director of MGIMO-University in Odintsovo, was interviewed by our correspondent when he arrived from Bodø, Norway, where he attended the “High North Dialogue 2018 - Growth in the Arctic”
Correspondent: Sergey, we know that MGIMO and NORD University in Bodø, Norway, have been partners in so many educational and research programs since 2004 and that you have been responsible for the implementation of several of them. What was the purpose of your visit to Bodø this time?
Director S. Vasiliev: There were two purposes: one – to attend the “High North Dialogue 2018” and to make a presentation. The second purpose was to have meetings with Erlend Bullvåg, Dean of Nord University Business School, Frode Mellemvik, Director of High North Center, and with representatives of the Shanghai East China Normal University Jun Liu, Dean of School of Advanced International and Area Studies, Wen Zhang, Deputy Dean of Graduate School, Meixu Huang, Director of International Students Office and Global Education Center, Qi Sun, Director of Admission Office, International Students Office and Global Education Center. At our meetings we discussed the possibility of designing and launching a trilateral Master program “International Governance and Business”. We plan to continue our discussions at MGIMO-Odintsovo early August this year when the Chinese and Norwegian partners will visit us.
Correspondent: the program will be realized in Odintsovo, won’t it?
Director S. Vasiliev: yes, we plan to launch it in 2019. But it is too early to make comments; we are just in the middle of our discussions.
Correspondent: will you please share your impressions of the “High North Dialogue 2018” with our readers?
Director S. Vasiliev: first of all, I have to admit that this year High North Dialogue was an outstanding event from a variety of perspectives. There were over 250 participants representing all Arctic nations, Arctic NGOs, European Union, Arctic business and academic communities. Canadian, Russian, Finnish, US and EU ambassadors to Norway participated in a special Arctic panel discussion. And of course the students, including bachelor and master students from MGIMO-Odintsovo, – not only did they participate in the Dialogue sessions, they were also taught various courses and attended master classes, role games and special competitions for students. I talked to them, and should say that they had enjoyed the most. You can see albums of pictures taken at the “High North Dialogue 2018” if you visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/149805647@N06/41537631642/in/album72157694071682821/ and see firsthand what was happening.
In short, the “High North Dialogue 2018” brought together Arctic leaders – present and future – to discuss the opportunities for value creation in the Arctic in an international context. The topic of the conference was “Growth in the Arctic”. The purpose of the Dialogue - to create a platform for discussion and elaboration of ideas for the future of the Arctic region, - was successfully achieved.
Correspondent: you are a member of the High North Hero Award International Committee along with Director Anu Fredrikson, Arctic Economic Council, Professor Laurence C. Smith, UCLA, USA, Special advisor Finn Roar Aamodt, Statoil, Professor Indra Øverland, NUPI, Norway, Rector Elena Vladimirovna Kudryashova, NArFU, Arkhangelsk, Russia, and Editor in Chief, Arne O Holm, High North News, Norway. Tell us about the Award.
Director S. Vasiliev: Every spring, the High North Center for Business and Governance at the Nord University Business School in Bodo, Norway, honors a person or an organization with the High North Hero award. The award goes to someone who has contributed to highlighting or developing the High North and the Arctic. The prize consists of NOK 50,000 and is awarded during the annual High North Dialogue conference in Bodo. The High North Hero Award was established in 2016, and the first High North Hero was awarded to the former Prime Minster of Finland, Paavo Lipponen. The High North Hero Award 2017 was given to Scott Minerd, the Founding Managing Partner of Guggenheim, in particular for his work related to sustainable investments in the Arctic. This year’s winner – Inuit-leader Mary Simon – is an extraordinary person in many ways.
Correspondent: you also voted for her. What made you do so?
Director S. Vasiliev: the High North Hero 2018, Mary Simon, has been outstanding over decades in her engagement for improving the situation, living conditions and welfare of indigenous people of the Arctic. Her contributions have raised international awareness of the Arctic, both of opportunities for value creation and of challenges to succeed in the work to realize these opportunities. Mary Simon was also one of the driving forces behind establishing the Arctic Council. The list of positions held by Mary Simon is impressive. She has been President of the Land Claims Organization for Inuit of Nunavik, President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Canadian Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs, Founding Chair of the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation. She also initiated several assistance projects with Russian associations of indigenous peoples of the North.
Correspondent: Sergey, Moscow and Odintsovo are so far from the Arctic Circle. Why MGIMO-University is so much interested in what is happening in the Arctic and why keep a close eye on the events in the High North?
Director S. Vasiliev: there are many reasons. First of all, international relations become more and more dependent on energy policy, energy security issues and international energy cooperation. The Arctic region contains about 25% of the World hydrocarbon resources. For political, economic, military and energy reasons the Arctic became the focal point in international relations long ago. MGIMO is noted for its Arctic expertise, which makes its educational programs involving Arctic issues, attractive for major foreign universities. There are several disciplines on sustainable development of resources in the Russian Arctic taught at MGIMO in the Russian and English languages. This area of expertise is no less important for MGIMO-Odintsovo, no doubt.
Correspondent: thank you, Sergey, for your informative remarks. They will sure raise a lot of interest with our readers.