Visit of delegation of Kalashnikov ISTU to Arab Republic of Egypt: results and perspectives

On June 05-08 the delegation of Kalashnikov ISTU — Acting Rector Aleksandr Gubert and Director of the Institute of International Study Programs Alexey Ryabchikov visited Arab Republic of Egypt (ARE). The aim of the visit was to prolong the cooperation agreement in the frameworks of double degree programs with Egyptian-Russian University and to develop and extend academic and research collaboration with other universities of the largest Arabic country.

Alexey Ryabchikov: «Our selection of strategic orientation at cooperation with partners from Africa, Near East, CIS and China is explained both by the traditions of our international activities — for instance, Egyptian-Russian University has been our long-standing partner —and major political events in the world, which caused difficulties in relations with European universities, as well as the availability of English-taught study programs at Kalashnikov ISTU. It’s more complicated for us to attract, say, Spanish-speaking Latin America, and, finally, we are trying to coordinate our cooperation with interests and contacts of our industrial partners. I should point out the assistance and support of the Head of Rossotrudnichestvo in Egypt (Russian Center of Science, Russian House) Marat Gatin who helped us to extend the partnership relations with Egyptian universities».  

The program of the visit started with the meeting with the Ambassador of Russia in Arab Republic of Egypt in Cairo Georgy Borisenko. The urgent problems of Russian-Egyptian cooperation, in particular, in education were discussed during the meeting. Today, Egypt is only behind CIS and China in the number of students studying in Russia, there is an interest of educational structures to collaborate with Russia but there is also the influence of western partners of Egypt on the relations between our countries. There are also significant economic problems: it is prohibited to sell US dollars in cash in Egypt (ARE is the largest corn importer in Europe and US dollars in cash are reserved by the country to buy corn), and today it is very difficult and even impossible to transfer money across the border, and it is a crucial problem for the students.

On June 06, the birthday of Aleksandr Pushkin and Day of Russian Language, the delegation of Kalashnikov ISTU accompanied by Marat Gatin, visited the poet’s monument in Cairo. The ceremony of laying flowers with the participation of the Chairman of the Association of Alumni of Russian and Soviet Universities Sherif Hassan Geda, representatives of Rossotrudnichestvo partners and students of Egyptian universities who read Pushkin’s poems took place. Aleksandr Gubert read the playful quatrain by Mikhail Kalashnikov devoted to Andrey Deryabin (Andrey Deryabin founded Izhevsk Arms Plant in 1807).

Then our delegates visited Russian House and met with the Chairman of the Association of Alumni of Russian and Soviet Universities Sherif Hassan Geda. Today, there are many alumni of Russian and Soviet universities of 1980-s in the association and it is actively seeking young memebers. In perspective, the association can act as a recruiter of our university and it requested the information about the study programs of Kalashnikov ISTU, and, as suggested by our delegates, Dr. Sherif will make the video address to international students, including Egyptian students, during the ceremony of awarding diplomas of Kalashnikov ISTU of this year.

On the same day the delegation of our university went to Bard-City (El-Badr) to visit Egyptian-Russian University (ERU) where on June 07 the extended session of Senate with the administration of all ERU faculties took place. Vice-President of ERU Prof. Essam Khamis Ibrahim Al Hanash presented the university, spoke about the ranking system and priorities of Egyptian universities and perspectives of our cooperation. It should be pointed out that ERU is successfully developing, in particular, four new faculties have been opened — Faculty of Fine Arts, Faculty of Applied Arts, Faculty of Artificial Intelligence and Faculty of Management, Professional Technology and Computers — all of them are perfectly equipped and this is mainly the merit of the present university administration.    

Alexey Ryabchikov continued, «Today, we actually have two directions of interaction with Egyptian colleagues — the double-degree program, bachelor programs in Info-communication technologies and communication systems; Industrial and civil engineering; Mechatronic systems in mechanical and instrumentation engineering and research cooperation with scientific school of Prof. Grigory Yakovlev in modifying constructional composites by multilayer carbon nanotubes.

At the same time, the perspectives of extending our cooperation are realistic and mutually beneficial, and our Egyptian partners have several proposals. Thus, or colleagues suggest opening new double-degree programs in advertising and design with the Faculties of Fine Arts and Applied Arts, as well as in artificial intelligence, electrical power engineering, business, architecture — this is interesting for them. We are the only Russian university awarding two diplomas — the other Russian universities do not award Russian diplomas to Egyptian students. Besides, our partners suggest increasing academic mobility: inclusive studies, summer schools, lecturing of our teachers in ERU — we have practiced all this before.

Another proposal of our partners in the field of research cooperation. ERU has its own modern scientific journal and they suggest joint publication of papers in all areas, moreover, the publications for our scientists will be free. At the same time, we would be happy to see the publications of our partners and joint papers in Bulletin of Kalashnikov ISTU, Intellectual Systems in Production, Social and Economic Management, Engineering Neo-World.

On June 08 we moved to Cairo where we had three meetings — Sadat Academy for Management Sciences. It was initially intended as the academy for state managers but spread to engineering later on. The Academy President Prof. Mohamed Hassan Abdlel Azim is a strong supporter of developing cooperation with Russian universities and he immediately proposed joint study programs with us. Moreover, one of them — the program in Russian has been already approved by the Ministry of Education in Egypt and the department has been opened for this project.

Apart from the Russian language, they are interested in programs in software engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, management in economics — all our profiles, and not only bachelor programs but also master and PhD ones, academic mobility, research cooperation. We are ready to become partners, agreed that in the nearest future we’ll exchange curricula and drafts of framework cooperation agreements, hope to see the academy representatives on the Second Summit Russia–Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum on July 26–29 in Saint-Petersburg.  

The second meeting was with the Vice-President for International Relations of Egyptian University of Science and Technology. We presented our university, agreed that we’ll arrange a zoom meeting after discussions with deans of our faculties. They have similar study programs – from mechatronics and electrical engineering to telecommunications, economics and programming, the Department of Russian Language is available.

The third meeting was in the company producing robots – «Hi-Gene for Technology and Advertising» Ltd. Our graduate Mohamed Nabil Mohamed Abdelhamed works there, he completed our double-degree program in mechatronics and master program supervised by Prof. Alexey Schenyatsky.

This company has its own school program and they would like to participate in our International open scientific and technical festival “Kalashnikov-Technofest”. This robotics festival is getting more and more popular, and this February it successfully took place for the third time already. The company would like to host the selection stage among schoolchildren from Egypt and United Arab Emirates in November and about 20-25 best participants will be sent to the festival in Kalashnikov ISTU afterwards.  

Another idea of Egyptian partners — to develop the AI program in 3 level of complexity: junior schoolchildren, senior schoolchildren and students, to promote this project under the auspices of our university with issuing the certificates, etc. We agreed that we’ll certify the courses, Egyptian teachers of these courses, they will be taught by course developers when coming to Izhevsk and our teachers will participate in the defense of graduation projects. This is an interesting project, it will be discussed and we hope that it will be implemented.

Summing up, I can state that there is an interest in cooperating with our university, there are practicable proposals and clear organizational algorithms of their implementation — first of all, regarding the cooperation with ERU. The proposals of ERU colleagues on joint publications in scientific journals of both universities are also realistic, mutually beneficial and feasible in the nearest future.

The perspectives of developing cooperation with new Egyptian partners are realistic, there is a mutual interest and certain proposals from both sides, we are going to sign framework agreements and work together. In general, we can also overcome the objective difficulties caused by world political processes, for example, we managed to clear up the doubts of our partners regarding the safe stay of international students at our university».