From left: Rector Prof. Ivakhnenko (RGGU Moscow), Prof. Cheauré (IRTG 1956, University of Freiburg) and Prof. Zabotkina (RGGU Moscow) at the opening of the conference
(28.03.17) From 16 to 18 March, an international conference entitled “Literature and Foreign Cultural Policy” was held at the Russian State University for the Humanities (RGGU). As the annual conference of the Institute of Russian-German Literary and Cultural Relations (IRDLK) at RGGU Moscow, it was held during the core month of the DFG-funded German-Russian International Research Training Group 1956. Over the three days of the conference, scholars debated the political dimension of literature and the interdependent relationship between literature, art and politics.
To introduce the event, which was opened by Prof. Dr. Evgeny N. Ivakhnenko, the Rector of RGGU Moscow, there were words of welcome from Dorothea Rüland, Secretary General of the DAAD, Jan Kantorczyk, head of the department of culture at the German Embassy in Moscow, Wilma Rethage, head of the DFG’s Moscow office, and Paweł Zajas, University of Poznán, as well as others. Following presentations by Michael Reiffenstuel, the officer for foreign cultural policy at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, and Dorothea Rüland, who spoke about the DAAD and its foreign science policy, researchers from Russia, Poland, Switzerland, Austria and Germany presented their latest research topics.
In addition to representatives of the DAAD and DFG, Rüdiger Bolz, head of the Goethe-Institut in Moscow, and representatives of the Goethe-Institut in Munich and ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) were also present. During an evening panel discussion opened by Envoy Andreas Meitzner, Permanent Deputy Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in the Russian Federation, and the Rector of RGGU, the Special Representative of the Russian President on International Cultural Cooperation, Prof. Mikhail Y. Shvydkoy, and representatives of Russian universities and institutes discussed the role of foreign cultural and education policy in the shaping of international relations with the German guests. Finally, the DFG hosted an evening reception which provided an excellent opportunity for more informal discussion and stimulating conversation.
In addition to the spokesperson of the German-Russian Research Training Group, Elisabeth Cheauré, other participants of the IRTG also attended the conference – not least because the IRTG is closely associated with the Institute of Russian-German Literary and Cultural Relations (IRDLK) at RGGU. The director of the IRDLK and head of the Thomas Mann Chair based there is Dirk Kemper, who acts as a co-spokesperson for the IRTG in Russia. The IRDLK, a DAAD-funded joint project of RGGU and the University of Freiburg, is a centre of education and research for German literature and cultural studies in Russia. Other key areas of research at RGGU include philology (linguistics) and history.
The Russian State University for the Humanities was formed in 1991 from the merger of two Moscow universities, the Moscow Public University (founded in 1908) and the Moscow State Institute for History and Archives (founded in 1930). The latter, in particular, quickly grew to become a leading research centre for the study of primary sources in archaeology and palaeography. Today, 14,000 students are enrolled at RGGU.
Russian State University for the Humanities:
International Research Training Group 1956 (available in German and Russian only):