Besides the official and business components, the program encompassed a visit to the Kaluga branch of the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Service under the RF President. The Academy trains about 3,500 students pursuing Bachelors’ and Master’s degrees in the following areas: Management; Public Administration (State and Municipal Management); Economic Security; Customs Affairs. Its teaching staff is comprised of 150 professors and instructors.
The Academy has been working with Switzerland since 2002 when it established an exchange program with the University of Applied Sciences of North-Western Switzerland and the municipality of Binningen where its students had an opportunity to have short-term internships at various public and private organizations. Nowadays, the Kaluga branch is an active partner of the Embassy of Switzerland in various scientific and cultural projects. Additionally, it develops working relations with the University of Basel.
Against this background, it appeared to be an excellent venue for a lecture by the Ambassador’s and a meeting with students and professors. The title of the lecture was “The Word and the Truth”. The Ambassador in his lecture covered a very broad range of topics from ethics to linguistics, from Biblical testaments and philosophical issues to current politics and bilateral relations between Switzerland and Russia. The lecture was a real highlight of the visit - it assembled over 90 people (students and professors) who afterwards asked quite a few questions. It was a great opportunity for a lively discussion with the younger generation. By the way, Cassius, Ambassador Rossier’s dog, also took an active part in the meeting which was widely covered by the local mass media.
In conclusion, the Vice Governor, Mr. Vladimir Potyomkin, highlighted to the student audience the importance of Switzerland for the region, for it is not only a partner in education and research, but it also provides the region - and graduates of the Academy - with new jobs through its companies working in Kaluga.