The Maurice Thorez Institute of Foreign Languages
Moscow State Linguistic University

Russian as a Language of National Friendship

Russian as a Language of National Friendship

The last few days of 2016 saw a large-scale event hosted by Moscow State Linguistic University - an International Student Conference “The Russian Language at the Crossroads of Cultures”. The conference initiated by the Faculty for International Students brought together students from 20 countries of Europe and Asia.

Initially a faculty event, this year it got the status of a university-level event that will be held on a regular basis. The conference participants' objectives were to gain greater cultural self-awareness, develop intercultural sensitivity, become better at building multicultural ties, promote cultural integration and cross-cultural code-switching.

The participants discussed cultural diversity as common heritage of humanity, with presentations delivered in Russian. They highlighted the importance of Russian as a language of international communication and an effective tool of promoting cross-cultural communication.

Speakers representing the Western cultural tradition (coming from Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland and Moldova) focused on the history of their countries, historical sights, national customs and traditions.

Students representing the cultural heritage of the East (from Vietnam, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, China, Turkey, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan) spoke about their national festivals (Nowruz in Central Asia), cuisine (China), applied and decorative arts and crafts (Chinese paper folding), traditional games (100 Poets Game, Japan), national costumes (the áo dài, Vietnam), traditional instruments and folk music (North and South Korea, China), national combat sports (Tajikistan and North Korea), food and eating habits (South Ossetia), an ancient code of honor (Abkhazia). Martial arts demos, gifts and souvenirs as well as tasty treats (traditional Czech waffles and Ossetian pies) added a special touch to the event and made it even more entertaining.

The conference showed that Russian plays an important role as a language of international mediation. It also proved that culture is a powerful tool for erasing borders and uniting people of different ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds.

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