We Are All Different Under the Same Stars
This autumn is marked with an online meeting of students and teachers of the Institute of Foreign Languages and representatives of the West-East society (West-Ost-Gesellschaft) with Lilia Künstle and Alena Trenina from Tübingen, Germany, and Natalia Lavrushina, the chairperson of the Karelian Public Diplomacy Development Foundation.
Elena Vorotilina, Associate Professor of the Department of the German and French Languages, moderated the meeting.
The meeting was dedicated to Neubrandenburg and Tubingen, the sister cities of Petrozavodsk in Germany. Students Konstantin Kuznetsov, Kirill Nekrasov, Evgeny Lebed introduced Petrozavodsk to foreign friends. Alina Beketova, also a student, delivered a report on Tübingen. Anna Pestova and Valeria Sigaeva prepared a presentation about Neubrandenburg.
Natalia Lavrushina spoke about the meaning of sister-city relations, their role in strengthening public diplomacy and the life of modern society. Elena Vorotilina dived into the history of the establishment of friendly relations between Petrozavodsk and its two German sister-cities. Referring to the publications of Associate Professor Ernest Tsypkin on this issue, she turned to the origins of sister-city relations and the contribution of interpreters (Natalia Tokko, Valentina Dvinskaya, Elvira Khoronzhak, Linda Pardonen, Natalia Gorbel) to the Karelia-Germany friendship building and strengthening.
Valerii Petrov, the senior lecturer of the Department of the German and French Languages, shared his experience as an interpreter during the construction of the Tübingen panel. Ekaterina Iakovleva spoke about the joint work of a Petrozavodsk resident Vadim Mizko and a Tubingen resident Dankwart-Paul Zeller on the creation of Maksymilian Kolbe Museum for the Victims of Fascism.
Lilia Künstle spoke about the activities of the West-East society over the past year within the harsh conditions of the coronavirus pandemic. She also revealed some plans that are to be implemented jointly in Petrozavodsk and Tübingen. Alena Trenina shared her memories of the first arrival of Tübingen delegations to Petrozavodsk aimed to establish sister-city relations, and then, vise versa, on how Tübingen people welcomed a delegation of 265 people from Petrozavodsk.
Students Tikhon Semekhin, Margarita Vernigorova, Polina Ishkova, Aleksandra Koptyaeva, Yulia Ignasheva, Serafima Smirnova, Sofia Plenkina enthusiastically speculated on the Tubingen-Petrozavodsk Youth Exchange Project (Spring, 2021) and expressed a desire to conduct such meetings again and actively participate in new sister cities initiatives.
“All participants were asked to answer the question “How do you see relations of Petrozavodsk and its German sister-cities in 10-15 years?” Everyone wished to meet offline, to implement new interesting projects between residents and societies of sister- cities within innovative formats. Despite the fact that the meeting lasted 3 hours instead of 1.5 as it was planned, participants began to make plans for joint events for the next six months,” shared the organizers.