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Russian-German school opens in teeth of conflict

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Russian-German school opens in teeth of conflict
The GRIAT will open in the Russian city of Kazan. Photo: Shutterstock
16:05 CEST+02:00
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is pressing ahead with its German-Russian Institute of Advanced Technologies (GRIAT) against a backdrop of international tensions over Ukraine.

“In politically difficult times it's important to maintain these links, to keep up scientific dialogue and strengthen co-operation,” DAAD president Professor Margret Wintermantel said in a statement.

“Russia has been an important partner for international scientific exchanges for many decades.”

The current tensions between Europe and Russia over Ukraine haven't hindered the inauguration of the university in the Russian republic of Tatarstan, DAAD spokesman Benedikt Britsch told The Local.

“DAAD is focused on the long term. This project was started in 2010-11 on the initiative of the Russian, of the Tatar side,” Britsch said. “There is a strong desire on both sides to maintain scientific co-operation.”

Nor are nationalistic feelings over the Ukraine crisis likely to affect numbers applying to study at the German-branded university, Britsch said.

“In the 25 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the political change in Eastern Europe, interest from there in studying in the West has been very large and has continually grown.”

The university, which is funded by the German education ministry's Transnational Education Programme and the Republic of Tatarstan, will be officially opened on Tuesday. The aim is to provide degree courses to German standards in the scientific fields on offer.

Students in the republican capital Kazan will begin courses on Tuesday in four different engineering syllabuses. This year's classes will take place in buildings loaned by the Kazan State Technical University.

The German universities involved are the Technical University of Ilmenau and the Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg.

The school eventually plans to widen its offering to 14 different degree programmes.

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