A Russian academic venture destined to succeed.
In the student quarter of Switzerland’s international metropolis, Geneva, International Centre Lomonosov makes its home just a stone’s throw from Old Town. ICL was originally established in 1997 in Canton Fribourg; in 2000 it moved to Geneva as a means to provide a wide breadth of opportunity for international students to flourish in a rich cultural and business region while advancing their education at a top tier educational institution.
Seventeen years after opening, the ICL has roughly 200 lecturers and 300 international students, ranging from secondary to higher to further education. Instructors hail from prominent Russian, European and American universities that include Lomonosov Moscow State University, Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute at the Academic Vakhtangov Theatre, as well as many international organizations, multinational companies and members of the science and art communities.
In 2010, ICL opened its Gymnasium to accommodate secondary school students. Boarding and learning at one of three campuses provides optimal conditions for student development. The Gymnasium offers a unique opportunity for secondary school students (grades 9-11) to study a curriculum based on both Russian and Swiss educational standards.
Upon completion, students graduate and acquire both a certificate of completion from the Russian Federation and a Maturité Gymnasiale Suisse from Switzerland. After graduation from the secondary school campus, students have an option to pursue a four-year university degree from ICL, which provides an education based on the Bologna system. According to the European University Association, in 1999, Ministers of Education and university leaders of 29 countries launched the Bologna system in order to provide tools to connect national education systems, and create an internationally minded programme. This gives students an opportunity to simultaneously enrol and graduate from either ICL or a university that has a reciprocal agreement with ICL, such as Lomonosov Moscow State University or Boris Shchukin TI. Students are offered a wide array of international education programmes in three languages, Russian, English and French, including, but not limited to law, economics, management, ecology, and the performing arts.
Students anxious to follow the path to law can major in a variety of programmes at ICL. With no educational equivalent anywhere else in the world, this unique international programme is aimed at training an international level specialist able to professionally interact in three languages in specific areas, such as Law of the Russian Federation; International Law; Law of the European Union; Anglo-American Law; Intellectual Property Law; and Nuclear Law. Advanced foreign language understanding enables a student to attend courses held by a Swiss, European or American university, carry out a comparative analysis of the legal systems of various countries, and undergo professional training at an international organization or a multinational corporation. The ICL’s desire to engage the real world of business and law is evident at the ‘Lomonosov in Geneva’ science conference, where speakers from Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus discuss the latest in jurisprudence, international relations, economics and law, or nature management and law, giving students an opportunity to be involved.
Small class size, immersive language study, intense course work, as well as modern teaching methods help shape students into business savvy young professionals. According to Tamirlan Gassanov, the President and Founder of ICL, students are provided with an opportunity to become involved in the real business world whilst studying. Gassanov is a “strong believer in intertwining strong academia with business, innovation and technology. Constantly exchanging ideas and seeking feedback from the real business world allows for the necessary academic adjustments and new business opportunities. The international edge students acquire render them very attractive and easily employable in a competitive international business environment”. Many ICL graduates have found jobs in major corporations, including Google, Mercedes, Gazprom, Lukoil and JP Morgan Chase.
Attending ICL not only provides students with a fulfilling education in a multitude of disciplines, it creates an opportunity to learn outside of the traditional classroom. The ICL is fostering and elevating Russian culture by offering an intensive study in theatre. If students pass the two rigorous entrance exams, they are immersed in a system of artistic education based on Vakhtangov Tradition. In 2009, a programme that aims to discover and promote acting abilities, build personal artistic viewpoints, and provide instruction on the theory and practice of art and culture was created. Classwork helps to further creativity and invoke memory and attention. Evgeny Knyazev, Rector of Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute and Peoples’ Actor of Russia is the programme’s Art Director.
The prestigious theatre programme lends itself to a variety of festivals and productions throughout Geneva, including the International Russian Culture and Science Festival, occurring every spring. The Festival agenda incorporates graduation performances of Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute students and the participants of ICL Performing Arts programme. Each year, Geneva hosts the ‘Days of the Russian Federation in Switzerland’, to which ICL is one of the most dynamic contributors. In 2012, the ICL exhibition of Mikhail Shemyakin’s sketches was a premier event at Days.
The renowned Russian and American artist and sculptor’s exhibit included almost 40 drafts to the Mariinsky ballet performances of the ‘Nutcracker’ by P.I. Tchaikovsky, the ‘Magic Nut’ by S.M. Slonimsky, and Léo Delibes’ ‘Coppelia’. The Festival was organised by ICL and supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.
In 2012, ICL opened the first Russian Student Theatre in Europe. Opening night was marked by the premiere performance of ‘Les contes de la rue Broca’ by the French author, Pierre Gripari. The Russian actors performed it in French on the stage of the popular Genevan Carouge theatre. Today, the first Russian Tunnel theatre has a stage of its own where its actors rehearse new performances in Russian, English or French.
Today’s world is ever evolving and requires more students to thrive. The International Centre Lomonosov offers the perfect blend of education, culture and business. ICL is working hard to foster business relationships around the world at a time when networking is more important than ever before. The ICL is inadvertently improving international business relationships by exposing young professionals to the laws and businesses of Russia, Europe and America. Aside from being a quality university, it is an incubator for ideas, education, business and culture: a little slice of Russia in Geneva where students are destined to succeed.
Article by Courtney Morfina