Between 20 and 25 February, students from the Faculty of International Relations of Voronezh State University, Sofia Arkhipova, Mikhail Polyansky, and Alexey Oroshanu, took part in the Berlin Winter Academy which was dedicated to searching of a new structure of Russian-EU relations.
When they returned home, Sofia shared her impressions of the business trip:
‘Berlin Winter Academy was organised by the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation. I would like to say that the level of organisation was very high, it was obvious that a lot of effort had been taken and every detail had been considered. This year, the Academy was dedicated to searching for a new structure for Russian-EU relations. Each session included discussions of various aspects of the relations. According to the programme, first, the speakers explained their points of view which was followed by a discussion when we could ask questions and express our opinions. The organisers made everybody feel comfortable and at home. Although it was an official event, the atmosphere was very friendly and warm: nobody was afraid to comment on an issue or even to disagree with the experts. It is also worth saying a few words about the invited speakers: the event gathered leading Russian and German specialists in Russian-EU relations who deal in practice with issues of Russia-EU cooperation, primarily in the area of safety.
The organisers put a lot of effort to make our stay in Berlin comfortable and interesting. The capital of Germany is a diverse city. It combines two cultures, two life styles, and the difference between them is still striking. Berlin is a historical city, you can feel it when visiting Bundestag (former Reichstag), the holocaust memorial, and the Berlin wall. That is why Berlin is the right place to hold the Winter Academy. The week in Berlin flew by really fast and it was so eventful that we had a catchphrase: “At the Winter Academy, one day equals five days!” It is wonderful that owing to the organisers’ enthusiasm and efforts, our participation in the Winter Academy, from which we had had a two year break due to the crisis in Russian-EU relations, was restored and we were lucky to take part in it.’