Логотип CGES

German-Russian Summer School “Encounter Europe and Russia: An Introduction to the Cultural, Political and Security Issues Shaping the EU and Its Relations to Russia”

July 21- 31, 2013

Otzenhausen (Germany)

Organisation and financing Partners: CGES, ASKO Foundation, European Academy Otzenhausen, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung

Moderators: Dr. Elena Belokurova (CGES), Dr. Elisabeth Schmidt (Euroepan Academy Otzenhausen)

Participants: BA students from Germany and Russia (St. Petersburg State University)

The German-Russian Summer School for BA students was organized in 2013 for the third time in cooperation with the ASKO Foundation and the European Academy Otzenhausen with additional financial support from the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. Since 2011, this activity and cooperation proved to be successful and useful. Moreover, the previous experiences were taken into account, and the new programme was created to make it more interesting and useful for students.

The target group of this Summer school basically consists of German and Russian BA students. The Russian students again were selected through a call for applications distributed among different faculties of St. Petersburg State University. In total, 37 applications from 9 faculties of the University (Sociology, Political Science, Economics, International Relations, Geography, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Philology, Journalism, Management) were received. As result, the 16 best applications were selected from 8 faculties. 18 German students from different disciplines came from three partner universities of Germany: Bielefeld University, Würzburg University and University of Koblenz-Landau.

The goal of the Summer School was to give the participants a better understanding of the EU and Russian politics in an international atmosphere, and to foster mutual learning from each other. The focus was on the comparison on how policies in different contexts are formulated, how politics are implemented and how political identities are built. Moreover, the mutual intercultural understanding and networking of the students was also achieved through the common group work, discussions and other interactive activities.

In the framework of the Summer School, the following topics were discussed during the lectures and workshops: European Integration History, Integration and Identity, History of the International Interregional Cooperation: Region SaarLorLux, EU Political System and Policy-Making in the EU, Role of Germany in the EU, EU External Policies and EU-Russian Relations, European Energy and Climate Policy, Euro Crisis and finally, Russian internal and external politics. All the topics were discussed with German professors and experts and trained during the workshops.

Moreover, some important excursions were organized to European political institutions: the participants visited the office of the European Ombudsman and the Council of Europe in Strasburg, the Schengen museum in Schengen and the House of Europe in Luxemburg. The excursions helped students to better understand the EU institutional system. More information about the events and students’ impressions can be found here in the participants’ collective blog: http://otzenhausen13.tumblr.com/

The feedback from the participants showed that the Summer School was useful and successful, and that such Summer Schools for BA students are necessary in order to give undergraduate students an early insight into Germany- and European-related issues and to motivate their further interest in this field of study. This fact, as well as a high number of good applications, showed that these types of schools are very fruitful for German and Russian undergraduates, and should be continued if possible. Since also the organization partners have evaluated the school as very successful, the next Summer School is planned for July 2014.

Moreover, the second part of this activity with the same German-Russian groups of students – Seminar in St. Petersburg, with the major focus on the Russian politics and its relations with Germany and the European Union is for the second time planned as continuation of this activity. Thus, the Seminar in St. Petersburg will take place in March 2014. Most of the German students expressed their wish to come to St. Petersburg; the Russian students are ready to help in the preparation of the programme for the St. Petersburg Seminar