On September 21, the grand opening of the V Forum of the Rectors of the Universities of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Cuba took place in the Fundamental Library of Lomonosov Moscow State University in the Hall of the Academic Council. The Rectors' Forum was held within the framework of the Decade of Science and Technology announced in Russia. The organizers from the Russian side were the Russian Union of Rectors and Lomonosov Moscow State University, from the Cuban side — the Ministry of Higher Education of the Republic of Cuba.
Approximately 70 rectors and representatives of higher educational institutions, scientific and academic circles, public authorities and administration, the diplomatic corps of Russia and Cuba attended the Forum. The Cuban the delegation was represented by the rectors of Technological University of Habana Jose Antonio Echeverria, University of Computer Science, Pedagogical University named after Enrique Jose Varona, Graduate School of Public and Government Personnel, University of Cienfuegos, University of Guantanamo Bay, Higher Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Moa, University of Medical Sciences of Havana, as well as vice-rectors of the University of Havana, the University of Camaguey, the University "Marta Abreu" of Las Villas. The Forum was co-chaired by the President of the Russian Union of Rectors, Rector of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Academician Viktor Antonovich Sadovnichiy and Deputy Minister of Higher Education of the Republic of Cuba Reinaldo Velasquez Saldivar.
Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation K.I. Mogilevskiy, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation S.A. Ryabkov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cuba to the Russian Federation H.A. Garmendia Pena noted the contribution of Southern Federal University to the development of cooperation between Russia and Cuba in the field of science and education, in particular, the importance of implementing such projects as the joint laboratory of advanced computer technologies of SFedU and the University of Havana, the preparatory faculty SFedU-Cuba and the university branch of SFedU in Cuba.
Bilateral agreements on cooperation between Russian and Cuban universities were signed at the Forum venues. Southern Federal University signed agreements with University of Computer Sciences, Pedagogical University named after Enrique Jose Varona, along with the University of Camaguey.
Southern Federal University was represented at the Forum by the Rector's Plenipotentiary Representative in the countries of the Ibero-American area, Acting Director of the International Institute of Interdisciplinary Education and Ibero-American Studies Natalia Valeryevna Karpovskaya.
As part of the plenary session, N. V. Karpovskaya presented a report in Spanish “Internship in Russia – a step to success!”: a comprehensive internship program for students from Cuban universities in the territory of the Russian Federation, which reflected a new project of SFedU implemented within the framework of the state assignment received in 2023. The comprehensive internship program, the implementation of which will begin in October 2023, involves three types of internships: language, educational and research. The project is aimed at strengthening the strategic partnership between Russia and Cuba in various fields, developing partnerships between educational organizations, as well as developing the professional competencies of Cuban students, improving their level of proficiency in Russian language and forming sustainable student research and educational collaborations in order to implement joint programs and projects. The partners of the project in 2023 are the Moscow State Linguistic University and the Pushkin State Institute of the Russian Language. The report also touched upon issues related to the implementation of other projects and programs of SFedU in Cuba. The question of formation of an international research group of the Botanical Garden of the Southern Federal University and the National Botanical Garden of the University of Havana on the conservation and reproduction of plant biodiversity and soil resources was discussed.
It should be noted that the report was of great interest among representatives of both Cuban and Russian universities. Representatives of all Cuban universities participating in the Forum expressed their wish to send students for an internship under the program implemented by SFedU. Many Russian universities have shown great interest in participating in the project as partner universities in 2024.
As part of SFedU delegation's participation in the Forum, many issues related not only to the implementation of a Comprehensive internship program, but also to the opening of SFedU Branch in Cuba and other projects were considered. An exchange of ideas and initiatives, discussion of topical issues of the development of scientific and educational cooperation between Southern Federal Universities and universities of Cuba also took place.