Speech by the Ambassador of Russia to Botswana H.E. Victor Sibilev on the occasion of the meeting with the students departing to Russia for studies in 2018, September 13, 2018
Dear students, you are the most welcome. I would like to officially greet the Guest of Honour, who is among us – the Former Minister of Health of the Republic of Botswana Dr. John Seakgosing.
My sincere welcome to the government officials – DTEF representatives, as well as to BOPA and Radio team.
Today we traditionally hold a farewell meeting with the Botswana students departing to the Russian Federation for education – as we call it higher education. I know that all of you will go to the Russian Federation for the first time. I think it is the most important that you will join a numerous team of African students who are now undergoing training and receiving diplomas in Russia.
I am sure that you will enjoy both training and stay in our beautiful country.
Russia is a huge country, the largest in the world. When residents of the Far East are getting up, Moscovites and Petersburgians are going to bed. On one and the same day a swimming season on the Black Sea shore may open and the coast of the East-Siberian Sea may be swept by a snow-storm.
The discoveries and inventions of Russian scientists in chemistry, nuclear physics, aviation and military engineering are of common knowledge. In 1961, Russia (then USSR) sent a man into space, for the first time in history of the human race.
All people have their own specific national features, the same is true with Russians. I hope you will become friends with Russian people.
Russia is a land of a millennial culture. In many towns and cities of the European part of the country, ancient churches, monasteries and kremlins naves survived. There are plenty opportunities for leisure in Russia, lots of places to visit and lots of sites to see. Recently, many cities, monuments and museum expositions have dramatically improved their looks. You may see cathedrals, fortresses and historical centers restored in each and every one of the old Russian towns: Pskov, Novgorod the Great, Rostov, Vladimir, Suzdal’ and etc.
Russia is also a real boon for adventurous people. There is no another country on the globe having such a variety of preserved nature or so many different ethnic groups with their original cultures and traditions. Altai and Kamchatka, Sayans and Caucasus, Baikal and Valaam are waiting for travelers and ready to welcome them. Our nature is rich as nature here in Botswana, but very much different.
Russia’s higher education system is considered to be one of the best in the world specifically because of its quality, prestige and affordability. At the same time it is relatively cheaper than in Western Europe and America. The distinguished Russian universities offer a wide range of academic programs of medical, engineering, economic and liberal arts specialties which have the call in the most African countries. We all know that Africa has time-tested educational ties with Russia, established during the Soviet Union times. It suffices to say that one of our most famous educational institution "Peoples Friendship University" carried the name of Mr.Patrice Lumumba, the prominent independence leader of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The statistics speaks for itself: today more than 14 000 Africans study in the Russian universities. 38 percent of students study at the expense of the federal budget, with the rest receiving education on a commercial basis. Annually Russia assigns about 1500 budget-financed scholarships for African students in various cities. Last year 55 students from Botswana were sent to Russia, including both on state scholarships and contract basis. It also became possible in June 2016 after signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Education and Skills Development of the Republic of Botswana on cooperation in the field of education. The majority of students from Botswana are now successfully studying in the cities of central and southern Russia – Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Voronezh, Krasnodar and others. The universities of North Caucuses are also gaining popularity among youngsters from Botswana.
So, dear friends, I take this opportunity to assure you that the development of further partnership between Botswana and Russia in the sphere of education will remain a key element of our diplomatic activity. With the valuable support of all stakeholders, including the esteemed representatives of the department of the tertiary education financing, the Embassy will be always ready to assist those who decided to receive higher education in our country. Particular attention will be paid to the appropriate consular support, including visas and notarial services. We are confident that Russia will not only reveal new educational perspectives for you, it will expand your cultural knowledge as well. Going to another country, to another society is always an exciting experience, not to mention the students everyday life. For many of us, the time of being a student appears to be the best time of our lives.
Hopefully, study in Russia will be heart warming for you also and leave unforgettable memories.
I would like to wish all of you good stay in Russia, to get and accumulate more knowledge as well to take properly possession of Russian language and to get many friends among fellow-students and Russians.
As we say in our language: Good luck!