An association of Soviet and Russian college and university alumni has been established in Syria. President Bashar al-Assad is enthusiastic about it, says Ghiyas Baraqyat, prominent on regional authorities of the ruling Baath Arab Sociality Party. The idea of the new association logically expresses a shared idea for closer bilateral friendship and all-round partnership, he pointed out to an inaugural congress. Personnel-training partnership has a place of honour in Russian-Syrian contacts, said other speakers. An approximate 20,000 Syrians received higher education in the Soviet Union within a historically short time, and are now successfully employed in health services, research, culture and the various economic branches. Many of the people with Soviet degrees are now professors, and passing their erudition to a new generation of Syrian students. That fact has special importance, remarked Robert Markaryan, Russian Ambassador. The new public league is a friendship bridge from Syria to Russia, said Dr. Hassan Rishah, Syria's Minister of Higher Education, who was elected association president. He had received his degree at the Leningrad Polytechnical Institute. The association will promote contacts between Syrian and Russian educational and research institutions, said the minister. Several other Arab countries established similar associations of Soviet and Russian college and university alumni within a few recent years. That gave grounds for Damascus congress speakers to propose the establishment of an all-Arab association, which will bring together all people educated in the Soviet Union and Russia.