A Russian-German youth school-exchange project got off to a rolling start here today.
This is a genuinely absolute experiment, which is called on to provide a powerful impulse to the development of direct contacts between school students of different Russian and German regions, Martin Hoffman, executive director and board member of the influential German-Russian Forum public organization, told RIA Novosti.
20 senior students and 20 teachers from ten German and ten Russian schools have arrived in line with the first school-exchange project, Mr. Hoffman went on to say.
Germany is represented by school students from Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Wurtenberg, Brandenburg and other German territories.
Senior school students from cities and villages of the Russian Volga federal district's seven territories have arrived in Berlin, as well.
We are very glad to represent Russia here, Lyubov Glebova, deputy presidential plenipotentiary in the Volga federal district, told RIA Novosti. This is hardly surprising because this region's young people, politicians and business community consider partner-like relations to be something natural, Ms. Glebova added.
The Volga federal district has many schools offering intensive German-language courses; we implement quite a few German-culture projects and some of them have already received various grants, Ms. Glebova stressed.
On June 5 Russian and German school students will be preparing their creative projects in the following four categories, i.e. graffiti art, songs, dances and web sites. For their own part, teachers and principals are going to discuss contractual-legal terms of their long-term partnership. Still no one seems to know anything about the results of the current Berlin conference and subsequent bilateral contacts.
"We are very much attached to this project; those, who say that anything, which begins in childhood, will last forever, are quite right," former German ambassador in Russia Ernst-Jorg von Studnitz, who now serves as president of the German-Russian Forum, told those present.
"Dear children, one can only envy you because you are beginning to implement a very interesting and important project today," Russia's Ambassador in Germany Vladimir Kotenev told Russian and German school students. In his opinion, the development of direct partner-like ties between Russian and German schools will contribute greatly to overall German-Russian friendship.
Russian and German school students will meet again on June 6, acquainting themselves and their guests with those specific projects, which were prepared by them on June 5.
A new postal stamp dealing with German-Russian youth meetings in the 21st century, will also be unveiled here. This stamp, which is issued by the German Ministry of Finance, will be officially presented by Finance Minister Hans Eichel. Ernst-Jorg von Studnitz will also attend this ceremony. Vladimir Kotenev, who serves as Russia's Ambassador to Germany, as well as Russian Information Technology and Communications Minister Leonid Reiman, will be there, too. Russia's First Lady Lyudmila Putina and Doris Schroeder-Koepf, the wife of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, are also expected to attend.
This postal stamp was suggested by delegates of the first German-Russian youth forum, which took place two years ago in Moscow and Berlin, respectively.