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The Competence Centre for Cooperation with International Organisations has been established at the HSE

The HSE-based Centre for Cooperation with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD-Centre), part of the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK), has been transformed into the new Competence Centre for Cooperation with International Organisations. See what its staff has to say about the rationale behind this change and their new responsibilities.

Outcomes of the OECD-HSE cooperation

OECD is renowned for being an authoritative source of standards, best practices and statistics accumulated from various sectors, ranging from education and science to agriculture. Access to this expertise prompted cooperation, Director of the Centre Tatyana Meshkova explains. OECD activities involve leading experts affiliated with a whole range of HSE departments, including the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge, Institute of Education, Institute for Public Administration and Government, etc.

Tatyana Meshkova: “A network of experts who regularly partake in OECD activities has formed over the last 15 years. They have been attending committee and working group meetings along with government officials and were mandated to represent not only the university, but also the Russian government. We also held joint OECD-HSE events, e.g. the international workshop on ‘Transnational Research and Innovation Partnerships. Designing International Co-operation Projects to Deliver on Economic Competitiveness and the Grand Challenges’ in May 2018. The HSE was an active member of the Institutional Management and Higher Education Programme, involved in drafting the strategy for internationalising education, and is party to some landmark OECD projects in the field of education such as ‘Education 2030’.”

The university coordinated Russia’s participation in various scientific projects, including the ‘Knowledge Triangle’ project aimed at fostering cooperation between universities, research centres and the private sector.

Elena Sabelnikova: “The HSE is above all an academic institution, hence most prolific cooperation with OECD in the fields of education and science. The organisation’s delegates take part in major educational events such as the Moscow International Education Fair, The City of Education Forum, the Russian Association of Higher Education Researchers annual conference organised by the HSE Institute of Education. Another crucial activity is collecting and sharing statistical data on science and education in Russia, as well as developing international approaches to and standards of statistical observation.”

The Centre provided its expertise to the accession negotiations between Russia and the OECD before the process stalled in 2014. Nevertheless, it remains immersed in actual international relations given the increased role of expert institutions with sound knowledge about Russia and the post-Soviet space.

The rationale behind establishing the new Centre

The Centre’s area of expertise has gradually expanded to incorporate BRICS, SCO, APEC and ASEAN. The Eurasian integration became another significant concern which resulted in a two-year comprehensive programme of cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission, followed by a new one approved at the 2019 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. It encompasses cooperation in the fields of education and science, sharing of information and analytical findings, holding joint events, etc.

At this stage the Centre will continue drawing on the expertise distributed across the university and invite experts from various HSE academic departments to engage in international cooperation processes. Several working groups have already been established, one dealing with the UN SDGs-related projects in light of the 2020 Voluntary National Review of the SDGs Achievement in Russia and the other with Russia’s forthcoming BRICS chairmanship.

The future of international cooperation and student involvement

No single state can manage effectively such global issues as environmental concerns, access to water sources, climate change, migration, unemployment and social welfare. Thus universities and research centres may prove helpful for building a constructive dialogue to this end.

Vladimir Izotov: “It may seem paradoxical in the current international and geopolitical context, but the democratisation of global governance remains a general trend, despite the instances of new protectionism, sanctions, trade restrictions and other myopic actions. We function as a G2S centre, where ‘G’ stands for government and ‘S’ for science, connecting scientists and experts with government officials at the international level. We deem it necessary to link research findings with the international decision-making and standard development processes.”

The Centre welcomes students with various academic backgrounds keen to assist in its activities, including research. Moreover, the HSE has a number of agreements allowing its students to apply for internships at international organisations, namely the Eurasian Economic Commission, the Eurasian Development Bank, the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development, and potentially the BRICS New Development Bank.