First international congress of European and Asian counterparts, timed to the opening of the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, was organized by members of the ITMO University Optical Student Chapter (OSC).
Members of the Congress presented universities of Spain, Portugal, Latvia, Ukraine, Germany, China and Poland. According to Egor Gurvitz, the president of the ITMO University OSC, a Master’s student of the Photonics and Optical Information Technology Department, this is an excellent opportunity to establish scientific contacts with foreign institutions through the interaction of young scientists.
"We showed our university to the guests, explained what research areas are developing here, and how we, young researchers, are involved in this process. Our colleagues, in turn, talked about activities of their optical chapters and potential future cooperation with ITMO University. Now all we need is to realize our plans".
"The Student Chapter Leadership Meeting program emphasized the informal communication,” Solveiga Azbite, a second-year undergraduate student of the ITMO University Photonics and Optical Information Technology Department, commented. “After introduction, the event participants made presentations of their chapters and new ideas. The participants were divided into pairs: ITMO students and guests of the event. The pair had to come up with an idea of event within the Year of Light, which could be organized by two chapters. Participants offered a variety of ideas: from the joint conferences organization to the launch of educational courses for students from different countries. All these activities pulled the members together and also provided opportunity to learn about the chapters activities in many countries."
 "Soon, the official part of the meeting gave a way to a command «Let's light together» game, in which participants were to show optical phenomena so that others could understand what was going on,” Svyatoslav Gusev, a member of the competition winning team, a graduate student of the ITMO University Photonics and Optical Information Technology Department, said.
"Despite the fact that today we met for the first time, we have found a common language immediately,” said Azalia Saitgalina, one of the leaders of the Student Research Laboratory for Optical Engineering, a fourth-year undergraduate student of the ITMO University Department of Applied and Computer Optics. “Colleagues told a lot about research activities in their universities, the challenges faced and ways to complete them. There was no constraint in communication: we discussed the thing we care about, thus, the things that unite young scientists around the world."
In the next two days Student Chapter Leadership Meeting members will hold a seminar on effective management, discuss the activities of members of European and Asian OSC within the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies and visit its official opening ceremony in St. Petersburg.
"When I learned about the opportunity to participate in this meeting, I did not hesitate to send my resume immediately,” says Alvaro José Kaseyro de Almeida, a graduate student of the University of Aveiro (Portugal). “I imagine the Russian researchers potential quite well, because in my home university the scientist from Russia, who is able to perform the most complex mathematical calculations without a calculator, is teaching. It was interesting to get acquainted with the new generation of Russian scientists and look at the laboratories work. The spectrum of research conducted here is truly impressive. My university is not a partner of the ITMO University yet, but I already know what to say to my scientific supervisors when return home."