Mrs. Laura W. Bush, former first lady of the United States, who is now an advocate for literacy, education, and human rights delivered a statement at the opening plenary session. Mrs. Bush shared her White House memories and experience, which no doubt was of specific interest for most of the participants. She also touched upon her current projects and charity activities. Mrs. Bush emphasized the importance of equal access to education, creation of open society and development of international education.

ITMO University’s team held a series of meetings with the institution's current and prospective partners. Collaboration extension was on the table at the meeting with the University of Arizona. Its internal dynamic developments, which have been in the pipeline, may open way to new opportunities for joint projects.

Russian universities at the exhibition
Russian universities at the exhibition

Moreover, one of the leading Canadian institutions, McMaster University, expressed its vivid interest in diversifying the bilateral collaboration. So far, there is an up-and-running joint PhD (cotutelle) program in the field of modern functional materials, but the cooperation can grow into so much more in the future, if both parties commit to it.

In the meantime, University of Rome Tor Vergata is open to hosting ITMO students both for short-term programs and semester exchange. Considering its excellent location, which is so close to Rome, it can become one of the most popular destinations among ITMO students, who can capitalize on this life-hack and discover the Italian capital without spending a fortune. Moreover, the University of Seoul is happy to welcome more students of different majors. It's great news indeed, considering that South Korea has been in high demand among ITMO students. Those interested in going there should save this thought for the next semester.

There seemed to be great interest for collaboration from Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. Speaking of Chile, there is already a well-established partner of ITMO University there, Finis Terrae Universiy, which has been on board with an idea of the collaboration expansion. The Chilean University has its School of Arts, which matches perfectly with the recently launched English-taught Master’s degree program in Art&Science, which will be running at ITMO University starting September 2018. Among prospective partner institutions there are the University of Liechtenstein, University of Milano, University Institute of Lisbon and others, who can become reliable partners on student and faculty exchange, joint grants and projects, as well as research opportunities.

NAFSA is not only a platform for sharing ideas and meeting with partner institutions, but it’s also a promotion opportunity for ITMO University and Russian higher education in general. This year NAFSA was attended by more than 9000 people, and the Russian booth was very eye-catching and popular, as it always has been. NAFSA 2018 explored the theme of Diversity and Commitment. Next year the conference will be travelling from the capital of Philly cheesesteaks to another location, and those DC letters will be visualized in Washington DC. NAFSA conference planning committee promised that next year’s expo will be even huger, which may turn into more opportunities for promoting ITMO University’s outlook in the international arena.

Written by Elena Shumeyko