RP, Russian schools commit to engage in joint scientific research on socio-economic issues, etc.

CEBU (May 15) — The Philippines’ oldest school, the University of San Carlos (USC) in Cebu City, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Moscow-based Academy of Labor and Social Relations (ALSR) on May 4.

The MOU was signed by ALSR Rector Dr. Alexei Shulus and Fr. Felino Javines, Jr., Vice President for Academic Affairs of USC at the USC campus.

Witnessing the signing of the MOU were Fr. Louie Punzalan, USC’s Presidential Assistant for External Affairs; Dr. Ramon del Fierro, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences of USC; and Armi Lopez-Garcia, Honorary Consul of Russia to Cebu.

The MOU commits the USC and ALSR to engage in joint scientific research and training projects, conduct symposiums, workshops and seminars, to exchange research materials and literature on socio-economic issues as well as officials and personnel, including socio-cultural relations specialists and Russian- and English-language study missions.

The MOU outlines cooperation in the promotion and implementation of research on socio-economic issues and labor-management relations education. It is the first step in what is envisaged to develop into a broader agreement encompassing various areas of undergraduate- and graduate-level instruction and research.

The agreement between the two universities was facilitated by the Philippine Embassy in Moscow and Honorary Consul Lopez-Garcia, who anchored the negotiation of the agreement on the Cebu side.

USC joins 32 other universities and higher schools located in the Commonwealth of Independent States such as Austria, China, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Mongolia, Poland, Serbia, Vietnam, and the United States in signing an MOU with ALSR. USC is also the first university in the Visayas to sign a cooperation agreement with a Russian institution of higher learning.

Philippine Ambassador to Moscow Victor G. Garcia III said he has high hopes that the agreement will benefit Filipino and Russian teachers, researchers and students due to the dynamism and pragmatism of the two universities’ officials who are now focusing on the concrete implementation of the MOU.

Honorary Consul Garcia says she expects the agreement, which was first broached during the official visit of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia in September 2008, to lead to the establishment of the first Russian-language center in the Philippines that will be based in the USC campus.

Second Secretary and Consul Roderico C. Atienza, the Embassy’s officer charged with educational affairs, notes that ALSR is one of 14 universities authorized by the Russian Ministry of Education to administer Russian-language state exams and grant certificates of various levels of ability recognized by the Russian government and throughout the world.

Founded as Colegio de San Ildefonso by Spanish Jesuits in 1595, USC is a Catholic institution of higher learning run by the Society of the Divine Word or SVD since 1935.

The ALSR meanwhile, is Russia’s leading educational, scientific and methodical center in the field of economics and sociology of labor, social management, finance, labor safety, legal regulation of social and industrial relations on principles of social partnership. It was founded in 1919.

The Academy is one of the founders of the International Association of Education Institutions preparing students for their professional career in the field of Social and Industrial Relations.

In 2000, the Academy was included into the World List of Universities and Other Institutions of Higher Education, 22nd Edition, published under aegis UNESCO by The International Association of Universities.

The USC-ALSR MOU is the third cooperation agreement between Philippine and Russian universities.

Prior to the USC-ALSR agreement, the College of Arts and Letters of the University of the Philippines and the Institute of Asian and African Studies of the Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) concluded a faculty and student-exchange agreement in January 2006.

In July 2007 UP signed a university-wide agreement with St Petersburg State University (SPbSU).

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