Saturday 22 May 2021
Symposium "Russia and Papua New Guinea"
An international symposium "Russia and Papua New Guinea" was held on the 21st of May 2021 within the walls of the Nevskaya Ratusha administrative and business complex.
The event was timed to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the diplomatic relations establishment between the Russian Federation and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea. The conference was held in the video format.
The symposium brought together the leading scientists, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, political and public figures from Russia and Papua New Guinea. The speakers discussed the historical ties amid the states, joint projects in the cultural, humanitarian, scientific, and business spheres, the interaction of the two countries in the international arena, as well as the state and prospects of Russian-Papua-New Guinean cooperation.
The event may be called rightfully a successful example of interaction among government, business, and science, united by one common goal.
The symposium was opened by N.N. Miklukho Maclay, a descendant and full namesake of the world famous traveler, founder and director of the Miklukho-Maclay Foundation, the Head of the Center for the Study of the South Pacific Region of the Center for Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania (the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences).
Nikolai Miklukho Maclay noted in his speech that the long-standing historical and cultural ties between the two countries were a personal history for him that had begun 150 years ago, in 1871, from the famous trip to the northeastern coast of Fr. New Guinea (Maclay Coast) of his great-great-grandfather N.N. Miklouho-Maclay. Miklouho-Maclay Jr. told the symposium participants about the Russian expeditions of the 19th – 21st centuries to the Maclay Coast. These expeditions laid a solid foundation for friendly ties development between Russia and Papua New Guinea. According to N.N. Miklouho-Maclay, the modern Russian expeditions of the years 2017 and 2019 under his leadership showed that discoveries in the modern world contribute not only to scientific cooperation, but also help the development and building of strong all-round ties in the scientific, educational, cultural, humanitarian, and business spheres.
Sir Peter Barter, Knight Commander of the Order of Logohu and Knightly Order of the British Empire, the Chairman of Melanesian Tourist Services, ex-governor of Madang Province, ex-Minister of Health, distinguished statesman of Papua New Guinea, shared his memories of the Soviet sailors visit to the Maclay Coast in the 20th century. He appreciated highly the activities of the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation that helped to attract tourists from Russia to Papua New Guinea. As Sir Peter noted rightly, the Papua New Guinean side had a lot to offer Russia due to its natural beauty and unique culture. Sir Peter Barter expressed his readiness to receive the Russian tourists in Papua New Guinea and to support the comprehensive work of the Miklouho-Maclay Foundation as soon as the Covid-19 restrictions were over.
A.K. Alikberov, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies (the Russian Academy of Sciences) addressed the symposium participants with a welcoming speech. He stressed that the 45th anniversary of the diplomatic relations establishment amid Russia and PNG was a good reason to assess the level of work already done and to outline plans for future cooperation. The Director of the Institute paid special attention to the importance of studying history, culture, contemporary political relations, and topical aspects of Russia's relations with the countries of the Southeast Asia and the South Pacific Region. He appreciated highly the activities of the All-Russian Association of the South Pacific Region Researchers that had brought together the leading Russian specialists in the study of this unique region. According to Mr. Alikberov, the culture and the positive experience of relations between Russia and PNG were the foundation of future cooperation. For that reason the Institute was ready to support further study of the region.
E.A. Kanaev, Doctor of Historical Sciences, the Deputy Head of the Regional Studies Department, Professor at the World Economy and World Politics Faculty at the Higher School of Economics, Vice President for Science of the All-Russian Association of the South Pacific Region Researchers analyzed the specific directions, measures and mechanisms of the cooperation development amid Russia and Papua New Guinea. According to Mr. Kanaev, both states might interact at the ASEAN Regional Forum, including the areas of eliminating the natural disasters consequences, developing contacts among the peoples of Russia and Papua New Guinea, as well as implementing pinpoint economic cooperation projects using administrative resources. The expert expressed the opinion that in the future Russian-Papua-Novovginean cooperation "has a chance to enter a stable positive trajectory of its development."
N.N. Miklouho-Maclay thanked the symposium participants for their support in establishing and strengthening contacts amid Russia and Papua New Guinea. “We are focused on comprehensive cooperation in a number of projects that may be implemented despite the fact that its development was suspended by pandemia. Despite all obstacles, we still have a unique opportunity to conduct a dialogue in a remote format. We are looking forward to continuing projects, especially since the visits of the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea have been planned earlier, the implementation of joint initiatives in the medical, humanitarian, business and cultural spheres. Now we have the opportunity to involve the leading Russian specialists in the region, including the professionals from the Association of the South Pacific Researchers, in the relations development, that has been a great progress in just four years of our activity. "
As a result of the symposium, a scientific and practical round table will be organized with the participation of representatives from Russia, Papua New Guinea and the other countries. The conduction of this event will be announced in the near future. At the round table the participants will have the opportunity to discuss the prospects for the relations development between Russia and Papua New Guinea.
- External Relations Committee of St. Petersburg
- Study Center of the South Pacific Region of the Center for Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
- Foundation for the Preservation of Ethnocultural Heritage, named after Miklouho-Maclay
- The All-Russian Association of South Pacific Researchers