APU Students Exploring Cultural Diplomacy: A Memorable Field Trip to the Russian House


According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), cultural diplomacy can be critical to fostering peace and stability in a globalised, interconnected world where countries are increasingly interdependent. [1]

 Ms. Svetlana N. Kovaleva, the Head of the Russian House, and Counsellor of the Russian Embassy in Malaysia, gave APU International Relations students a brief lecture on the Cultural Diplomacy of Russia. 

[1] Cutting Edge, From standing out to reaching out: cultural diplomacy for sustainable development, UNESCO News, 27th January, 2022. 

Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU), with a multicultural student community comprising 13,000 students from over 130 countries, and being ranked 16th for international students in the latest QS World University Ranking 2024, is committed to providing students with enriching experiences in cultural diplomacy. 

25 International Relations students from APU who participated in a field trip to the Russian House, took a group photo with their lecturer beside the monument of Russian poet, Mikhail Lermontov.

As part of the efforts, APU’s School of Business (SoB) organised a captivating field trip to the Russian House under the Russian Embassy. The trip was a testament to the power of cultural exchange in building bridges between nations and nurturing cross-cultural connections.

On 17 August, a group of 25 BA (HONS) in International Relations students along with Ms. Farah Ismail, International Relations lecturer under the School of Business, embarked on a journey to the Russian House located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. 

The objective of the trip was to offer students an opportunity to engage with Russian culture, arts, and traditions, while also learning about the role of cultural diplomacy in shaping international relations. 

Upon arrival, students were warmly welcomed by the Head of the Russian House, Counsellor of the Russian Embassy in Malaysia, Ms. Svetlana N. Kovaleva, and cultural attachés who introduced them to the rich tapestry of Russian heritage.

The itinerary featured a series of engaging sessions, which included - 

Cultural Presentations: The diplomats provided insights into Russia's history, traditions, and contemporary cultural landscape. Students gained a deeper appreciation for Russian literature, music, dance, and cuisine. 

Language and Communication: Language enthusiasts had the opportunity to learn basic Russian phrases and engage in simple conversations. This interactive session highlighted the significance of language in cross-cultural communication.

APU’s students and lecturers were served with Russian-style breakfast with pancakes and chocolates.

Culinary Exploration: The students were served a Russian breakfast, providing a tangible connection to cultural identity through food. 

The Soviet Space Legacy History: Russia has a long history of space exploration, and the accomplishments of Russian cosmonauts and the Soviet Union's space programme are sources of national pride. The Baikonur Cosmodrome and the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre are prominent markers of this history. Students were encouraged to reflect on the connections between art and cultural identity.

As the field trip concluded, students left with a newfound understanding of the complexities of cultural diplomacy. The experience prompted reflection on the role of arts and culture in shaping global perceptions, promoting peace, and nurturing lasting relationships.

The trip to the Russian House also formerly known as the Russian Centre of Science and Culture under the Russian Embassy was a testament to the power of cultural diplomacy in creating connections that extend beyond political boundaries. It highlighted how an appreciation for diverse cultures can contribute to a more harmonious and interconnected world.

APU students were given a free t-shirt featuring Alexander Pushkin, a Russian poet and writer who contributed to the formation of the Russian literary language as a gift.

To their surprise, students were given a T-shirt in remembrance of Alexander Ostrovsky and a certificate signed by the diplomats as a token of appreciation. 
Ms. Farah Ismail who accompanied her students for this cultural diplomacy learning experience as the field trip lead commented, “The field trip highlights the role of cultural diplomacy in building mutual respect and fostering international cooperation. By engaging with diplomats from the Russian House under the Russian Embassy in Malaysia, students gained an appreciation for the nuances of cultural exchange, realising that such interactions contribute to building positive international relations.”

Ms. Svetlana N. Kovaleva (centre), the Head of the Russian House, and Counsellor of the Russian Embassy in Malaysia received a token of appreciation from APU’s international relations lecturers (from left) - Ms. Nurizzah Hanim, Ms. Farah Ismail, Mr. Mohamed Eliyas and Mr. Muhammad Syahir. 

She especially thanked all the lecturers, including the International Relations lecturers and Event Committee Ms. Nurizzah Hanim, Mr. Muhammad Syahir and Mr. Mohamed Eliyas Hashim and also the students who had made this field trip possible. 
Through experiences like these, the School of Business under the leadership of its Senior Head, Associate Professor Dr. Jason Turner, will continue to prepare students to be global citizens who can navigate and contribute to our increasingly interconnected global society.