St. Petersburg Lace of Cultures: LETI Held a Forum on the World's Cultural Identities and Languages

As part of the Palette of Languages and Cultures Forum, more than 150 linguists and international students discussed and demonstrated the diversity of cultures reflected in language, traditions, and national cuisines.

LETI held the Fifteenth Annual Inter-University Forum "The Palette of Languages and Cultures." This year, after a two-year break, the long-awaited event has returned from its remote Zoom mode to the LETI's glamorous Assembly hall. The Forum was organized by the International Students Office and the Department of Foreign Languages.

The first Palette's day opened with an exhibition of national costumes and household items. A traditional and most popular part of the morning program included the sample tasting of national dishes cooked by the international students of LETI. Students and lecturers of the university had a rare chance to taste cuisines with diverse geographic and cultural backgrounds: from Belgium to Uzbekistan and from Vietnam to Algeria.

The forum was continued by a gala concert, where international students and representatives of the LETI Faculty of Humanities showed dance, music, and recital performances, vividly demonstrating the diversity of cultures concentrated in the university. Nagham Aldaabool from Syria hypnotized the audience with the magical oriental dance, while the expressive performance of Anesu Ruzuwe from Zimbabwe energized the entire hall. The unique performance of linguistics students, who "sang" in sign language, overcoming all linguistic barriers, also produced a great emotional impact.

"International relations are getting more complicated, but cooperative interaction and cultural exchanges cannot disappear. The events of Inter Week and especially the Palette of Languages and Cultures are the best proof of that. No matter how difficult it is now, we will continue together!"

Renat Yalyshev, Head of the International Students Office of LETI

A true interaction of cultures was synthesized in the Sphinx performance, where student Eugenia Schelkonogova recited a poem about ancient Giza to the music of pianist Aghdam Said Ramesani from the Netherlands. "Voices of Africa" at the concert were Georges Daniel Carlos Muamboma of Angola and Joshua Oluwatosin Olusanya of Nigeria. The participants also made artistic landings in Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Russia as part of their journey through the cultures of the world.

"The fact that the forum is finally being held 'live' is very important. Almost all humanities students engaged in the concert are in their first year of studies – by this, they were able to get a real feel for student life here. They all did a great job. Our forum is not a hypothetical union of cultures, but a real interaction, so the help of the International Students Office was extremely important."

Olga Preobrazhenskaya, Associate Professor of the Department of Foreign Languages at LETI

On November 3, the forum continued with the language & culture conference. During the plenary session, Emilia Bushueva, a lecturer at the Nevsky Institute of Language and Culture, made an overview of the history of Russian and Soviet cinematography and spoke about its cultural influence.

Olga Zhuravleva, Associate Professor of the Department of Foreign Languages at LETI, focused on the importance of elements of folk art and cultural traditions in communication. For example, the ethnic costume has a dual purpose: on one hand, it tells about a person's belonging to a certain group, and on the other – currently, researchers highlight the trend for strengthening personal identity through wearable items.

Olga Preobrazhenskaya, Associate Professor of the Department of Foreign Languages at LETI, examined idioms in a famous old Russian dictionary, which have different names for "evil" and "undead" in them, and analyzed their occurrence in the contemporary dictionary. It turns out that most of the expressions are now out of use!

The study "St. Petersburg lace: continuation of the original art tradition" was presented by Daria Podoprigora, Assistant of the Department of Foreign Languages of LETI. The speaker made an overview of the artistic craft history and its development in Russia today.

The conference continued with breakout sessions devoted to the languages of the peoples of the world. The discussed papers and studies included linguistic issues in Celtic, English, French, Hindi, Japanese, Ainu, and the Russian Sign Language. The researchers also examined intercultural communication in the folk art context and the generic features of the national material heritage.

Once again, the Palette's multidimensional diversity has demonstrated the huge interdisciplinary international potential of St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University LETI. 

It has been the appropriate concluding event of the LETI Inter Week 2022.

Looking forward to your participation in the LETI Inter Week 2023!

"LETI Students are Engineers of the Future World": LETI Held a Meeting of International Graduates

As part of LETI Inter Week International alumni and students met in LETI to learn more about the university's research and laboratories, and educators discussed teaching methods at the conference.

On November 10, the "Academic Environment" track of the LETI Interdisciplinary International Week was completed. The participating international students got acquainted with the university traditions, practices, and R&D labs, and they also learned about new opportunities for their career development.

On November 9, the meeting "LETI Alumni is an Engineer of the Future World" was held with participants from Nigeria, Syria, India, Greece, Thailand, Mozambique, Cote d'Ivoire, and Indonesia.

"Our main goal is to create a platform for collaboration between today's students who would like to find a job, do an internship, or go into project activities, and alumni who have tried all these pathways and could give a start to this new project. At this first meeting, it's important for us not only to talk about postgraduate experiences but also make suggestions on how we can develop the community platform."

Renat Yalyshev, Head of the International Student Office of LETI

The alumni initiative is aimed at maintaining cooperative relations with LETI graduates and creating a platform for mutually beneficial exchanges between them and the university. Among participants of the first international alumni, meeting were employees of such companies as Sberbank and Yandex, as well as graduates who continued their careers in laboratories of Russian and international universities. They shared practical advice on how to build a successful career after graduation.

"I came to Russia in 2017 and had my first opportunity to work just after three months: I started teaching at the Department of Theoretical Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering. For this, I am very grateful to my supervisors. LETI shaped me: I changed my attitude toward work and became more responsible. A year ago, I got a second opportunity and started working in a Swedish company in the field of machine learning. I am glad that there will be such a platform where students can learn how to find a promising job. LETI is not just a university, but a community where those who want to work hard will have every opportunity to do so," said Abdullah Ali, 2019 LETI graduate (Syria).

As a part of the Academic Environment track, international students were able to learn more about the scientific and educational opportunities at the engineering faculties of LETI. The participants visited classes and got acquainted with the research projects of the university scientists. The LETI International Students Office organized a quest around the university, which introduced students to the departments and laboratories and gave an insight into different aspects of education for international students. The program also included excursions to the main landmarks and sights of St. Petersburg.

On November 10, Conference "Teaching Fundamental Engineering Disciplines: Traditions and Innovations" was held within the Russian-African Network University. The event, which was timed to coincide with the World Science Day for Peace and Development, featured presentations and discussions by Russian and international experts on methods of teaching mathematics, physics, and computer science, as well as the Russian language for engineering and technical specialists.

In April 2023, the abstracts of papers presented at the conference will be published in the Almanac "Modern education: content, technology, quality."

Successful R&D Business in Any Part of the World: LETI Trains Young Startuppers

At LETI Inter Week, international students learned about skills and tips necessary to launch a successful startup by taking part in workshops and business games, discussing business ideas, and visiting R&D labs as part of the International Startupper School.

The Hard and Soft Skills track held within the LETI Inter Week introduced its participants to the know-how and skills necessary for a successful career in the innovative business environment.

The International Startupper School, organized by the Inprotekh Institute and International Projects Office, introduced the basics of running a successful R&D business in any part of the world. The track was opened by the lecture of Nadezhda Pokrovskaya, Professor of the Innovation Management Department. The interactive lecture discussed trends and principles of innovation management that work everywhere. The theme was continued by Ilya Bogatyrev, a 4th-year student of INPROTECH, who presented the "LETI Startups" acceleration program aimed at the implementation of student tech entrepreneurship initiatives.

«Geography expansion of the projects participating in our startup accelerator program certainly proves the global youth interest in entrepreneurship activities. And at the same time, it is a challenge for us, as each project is unique, and cross-cultural features will play an important role in the acceleration process. But we are ready to accept such a challenge and welcome international participants."

Alexandra Proshkina, Head of the "LETI Startups" acceleration program

Students visited the university's laboratories. The first was the CDIO lab, organized for students who want both learn from the lectures and apply their knowledge and capacities in the related fields, bringing ideas to life. The new CDIO lab opens its doors to inventive opportunities for any student. Visitors were also impressed by the anechoic chamber, which conducts experimental research in electromagnetic compatibility and antenna measurements.

On the second day of the International Startupper school, Ksenia Tikhankina, Assistant of the Department of Public Relations at LETI, spoke about efficient communication tools, for example, the "elevator pitch," a few-minute presentation to persuade the investor. Participating master students subjected their business ideas and prospective startups to expert assessment.

The program was continued by an insightful visit to the LETI R&D Park. The students learned about research in sports and rehabilitation, exoskeleton testing, the development of drone control systems, and other capabilities of the Motion Capture and Simulation Systems laboratory. Andrey Aksenov, Associate Professor of the Department of Laser Measurement and Navigation Systems, and assistant Olesya Maltseva demonstrated the functionality of the laboratory equipment, which allows the virtual reconstruction of various objects, as well as the human skeleton for analysis of the musculoskeletal system.

Following that, students visited a Youth Laboratory on Hyperspectral Technologies, which are used in high-precision methods of material diagnostics. LETI researchers adapted them for applications such as the restoration of archival documents, personal identification, and the study of archaeological finds.

Anastasia Vasilyeva, Assistant of the Department of Photonics and Junior Researcher of the Project Office, gave a tour of the Laboratory of Lasers in Microelectronics, which was opened not so long ago in the LETI R&D Park. Now the laboratory has three laser units and an optical 3D scanner. This equipment allows research on the micromachining of photonics and microelectronics materials, processing various materials ranging from metals to certain types of organics, and high-precision welding of various thin-sheet metals and alloys.

The third day was devoted to business games using methodologies and techniques of the Process Factory, which was opened in September 2022. Students practiced quality management and lean production tools in the game mode. They simulated specific business situations: from selling equipment to receiving payment and delivering finished products – and solved complicated problems playing roles of company employees.

"This program was great because it introduced students to entrepreneurship and offered essential skills to build a startup. I learned lean management skills, how to present my ideas better, and how to communicate with other people. I think that this experience will come in handy when I graduate and want to start my own business. I enjoyed the lab visits - I visited places I didn't even know existed."

Amir Hisham, a 1st-year master's student of INPROTECH at LETI

Active participants of the International Startup School received certificates and an invitation to the LETI Startups Accelerator Program to use new ideas and skills in practical applications.

The "Hard and Soft Skills" track also included a workshop and testing of the "Digital Botanical Garden" application, created by VibeLab, the youth IT laboratory of LETI. The developers introduced participants to the principles of the creation and operation of intelligent quest platforms. They could download the application and test it in navigation and quest modes in the Botanical Garden.

LETI Unites: Art & Science at LETI Inter Week

As part of the three-day Science Art track of the interdisciplinary LETI Inter Week, students of St. Petersburg universities were able to look at science through the eyes of artists and philosophers.

From October 24-26, the Science Art track of international interdisciplinary LETI Inter Week track was held at the university. Lectures and workshops within this track gave students an opportunity to open their research and creative potential by participating in the interdisciplinary projects.

The program started with a discussion with the leading experts of St. Petersburg in the field of Art & Science. Anastasia Minina, Vice-Rector for International Affairs of LETI, welcomed the participants.

“Art & Science is a new topic for LETI, and we are looking for ways to find better forms for it in the educational system of the university, connecting the unconnected – science and art – and attract new stakeholders to LETI. I hope that these three days of creativity will lead to new steps and the next round of development in this direction.”

Anastasia Minina, Vice-Rector for International Affairs of LETI

Lisa Savina, a lecturer at the School of Design at the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg and co-founder of the Sparta Cultural Initiatives Foundation, reviewed the theme of science as a mode of communication explored in her project "The Measure of Chaos.” She spoke about current trends, important artists and the most interesting works in Art & Science, including the "monument to artificial intelligence" LETIBIT. Ilya Shalashov, the author of this technological installation, was one of the experts at the three-day school.

Dmitry Shevchenko, Head of the CDIO Lab at LETI presented the implementation of the CDIO (Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate) concept at the university. The laboratory, which allows students to realize their creative ideas, will soon open its doors in a new space and with new opportunities.

The main idea of the report by Danil Logvinenko, the leading technical specialist of SmartLight Company, was that the creative industries lack qualified engineers, whose role in producing projects is very important. The speaker told about the combination of art and technical approaches in creating shows and interactive installations.

Anastasia Skvortsova, a coordinator of educational projects at the Hermitage Youth Center, gave an overview of the works that technological artists created in response to environmental problems.

A continuation of the track was the three-day Nautilus 4.0 school, in which interdisciplinary groups developed research-based art projects. Galina Alferova, an interdisciplinary artist and curator of educational projects in Art & Science, coordinated the program.

"It's nice to see the familiar faces of the participants in our summer school, a test phase in student environment. It is you who will be creating our future. The time for narrow-disciplinary projects is passing; we need to learn to think broadly and collectively. Science Art is, above all, about creating a space for communication and a new type of thinking - non-individual.”

Larisa Sharakhina, Head of the Department of Public Relations at LETI

On the first day, participants listened to lectures on what should be taken into account when working on art projects, solved tasks to awaken creativity and thought over technological solutions for specific tasks.

The second day began with a game on combining technologies, competencies of the participants and exhibition techniques, the purpose of which was to shift the usual angle of view, finding approaches for alternative applications of technologies. The game resulted in 30 pilot project ideas, and after discussion and voting, the 7 best ones were chosen, on which the participants began to work in project groups. Experts from different fields worked with each of the groups in turn, discussing ideas and technical possibilities for implementing the projects.

On October 26, the results of the school were summed up. The participants made presentations of their projects, and Ilya Kronchev-Ivanov, an art historian and curator, evaluated them and gave recommendations for improvement.

The experts' favorites were three projects. "Dance - Music of the Senses" involves a performance in which a dancer creates unique music with the help of neural network algorithms. The idea of Lilia-Darja Stefankova and Ksenia Demina is to change the mode of dance from external to internal.

"A huge advantage of this program is that it was really interdisciplinary. Not only theoreticians, but also practitioners from various fields gathered here. It was a pleasure to talk to them, because it was a completely new perspective on our projects. We learned a lot about projects that we would never have seen in our own environment. It's a delightful cultural exchange that wouldn't have happened at any other institution."

Lilia-Daria Stefankova, a student of St. Petersburg State University

Tatiana Zachepilo and Elizaveta Stikheeva's project explores the psychophysiological boundaries of people. Algorithms analyze their movements and display a new projection devoid of social superstructures. LETI students Ksenia Demina, Kirill Shirokov, and Elizaveta Belenikina are studying interspecies communication and trying to transfer the experience of bee communication to humans by means of vibration.

The teams will continue to work on interdisciplinary projects and their implementation. The results are scheduled to be presented in 2023.

Flower and Code: LETI's project for the Botanical Garden

Inter Week program offers new and mature programmers an acquaintance with the Digital Botanical Garden project, learn how to create an interactive mobile application, download and test it in the Botanical Garden.

On October 28 at 14:00, within LETI Inter Week, students and researchers of LETI can try out the application "Digital Botanical Garden," created by the youth IT lab VibeLab.

The app developer will deliver a master class on the principles of smart quest app development and operation. Participants will be able to download the application and test it in navigation and quest modes in the Botanical Garden.

"Digital Botanical Garden is one of the most promising projects of the VibeLab. It is developed by our youth team in collaboration with the scientists of the Botanical Garden. This digital intellectual pastime product has functions, which are also applicable for interesting and active leisure in the park, forest, or city garden, and with the addition of options it can be used for educational projects in the field of biology, plant breeding, landscape design and any other related to wildlife in the city". 

Georgy Yefimenko, Head of the VibeLab at LETI

The app includes navigation for visitors to the Botanical Garden with information on plants and botanical landmarks. It has several excursion routes for different seasons, and by applying the "quest" option, users will make their stay in the garden even more active and informative.

Research team of the Department of Information and Measuring Systems and Technologies of LETI carried out the analysis of spatial information on natural territories. LETI researchers developed the geographic information base for the "digital" Botanical garden, and this work has attracted great interest from international partners.

"The Botanical Garden is actively engaged in popularizing botanical science. Annual exhibitions and events are accompanied by botanical quests, which currently are hand-checked. The Digital Botanical Garden mobile application will both digitalize the information processing and make the learning process itself more attractive to young people", says Alexandra Medvedeva, Press Manager at the Cultural and Educational Center of the BIN RAS.

The joint plans include the introduction of interactive routes and quests on different collection sites and for different age groups. Also, according to Alexandra Medvedeva, the application platform may interest other departments in the Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, such as the Botanical Museum, geobotany and mycology laboratories, etc. 

LETI's VibeLab is a structure open for different professionals ready to work on experimental projects in an interdisciplinary team. It also conducts IT courses both for training from scratch and for advanced learners. Classes in the lab help integrate into the IT environment in a short time, and the best students are invited to project teams.

Inter Week opens the Program: LETI - Science - Creativity for meta-engineers.

October 24 - 26 LETI - Science - Creativity program tests alternative tools for scientific research and innovations. The program includes a panel discussion on 24 October and a three-day Nautilus 4.0 school session.

St. Petersburg State Electrotechnical University "LETI" actively develops the science-art community. Last summer, the Chair of PR studies in partnership with the Botanical Garden held a three-day school "Nautilus. Immersion". Four inter-university groups developed project concepts at the intersection of science and creativity. What's next?

"My colleagues and I hope that the invited experts from the autumn school will have an impact on the establishment of meta-engineering at LETI"

Larisa Sharakhina, Head of the PR Studies Chair

Key experts share their views on the engineer’s mission in art and the creative input into the LETI's unique potential realization.

Lisa Savina, producer, lecturer at the School of Design of the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, curator of the Great Embassy program as part of the large-scale Friends of St. Petersburg project, shares her views on the mission of the engineer.

"For me, any engineer is a source of creative thinking. The function of creative engineering cannot be overestimated, because practically any contemporary artistic project requires not only an understanding and knowledge of technology but also the ability to adapt it to the creative task, and this is an almost exclusive ability to turn a text into the object".

The project experience makes Lisa assert that due to the core engineering competencies, his role in art is not that of an assistant or a second fiddle - without him, the project cannot come into life.

"When we put together an interdisciplinary project, the group can include people from different professions - designers, artists, historians and the engineers - it's a team that acts as a single organism."

Lisa Savina, program expert

Among the projects produced by Lisa is "A Measure of Chaos. Science as a mode of communication", an Art&Science exhibition and educational project. It was created within the 15/24 project Museum of the Hermitage XXI Century Foundation and was located in two cities - St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk. Novosibirsk did not appear by chance - at some point it became clear that art&science could be a cultural driver for the development of the city of which Akademgorodok is a part. In St Petersburg, the site for the project was the Popov Central Museum of Communications. The aim was to explore and actualize a productive dialogue between scientific disciplines, contemporary art and humanitarian knowledge in order to find new solutions in each of these spheres. The project included a small exhibition and a large educational program, where contemporary practices were divided into the four dominant tracks: quantum technologies, biology, deep media and artificial intelligence.

Today, under the auspices of PJSC Gazprom, St. Petersburg hosts a large festival of creative and educational projects called "Friends of St. Petersburg". Where Liza is the curator of the Great Embassy program. The name refers to the "engineering internship" of the young Peter in Europe, after which he became, according to Liza, "Russia's first innovator". The importance of hands-on project work for students and young scientists cannot be overestimated.

"It is very important for young professionals, because when they graduate from their university, they go out to implement their projects, and they already know how it works. If we have more people knowing how it works, the overall quality of cultural processes will be better."

Lisa Savina, program expert

Lisa Savina opens the panel discussion of Inter Week on 24 October at 14:00

Ilya Shalashov is an invited expert in the three-day school as part of the LETI - Science - Creativity program, and a metal artist. He is known at LETI as the author of the "AI Monument", which has a more catching name LETIBIT. The story of LETIBIT itself is the materialization of an idea that can be equally treated an art object and a scientific tool.

In the midst of covid isolation, Ilya was asked to make an art object, which was to be a hallmark of LETI. Accordingly, to be located not on campus, but to broadcast the university's innovativeness in one of the city's public spaces. The order was urgent, its deadline was the start of university’s admission campaign. As a result of a creative and technological brainstorming, Ilya and a team of co-thinkers with different professional competencies created LETIBIT in a month. Installed in the Sevkabel Port public space in the summer of 2021, it became an outpost of LETI in St. Petersburg.

The scientific and historical source for LETIBIT's creative process was the available information on Popov's inventions, the acoustic research of the American designer and experimentalist Harry Bertoia, and LETIBIT team own knowledge of acoustics and metal science. LETIBIT is an "aeolian harp" art object, i.e. it is visible, tangible and audible.

"I am interested in outdoor art objects because they contribute into urban environment. We plunge into it every day. Each of our daily routes belongs to it. We assimilate with the space around us, and over time what we see and perceive becomes a part of us."

Ilya Shalashov, program expert

LETIBIT is now located in the Lenpoligrafmash space. You can learn more about Ilya's creative and materialistic approaches by meeting him at a Nautilus School workshop on October 24-26.

Unity of Art and Knowledge: LETI Holds Interdisciplinary Week

LETI's Inter Week will give university students and young researchers the opportunity to develop soft skills and get tools for creativity in innovative areas.

October 24 - November 3, LETI will hold its first Inter Week - International Interdisciplinary Week. The program offers opportunities for those who want to build a successful career in research and advanced engineering. The Week includes projects, schools, and workshops organized within three tracks.

The Hard & Soft Skills track provides students with the skills necessary for a successful career in any professional activity. The track is supervised by LETI's INPROTECH. Its departments have taken an initiative in organizing the International Startupper School. It is designed to provide researchers and engineers with such competencies as innovation management, leadership, and creative team building. The target audience is Russian and international masters who got an engineering education and aspire for future productive development in innovative business. The three-day course includes interactive lectures, workshops, and study visits to the advanced R&D laboratories of LETI.

The Science Art track continues the university's initiative to create an educational program in Science Art, which integrates LETI identity and can be scaled in other technical universities. The consecutive proponent of this track is the Department of Public Relations.

On October 24, the Science Art plenary discussion will open the LETI Inter Week and the three-day Science Art intensive course. The new educational format will bring together scientists and artists. They will make interdisciplinary project teams to develop innovative projects. Working together with LETI lecturers, the groups will be curated and coached by famous artists, art managers, and innovators. Participants will develop their creative and critical thinking to innovate and create science-based artworks.

Academic Environment track. Its main component is the Palette of Languages and Cultures Forum organized by the Department of Foreign Languages together with the International Students Office. The Forum has not been held offline since 2019 because of the pandemic. Its two-day program includes the inter-university conference "Folk Art and Cultural Heritage," an exhibition of national costumes, the sample tasting of dishes of different national dishes, and a concert where performers are international students and linguistics majors.

Another new format of the Week will be the "student-translator" practice. Students of the Faculty of Humanities will help international students not only comprehend the information explained in Russian but also submerge into the scientific and historical environment of LETI.

"Today, our university has almost 1,800 international learners. More than 600 of them came to LETI this year. Most of them have studied sciences, also within the LETI's summer schools of the Russian-African University. "It is very important for us to provide international students not only with a high-quality education in the main LETI specializations, but also to get them acquainted with the history and traditions of the university and the key laboratories and departments, where research teams continue these traditions and create a new history of the university by developing future technologies".

Anastasia Minina, Vice-Rector for International Affairs at LETI

The Academic Environment track is organized by the International Students Office and the International Projects Office of LETI. The program will offer international students various study visits and workshops.

All active participants in LETI Inter Week training programs will receive certificates.