University students representing eight nationalities participate in the 7th CBIR Autumn School in Tampere

The Faculty of Management in the University of Tampere is hosting the Cross-Border International Relations (CBIR) autumn school for the seventh time. Twenty students from Saint-Petersburg State University, Petrozavodsk State University and University of Tampere participate at the school. The students represent eight different nationalities.

Cross-border networks in the making

A chance to gain new perspectives, make new friends, develop one’s knowledge of international relations, build networks… These are some of the reasons that the students listed as their motivations for enrolling in the CBIR programme.

According to Dmitri Lanko from the Saint Petersburg State University, cross-border cooperation of academic institutions is more important now than ever before.

Dmitri Lanko explains the history CBIR to students. Gleb Yarovoy and Yulia Petrovskaya from Petrozavodsk State University in the first row.

“Through these kinds of activities were are able to educate and bring together young people who will be working in important positions in the future. This is crucial for the development of EU-Russian relations ”, Lanko explains. “Students are gaining important academic and intellectual skills here at the Tampere Autumn School, but they will also be getting to know each other and forming networks. This is just as important.”

Studying toward a double degree

During the autumn school, the students take courses and gain credits required for the completion of the CBIR double degree. A double degree means that a student receives a degree from two universities, one from the University of Tampere and another one from either the Saint Petersburg State University or the Petrozavodsk State University.

During the Autumn School week, Jean Monnet Professor Hanna Ojanen teaches a problem-based learning course about the dynamics of (dis)integration in Europe. With Associate Professor Lanko, the students have begun preparations for a foreign policy analysis colloquium, which will have its closing session at the next CBIR seasonal school to be held in Petrozavosk in May 2018.

A thesis seminar session at the Autumn School. Some of the students are wearing Bono’s hats to find new aspects to each others’ papers.

In Tampere, the students also receive guidance in academic writing and hear comments on their master’s thesis plans from student colleagues and academic staff. After the Tampere autumn school, the students will write academic essays and take part in distance learning to collect the required amount of ECTS credits.

The CBIR students are planning to write their Master’s Theses on a broad spectrum of topics. Among the topics are, for example, sports diplomacy, Swedish-Latvian relations, US economic sanctions, international cultural projects in the Nordic region and lobbying of the NordStream2 project.

Going strong after fourteen years of cooperation

The autumn school is part of the activities of the Cross-Border International Relations double degree programme. The CBIR double degree programme has a jointly designed curriculum and three joint seasonal schools are organized during each programme cycle – one at each participating university. Students also get supervision for their theses from lecturers and professors from all participating universities.

The CBIR programme has been operating for 14 years. It begun as a part of the Finnish-Russian Cross-Border University (CBU). In the CBU project, nine universities were given the task to develop joint or double degrees within six study fields.

Since 2015, the operations of the CBIR double degree programme have been based on a trilateral agreement between the University of Tampere, Saint Petersburg State University and Petrozavodsk State University. The three participating universities are responsible for the funding of the project, which is also receiving mobility funding from the Finnish-Russian Student and Teacher Exchange Programme (FIRST+).

Research and development of double degrees included

In Tampere, the CBIR programme is offered as an optional part of the Master’s Programme in Leadership for Change. The activities of the double degree programme are also being researched and developed through the EduNeigbours research project, headed by Dr Sirke Mäkinen and funded by the Kone Foundation.

Sirke Mäkinen pictured here with the students’ motivations for enrolling into the CBIR double degree programme.

“The research project helps us to further develop our activities, including the seasonal schools”, Sirke Mäkinen explains. “As we are also doing research on other Finnish-Russian double degree programmes, the research project offers a chance to learn from the experiences of other programmes doing similar things.”

Mäkinen emphasises the importance of education cooperation in international relations: “A goal of the EduNeighbours project is to develop mechanisms for dealing with sensitive or even explosive issues. We need to cultivate skills to discuss issues we disagree about.”

For further information about the autumn school, please, contact University lecturer Anni Kangas,, tel. +358 50 318 60 32.

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