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Seychelles-Russia Friendship Association relaunches at exhibition by Russian alumni

Seychelles’ Russian alumni celebrated a significant milestone through an exhibition showcasing photos of former students during their studies through which the Seychelles-Russia Friendship Association was also relaunched.

The over 70 photos, contributed from the personal archives of the former students, relayed and showcased memorable moments and experiences, friendships established, and their lives in a foreign country.

The exhibition was organised to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the sending of the first cohort of Seychellois to the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in pursuit of further studies.

It was on September 5, 1978, that two Seychellois, Jemmy Solin and Priscilla Julie, left Seychelles to study in Moscow. Since then, around 300 other candidates have undertaken long-term and short-term courses in the USSR, which is now the Russian Federation after its dissolution.

Speaking on behalf of the alumni and in her capacity as one of the first Seychellois students to study in the former USSR, Priscilla Julie, provided an account of her experience in Moscow.

“We all had to immediately start learning the language in order to go about getting our food and other essentials because nobody understood English or French. Our studies were conducted in the Russian language throughout and this was a big challenge for most of us,” shared Julie.

The chairperson of the association, former Seychelles’ Vice President Vincent Meriton, outlined that the decision to send students to the USSR was made possible “after the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and Seychelles in 1976 and the drive to build the capacity of our human resources at the dawn of our nationhood.”

He said that “the experience has been transformative, as we have gained not only proficiency in a new language but also a deep appreciation for the world’s history and geopolitics from a unique perspective.”

“As we celebrate this milestone, we pledge to give back to our community. We recognise the debt of gratitude we owe to our country and our people. It is our duty to contribute to our homeland’s well-being. This is why we have gathered here today. There is no better day to renew this pledge,” added Meriton.

Following their studies, members of the Russian alumni have contributed and are contributing to different sectors of the socio-economic development of Seychelles. These include education, sports, health, politics, aviation, media, and military services.

During the ceremony, the chairperson presented a certificate of appreciation to the Russian ambassador to Seychelles, Artyom Kozhin, for the embassy’s valuable contribution towards the capacity building of the country.

“Our country is ready to offer more scholarships to the local students. The cooperation in the education sphere is not purely about academic studies, but also in fields like tourism, sports, and culture. Learning the Russian language is an opportunity not only to explore great Russian literature but to also earn more money in the tourism and IT industry,” Kozhin shared.

Another certificate will be forwarded to the Ministry of Education, in appreciation for enabling the pursuit of further studies of Seychellois in Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States educational institutions.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

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