Professor Dimitri Spivak, Director of the Russian Institute for Cultural Research (St Petersburg) and UNESCO Chair in Comparative Studies of Spiritual Traditions, their Specific Cultures and Interreligious Dialogue was an invited speaker at the 4th National Congress of UNESCO Chairs – Russian Federation, which took place on March 6-7, 2019 in Kazan (Tatarstan, Russia) at Tisbi University, Kazan.
The Congress took place in the presence of UNESCO Director General, Ms. Audrey Azoulay, and under general coordination of Mr Grigory Ordzonikidze (National Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO), and Professor Vladimir Egorov (Coordination Committee of UNESCO Chairs in Russia). The Congress was an opportunity for UNESCO Chairs active in Russia to come together to discuss prospects and challenges in the field of science, education and culture.
During the Coordination meeting, the four-year report (2015-2019) was presented, and members for the next four-year period were elected. Applications of four major Russian Universities for the initiation of new UNESCO Chairs was also discussed.
Professor Spivak, an expert working in the field of culture, as well as full member of the Coordination Committee, presented his plenary report. Professor Spivak looked at the basic insights of the cultural strategy of UNESCO, including the paradigmatic shift from the concept of intercultural dialogue: the rapprochement of cultures, and challenges and opportunities of interfaith dialogue within Russia, especially between Orthodox Christians, Northern (Lamaist) Buddhists and Suni and Shi’a Muslims. Professor Spivak’s report also covered the work currently being undertaken by the UNESCO/UNITWIN Network for Inter-Religious Dialogue and Intercultural Understanding (IDIU).