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3 Jun 2009

Toward a formal Québec–Moscow cooperative agreement

Minister Arcand (left) with the Russian Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Maksim Travnikov.

At the end of the first part of its mission in Russia, the Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, Pierre Arcand, was very enthusiastic about his reception by the Russian representatives he met and the possibilities for cooperation that were proposed.

In fact, Minister Arcand proposed that the region of Moscow, which has the status of a province in the Russian Federation, implement a formal and permanent cooperation mechanism, particularly in the areas of the economy, culture, education and the environment. This agreement should be signed by the end of the year.

Minister Arcand met the Russian Federation’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Serguey Ryabkov, who unhesitatingly supported the Minister’s proposal to make this relationship official. According to the Deputy Minister, “the points in common between our two societies are underestimated and the opportunities for business and other relations have yet to reach their full potential.”

For that matter, green technologies, a sector where Québec excels, are also in high demand in Russia. As the Russian Federation’s Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Maksim Travnikov, emphasized during his discussion with Minister Arcand, the Russian government is indeed sensitive to the environmental aspects of development and will have to make more efforts to meet the Kyoto objectives, as agreed. Hydroelectricity, micro-power plants and alternative energies are of great interest to Russia. Incidentally, the Russian leaders were very interested in the expertise of Québec firms and research centres, especially as concerns the development of the northern part of the country.

Furthermore, Minister Arcand suggested that a contingent of young Québec translators could come to collaborate in the translation duties of the Olympic Games Organization at the next Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, as was the case for the Olympic Games in Beijing, in order to ensure the quality of the French, one of the official languages of the event. This project would be carried out in partnership with the Office Québec-Monde pour la jeunesse.

Québec educational and cultural representatives accompanying the Minister were not to be outdone. The Société des musées québécois developed excellent relations with the representatives of ICOM Russia (International Council of Museums) for potential collaboration in the area of new technologies for museology, a sector where Québec is known around the world for its expertise. Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec also built very useful relationships with the Moscow Conservatory of Music and the prestigious Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. In education, Russian authorities showed interest in working with other universities to develop co-degree programs.

The news in images: Minister Arcand in Russia
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