220 Years Since the Birth of A.S. Pushkin: SUSU International Students Recite the Poet’s Verses in Various Languages

South Ural State University took part in the festivities within the Russian Language Day, celebrated on the birthday of Aleksandr Pushkin. On June 6th, SUSU international students recited works by the great poet at the #PushkinWorld festival. The celebration was held at the A.S. Pushkin Central City Library.

Aleksandr Pushkin is an iconic person in world culture. His name is associated with the formation of the modern Russian language, which is widespread in many countries. The Pushkin Institute Research, Education and Coordination Centre operates within the SUSU Institute of Linguistics and International Communications. Since 2015, the Centre has been working to popularize Russian language and culture outside Russia, including among SUSU students from other countries.

This year, the SUSU Pushkin Institute was invited to organize an event dedicated to the 220th Anniversary of the great poet’s birthday. The #PushkinWorld festival became a space which brought together those who love the writer’s creative works, and who read his works in various languages.

“The Pushkin Institute Centre and the Department of Russian as a Foreign Language regularly hold events to promote the Russian language around the world: calligraphy and essay contests, quizzes on Russian culture, and much more. This is the third year in a row that we have organized a contest for poetry readers among our international students. Our students recited poetry at the university and participated in the Zlatoust orator contest. They frequently choose the works by A.S. Pushkin. Many of the students become familiar with his works as early as in primary school. After all, the poet’s name is the first name people associate with Russian literature,” noted Pushkin Institute Director, Associate Professor of the SUSU Department of Russian as a Foreign Language Yadviga Berezovskaya.

As part of the festival, representatives of the library introduced the visitors to Pushkin locations dedicated to the celebrated writer in various cities around the world, from the statue of A.S. Pushkin located on the Kirovka pedestrian area in Chelyabinsk to statues in Ethiopia and Shanghai. Next, Chelyabinsk residents and visitors of the South Ural capital, including SUSU international students, recited the poet’s verses.

“On the 220th Anniversary of A.S. Pushkin’s birth, we decided to demonstrate the poet’s legacy and show his reach towards and importance for other countries. We all know that he knew many languages – more than 15, and his works are actively being translated. This is where the idea for the #PushkinWorld festival came from. The library visitors responded with fervour and offered to recite Pushkin’s poems in national languages, as well as in languages which we study in everyday life. The international students’ participation became the cherry on top for our event. I wish for SUSU students and our visitors, of course, to always remain interested in reading, because this is what strongly develops and supports our intellect and, of course, connects our countries together,” said festival organizer and member of the staff at the A.S. Pushkin Central City Library Irina Koroleva.

SUSU students from China, Egypt, Côte d'Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Iraq, and other countries, under the guidance of Associate Professor of the Department of Russian as a Foreign Language Roza Panova, recited A.S. Pushkin’s poems in Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and French. Their performances of the famous lines of “I loved you…”, “On Seashore Far a Green Oak Towers…”, excerpts from “The Mermaid”, the poems “Confession”, “To the Poet”, and other works impressed the audience. The students themselves admit that for them, the poet’s works symbolize the beauty of Russia and the Russian language, which they are studying at SUSU. And some of them even want to tie their lives to Pushkin’s works and pass along the knowledge that they have gained at the university to their fellow countrymen.

Master’s student of the SUSU ILIC Zhang Simeng, who recited one of the poet’s verses in Chinese, shared her thoughts: “I love Pushkin’s works, so I want to read them in my native language. I like the poem “I Loved You…” most of all, this poem sounds especially beautiful. Of course, Pushkin is a great poet, known around the world. I really like how the audience appreciated my recitation, it was really nice. I am happy that I was able to participate in the festival. I am leaving for my homeland soon; this is my last semester in SUSU, in Russia. I have already found work in China – I will be a Russian teacher at school.”

In remembrance of this creative meeting, the students were awarded certificates and prizes from the SUSU Pushkin Institute and letters of appreciation for participation from the A.S. Pushkin Central City Library.

Marina Kovyazina; photo: Oleg Igoshin
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