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The School of International Regional Studies is a research and educational centre seeking to revive international regional studies as an academic discipline in Russia. The department’s world-class professors train the next generation of regional studies specialists while developing an increasingly prestigious research school.
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The introductory speech was held by Sergey A. Karaganov, Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs underlining the importance of covering the views of such countries like Pakistan to avoid misunderstanding of common people especially in the time of the global pandemic. Then the floor was given to the Head of the HSE School of International Regional Studies of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, Associate Professor Vera Vishnyakova. Professor Vishnyakova pointed the crucial importance of Area Studies and the expert seminars, and explained that Pakistan was not chosen accidentally – in November 2019, HSE University signed the Agreement on cooperation with the University of Lahore.Dr. Waqar Rizvi started his speech with a brief overview of the importance of Pakistan: this is a rather young developing state with 2,000 million citizens. The country is now overcoming economic and social difficulties and relies heavily on international assistance, which was cut down significantly due to the global pandemic and lockdown of the neighboring countries. Among the most important considerations for Pakistan to fight coronavirus, the expert named several social issues. As was mentioned, Pakistan is the country with a large population, though a huge number of people live under the poverty line and a certain mass of people are still illiterate. With the outbreak of the virus, this stratum of the population became the most endangered: they were the first to lose their jobs and therefore the source of income. The obvious social division led to the problems of treatment as well: economic conditions play a great role in the availability of medicine and the choice of the type of the hospitals, COVID testing kits, etc. Dr. Waqar assured the participants that the government of the country is introducing measures to support the people in the difficult economic situation, and therefore Prime Minister Imran Khan cannot lock down the country while it will cut the international aid from Pakistan.Among the main challenges the religious issue was presented: first, most of the infected returned from a religious pilgrimage in Iran that led to tense relations between the countries; second, the domestic controversies between Shia and Sunni Muslims and both with the government. The issue of closing the mosques in the country with the prevailing Muslim population should be addressed very carefully. According to the expert, to solve these issues Pakistani government, which is now divided into federal government led by the Prime Minister and regional provincial government, should unite and coordinate their actions jointly. Pakistan now understands clearly the need to be self-sufficient and the importance of the young generation, especially in the development of modern technologies. As for the future, Dr. Waqar believes that after coronavirus Pakistan will continue developing relations with their main allies: the United States, Russia and especially China in the framework of “Belt and Road Initiative”.After outlining the main and crucial trends, Dr. Waqar provided comprehensive answers during the Q&A sessionLink to the video: https://youtu.be/7YfBnSrO_Pc