Сall of pyramids: Tatarstan discoverers of 1000-year age of Kazan will be sent to excavations on the banks of the Nile

A friendship of General Sisi and Vladimir Putin has opened the door to the most prestigious Islamic University for future Tatar mullahs

Tatarstan historians and archeologists have been invited to Egypt to participate in a retraining program for specialists. An interesting part of the program can be the participation of Tatarstan scientists in excavations in Egypt in the composition of international expedition. It is not the first step towards made by Egypt. As it became known to Realnoe Vremya, Al-Azhar University, one of the most respectable universities in the world, can allow the graduates of the Russian Islamic Institute, Kazan, to enter without additional training. Besides, in Tatarstan there can be opened an Al-Azhar Arabic center. An Arabic analogue of TOEFL is being elaborated on the basis of that center. Remarkably, all these agreements have been achieved amid a political thaw between Russia and Egypt.

Excavations in the Nile Delta

There is a possibility that next year Tatarstan archeologists can be sent to Egypt as part of the international expedition. As director of the Institute of International Relations, History and Oriental Studies of the Kazan Federal University Ramil Khairutdinov told Realnoe Vremya, the scientists will go to the excavations in the framework of the retraining program of the employees in the field of historical and cultural heritage.

'We have agreed on the terms of the agreement with colleagues. It will be held in next February. They are launching the program in Egypt now, and we will go to sign the agreement to Cairo,' says Khairutdinov.

According to him, the program in the host country is considered to be a state one — it is implemented not only by the Cairo University but also by the Ministry of Education of Egypt. It is noteworthy that Tatarstan scientists were one of the first who were invited. The Republic will be represented by the Kazan Federal University and Tatarstan Academy of Sciences.

As for the financial side, the expenses can be covered by Egypt.

'At the first stage, we are talking about participation in the courses for training and retraining of specialists-historians and archaeologists. It will be completely covered by the hosting side. In this case I mean the Ministry of Education of Egypt, but it acts on behalf of the state. If we are talking about the expedition, there are grants for this, resources of the Academy of Sciences and the Federal University. Of course, as I understand it, when you invite specialists for an international expedition, a significant part of costs are borne by the inviting party. So, such crazy costs are not expected,' told the director of the Institute of International Relations.

It is assumed that Ramil Khairutdinov and the director of the Institute of Archaeology named after Khalikov of Tatarstan Academy of Sciences Airat Sitdikov will go to sign an agreement in Cairo at the beginning of next year (by the way, he's one of the experts who have substantiated the 1000-year age of Kazan). Specialists who will participate in the program will be determined depending on courses. For Tatarstan, the quota can be around three-five people.

Airat Sitdikov is one of the experts who have substantiated the 1000-year age of Kazan

'The excavations will be conducted in river valleys, the Nile Delta, in other important sites. The thing is that the international expedition work here permanently. Joining international expeditions significantly enriches knowledge, including in the archaeological field. It is new technology, methodologies, and, if not new but at least classical technology. It is very important to see how numerous international teams work in these conditions,' said Ramil Khairutdinov.

'Politics has nothing to do with it'

The invitation of the Egyptian side to take part in the international expedition was made amid a warming of relations between Russia and Egypt. As you know, the leader of the Nile country, General Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi sympathizes with Russian President, Mr Putin, and supports active contacts with our country in various fields.

General Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi sympathizes with Russian President. Photo: kremlin.ru

However, Ramil Khairutdinov says that we should not link political events and scientific ties. According to him, the scientists always have continued and do continue to share knowledge. However, as it turned out, amid political tensions between the countries they still have to use finess and to search for new forms of interaction.

'Constant communication and continuous exchange of scientific knowledge and, most importantly, of researchers have always taken place. It applies not only to Egypt but any other country, including Turkey. Despite political difficulties, a scientific exchange has been implemented. Maybe sometimes not in the forms of direct exchanges, maybe it was not always recommended to go to a particular country. But at neutral places, the communication between specialists have always taken place and continue to do. Now the forms are different — there's Internet discussion platform in Skype, there is a conference at other sites and in other countries,' noted Khairutdinov.

One way or another, the participation of Tatarstan scientists as part of the international expedition in Egypt can be considered an achievement. Of course, if to take a centuries-old history of the Kazan University, such visits have already occurred: our historians and archaeologists conducted research in Egypt and North Africa. However, in the recent history of the University such visits have not taken place.

At the same time, Ramil Khairutdinov adds that his Tatarstan colleagues and he have quite good relations with the Egyptian side. In particular, the program for training of the Arabic language teachers has been implemented not for the first year.

According to this agreement, five scientists will go to Cairo next year. From the CIS countries, including Russia, 20 professionals will take an additional training. The director of the Institute of International Relations is sure that due to many years of cooperation now Cairo is inviting Tatarstan scientists among the first ones.

Al-Azhar will enroll the graduates of Tatarstan universities without additional preparation

This is not the first step towards taken by the Egyptian side. This spring, there has been almost sensational news that one of the most authoritative religious educational institutions Al-Azhar can open in Tatarstan its branch. The need in its opening was dictated by the fact that for the religious graduates of the Russian universities it was very difficult to enter the system Al-Azhar: having completed a bachelor degree, they had to study the curriculum starting from the seventh grade, only after that they could enroll in the first year of the Al-Azhar. If the branch would be opened students could study this curriculum here.

As the rector of the Russian Islamic Institute (Kazan) and chairman of the Council on Islamic Education Rafik Mukhametshin told, today they have already reached certain agreements. First, the graduates of Russian Islamic Institute will have the opportunity to enroll in Al-Azhar without studing in Al-Azhar high school. According to Mukhametshin, the document has not been signed yet but technically the issue can be considered to be solved.

The graduates of Russian Islamic Institute will have the opportunity to enroll in Al-Azhar without studying in Al-Azhar high school. Photo: islam.ru

'However, it is not a way out because we prepare Bachelors so that they could get a Master's degree. Our graduates get Master's degree in Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Jordan. Our undergraduate level meet the requirements. From this point of view, the cooperation with Al-Azhar is quite complicated. However, we have already have a first agreement,' believes the rector of the RII.

The second agreement, which has been achieved, is connected with the opening of the Arab language centre Al-Azhar.

Rafik Mukhametshin explained that Al-Azhar is opening such centres around the world. They are created specifically in order to teach Arabic language to non-Arabs. Now Al-Azhar is trying to create an analogue of TOEFL on the base of these centres and to examine knowledge of the Arabic language.

The rector of the RII notes that studying of the Arabic language in the centre will be on a paid basis but its graduates will receive the appropriate Al-Azhar certificate.

'There are many students and other wishing to learn Arabic language, but we are also talking about the Bulgarian Islamic Academy, where we are palnning to open Master's programs, Doctoral. And one of the working languages, except Russian, of course, is Arabic. Without knowledge of teh Arabic language it is impossible to study at the Bulgarian Academy, because the teachers, who will come from Arab countries, will lecture without an interpreter. Here the necessity of this centre also becomes relevant,' said Rafik Mukhametshin.

By Gulandam Zaripova