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‘Since I was involved in foresight at World Festival of Youth and Students, it appeared that I was going to meet with President Putin!’

This October World Festival of Youth and Students took place in Sochi bringing together over 20 000 young people from 150 countries. Several HSE international students participated in the event, among them — Nawaid Alam, graduate of Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation programme and HSE doctoral student. He shared his impressions with HSE News Service.

Nawaid Alam, Pakistan (graduate of Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation programme and HSE doctoral student)

I’ve been in Russia for the last three years — first doing my Master’s at HSE and then becoming a PhD student here. I received an email from the International Support Unit that they are looking for participants from HSE. I applied, wrote a motivation letter where I described how I can represent HSE, which I believe is one of the best universities in Russia. I was one of the luckiest guys to become an HSE student.

I participated in programmes related to foresight. They were about the future of education, and economics of the future development. I tried to attend all of the lectures on this topic. I also participated in several other events, and the best of them was the motivation conference with Nick Vujicic. He is a big inspiration for me, and I think not only for me, but for the whole world. Also, at the opening ceremony, there was a person from Indonesia who presented his garbage collection project, where if you collect some garbage, they give you a free medical check-up pass, a visit to a doctor. I think if I go back to Pakistan after completing my PhD, I might run a similar project at my university.

Another great experience at the festival was when someone told me that since I was involved in foresight, I was to meet with some governmental official. The next day, at the media centre, I met my colleague who told me that he didn’t pass the security check, but I did. It appeared that I was going to meet with President Putin! I was so shocked! I was in the hall and Mr. Putin came in. He sat and when he saw me looking at him he winked at me!

Speaking about the event in general, the best thing was that all the people always smiled and talked to each other, regardless of the country of origin or nationality. That was amazing! The forum was very motivating, I feel so motivated and confident now. We were all one team, whether you come from India, Pakistan, or any other country. We now see that we are not divided and if we do something together, we can achieve it. At the end of our last discussion with Mr. Putin, we decided that this is not the end, this is just the beginning. We are going to hold this kind of forum in one or two years.

Other stories about World Festival of Youth and Students at HSE web portal