On October 3the Grand Opening of the Conference “200 years of diplomatic support of the Russian presence in the Middle East: the history of the creation and activities of the Asian Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire” was held at the Hermitage Theater. The opening ceremony of the conference was attended by: Chairman of Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society Sergey Stepashin, Director of the State Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky, and other officials, diplomats and specialists, as well as foreign diplomats from the Middle East. Members of the Laboratory Oleg Redkin and Olga Bernikova participated in the meeting, as well as students of the Faculty of Asian and African Studies of St. Petersburg State University, studying at the bachelor’s program “Islamic Studies” and “Arabic Philology”.
On October 4, the scientific meeting of the conference will continue in the East wing of the General Headquarters, where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire was originally located. For two days, conference participants will discuss landmark issues of the history and contemporary activities of Russian state and public organizations in the Middle East, the creation of scientific and educational programs and projects, and the development of public diplomacy and inter-religious dialogue practices