France Sends Its Friendly Regards
As it turned out, Tomsk is of interest for the French. Quentin Debetz – representative of the French embassy – visited us to have a series of meetings and try to seek an understanding on scientific and academic cooperation.
As I had been told, Quentin spoke Russian to some extent, but he preferred to have important meetings in English through a professional interpreter. I was honored to be the interpreter.
Being engaged in a huge project of Sibur, I managed to become available for only one day of Quentin’s three-day program. It was well worth it!
First, when a person who speaks the language of negotiations, requests a professional native speaker interpreter nonetheless, it is a sign of high professionalism of such person. I was quite surprised to learn that Quentin also spoke excellent English. People who worked with the French will understand me. Usually it is a hurdle. In my ranking of English-speaking Frenchmen, Quentin easily takes the first place.
Second, it was nice to know that French universities are ready to cooperate with their counterparts in Tomsk to have joint research, establish international laboratories and launch joint academic programs. In doing so, they also expressed a condition that the Russian scientists, participating in such cooperation, would have to return to Russia and not to stay in France. Thus, nobody can blame the French colleagues in “brain-draining”. Such level of competence and decency was a pleasant surprise for me.
There was one meeting that stuck in my memory. Elena Korotkova from the Institute of Natural Resources of TPU stroke me as an enthusiastic professional with deep knowledge of her subject, while (as is often the case) less interested in commercialization of the scientific results and developments. This was something Quentin Debetz was happy to help with. The day ended with a visit to the Special economic zone of Tomsk.
In the conclusion, I must point out that the “outer world” still shows its interest towards Russia, and competent and adequate people seek cooperation in science, business and education. I am happy that Tomsk has a lot to offer in this regard, and that we have people who are able to attract the interest of foreigners and manage to invite them here for constructive dialogue.
My sincerest gratitude to everyone involved.