Founded in 1724, St. Petersburg State University is the oldest institution of higher education in Russia. During the 285 years of its existence, the University secured the right to be acknowledged as one of the best institutions of higher education in Russia: its rich history, modern large-scale research activities, development and innovations make the University ahead of the curve in the field of Russian science.
At present, there are more than 32,000 students in University, receiving education in more than 323 specializations in 24 faculties. University’s staff comprises almost 14,000 people, including nearly 6,000 teachers (1000 Doctors of Science, over 2000 Candidates of Science, 42 Academicians of state academies) who represent 289 academic departments. The University has everything to enjoy studies, hobbies and research: the richest Research Library, research institutes, museums, the publishing house, the choir of students, graduates and teachers, clubs, etc.
The scientific discoveries and achievements of the University professors and alumni, seven of which are Nobel Prize winners (I. P. Pavlov, 1904, and I. I. Mechnikov, 1908, in Physiology and Medicine; N. N. Semenov, 1956, in Chemistry; L. D. Landau, 1962, and A. M. Prokhorov, 1964, in Physics; V. V. Leontyev, 1973, and L. V. Kantorovich, 1975, in Economics), contributed to the global and Russian science and technology. Many people who became famous all over the globe in various fields were the University alumni. These are world-known scientists, teachers, statesmen and public figures such as K. N. Bestuzhev-Ryumin, A. F. Koni, P. A. Stolypin, D. I. Mendeleev, V. I. Vernadsky, D. S. Likhachev and dozens of others. The University has also given to the world most renowned people of art such as I. S. Turgenev, P. A. Bryullov, A. A. Blok, A. N. Benois, V. D. Polenov, S. P. Diaghilev, M. A. Vrubel, L. N. Andreev, I. Ya. Bilibin, N. K. Roerich, I.F. Stravinsky and many others. Four heads of the Russian government were graduates of St. Petersburg University: B. V. Stürmer, A. F. Kerensky, V. I. Lenin, and V. V. Putin, as well as two Russian Presidents: V. V. Putin and D. A. Medvedev.
In November 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a law granting St. Petersburg State University the special status of “a unique scientific and education complex, an oldest institution of higher education in Russia being of a great importance to the development of the Russian society”. The right of giving its own diplomas with the official symbols of the Russian Federation has also been granted to University.
The Rector of St. Petersburg University is Prof. Nikolay M. Kropachev.
Find more about the University at http://www.spbu.ru.
Faculty of Asian and African Studies, St. Petersburg State University
The Imperial edict to establish the Faculty of Oriental Languages was issued by Nicholas I on October 22, 1854. Among the first professors of the Faculty were many outstanding scholars who laid the foundations of Oriental Studies in Russia — O. Senkovsky, A. Kazem-Bek, K. Patkanov, V. Zhukovsky, V. Rosen to name a few.
At present, the FAAS is one of the world’s major centres for the study and teaching of languages, cultures, international relations, economics, religions and history of the Asian and African Countries. 170 highly qualified specialists including 2 academicians, 33 professors and 56 associate professors are on the teaching staff of the Faculty. Among them many are the leading experts from the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, State Hermitage Museum, Kunstkamera Museum, etc.
The vast regions of the Middle and the Far East, Central Asia and the Caucasus, Southeast Asia and Africa are subject matters studied at the Faculty. The number of Asian and African languages taught here is unparalleled at universities elsewhere in the world. Within such programmes as “Asian and African Studies” and “Tourism” students have ample opportunities to choose from over 100 Asian and African languages and dialects to study. 16 departments making up the FAAS provide training in а wide range of academic disciplines related to history, literature, linguistics, ethnography, and area studies, thus covering 40 degree specialisations.
The FAAS Library is оnе of the oldest of its kind in Russia. It was established in 1819, when several manuscripts in Persian, Turkish and Tartar as well as а number of books оn Oriental Studies were donated by the Chamber of Curiosities (Kunstkamera) and by the Asian Museum to the Imperial University of St. Petersburg оn the occasion of its inauguration. The library is well-stocked with books and materials totaling 285,000 items, of which 50,000 are manuscripts and xylographs.
The Faculty is a platform for operation of Confucius Institute, Ho Chi Min Institute, Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Korea, African Studies Centre, Thai Cabinet and Nusantara Centre.
The Dean of the FAAS is the Director of State Hermitage Museum Prof. Mikhail B. Piotrovsky.