The delegation of the HSE Graduate School of Business took part in the Caucasus Mountain Forum on Sustainable Tourism
The Caucasus Mountain Forum brings together scientists and young researchers, representatives of local communities, international organisations of the UN system and other stakeholders with an interest in disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research in the Caucasus region. The Forum community aims to enhance the research potential of the region by bringing together researchers from different countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russian Federation, Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkey, and to link researches to the challenges of sustainable development, based on the UN 2030 Global Agenda.
Ekaterina Ivanova, Associate Professor at the Department of Strategic and International Business at GSB: "When we just thought about a new Master's programme in Sustainable Business Management two years ago with a team of colleagues at the GSB, we were aware of the necessity to include future students in international professional communities. I am very happy that more than a dozen of HSE students responded to my call to participate in the international scientific conference in Georgia, and five of them were able to deliver scientific papers, representing the Russian delegation at the Caucasus Mountain Forum on a par with graduate students of the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The opportunity to immerse themselves in the interdisciplinary agenda of sustainable development research, as well as an intensive two-week programme of communication with scientists, entrepreneurs and international consultants developing sustainable business, was a transformative experience that the students will remember for a long time. It will help them to define their professional path".
This year, for the first time, the GSB delegation took part in this forum and presented the results of their scientific research. One of the first to present her work was GSB Master's student Daryana Tereshchenko in co-authorship with Daria Yurchenko on the topic: "Socio-economic dimension of sustainable tourism in Caucasus region and its impact on human rights in local communities".
Daryana Tereshchenko, first-year student of the Master's programme "Management of sustainable development of the company: "I like to be among the first to speak, so it was not a problem. Moreover, I haven't participated in such forums for a long time, and I missed the opportunity to share my research with interested people. At the forum it was possible both to tell about my results, and also to hear other views and ideas, which were very interesting. The variety of topics and approaches made me very happy because I’ve learnt a lot of new and interesting things that would have been difficult to find on my own. I haven't participated in events like this before and I would love to repeat such an experience. Not only were we able to immerse ourselves in the topic of tourism sustainability, but we were also able to see the country from different angles. This is an experience I have not had before and would like to repeat in further events".
At the request of the forum organisers, Ekaterina Ivanova, the inspirer of the trip to Georgia, Associate Professor of the Department of Strategic and International Business of the HSE Graduate School of Business, held a workshop on "Education for Sustainable Development: Tools and Stories of Mindset Transformation". She and other speakers performed at the event: Professor Medi Majidi, PhD, international consultant on sustainable socio-economic development, founder of Libra Alliance, founding member of the UN Global Compact PRME Working Group on Mindset for Sustainable Development; Dr. Tamara Mitrofanenko, Senior Expert of the UN Global Compact PRME Working Group on Mindset Transformation. One of the workshop speakers was GSB Master's student Daria Andreeva. She shared her experience of Master's studies and one of the tools used to develop sustainable leaders — "E-portfolio".
Darya Andreeva, first-year student of the Master's programme "Management of Sustainable Development of the Company: "Each of the participants shared their practices within the framework of education for sustainable development. After that there was a discussion with the workshop guests, where everyone could talk about their experiences and ask questions. The atmosphere was friendly and open, I met all the speakers beforehand, and Ekaterina Ivanova taught several courses in the first semester. One of the assignments I spoke about was E-portfolio. At the beginning of my presentation I felt a bit tense as I realised the importance of the event and the people sitting next to me, but then I relaxed and everything went as it should. Being a speaker at a workshop is a great experience, you look at people from different countries around you and realise how great it is to have something to share."
On the second day of the forum, Anastasia Goltsman made her presentations on "Corporate volunteering as a factor of tourism development within the context of Russian companies" and Ksenia Kalashnik spoke on "Opportunities for sustainable development of small industrial towns". For many speakers, it was their first experience of participating in the conference and it was very exciting.
In addition, two GSB students were awarded scholarships that covered all expenses related to their participation in the conference.
In addition to the main three-day forum programme, a two-day retreat session was organised for participants in the highlands of the Svaneti region. This session highlighted the main problems faced by the residents of Svaneti and discussed possible solutions. The participants had a unique opportunity not only to enjoy the incredible beauty of the local nature, cultural and historical heritage of this region of Georgia, which is visited by only about 30,000 people a year, but also to communicate with local residents, to hear their problems and requests. The journey to the mountains left no one untouched, in an informal atmosphere the participants were able to get better acquainted with each other, share their life and scientific experience.
The next event is the fourth Caucasus Mountain Forum, it will be held in 2024. If you too are passionate about mountains and sustainable tourism — then we wholeheartedly recommend you attend this exciting event.