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WEDNESDAY 21/09/05


May I introduce The St Petersburg Forum?

The Forum has been in existence for ten years. The main purpose of The Forum is to establish educational, social and cultural links with the people of St Petersburg, Russia and Scotland. Among it’s many activities it provides funds for a Scottish Library in the City and supports an orphanage and Cancer Day Centre Unit. Our work is coordinated by the Association for International Cooperation in St Petersburg.

Two of our most successful projects throughout the years has been organising ‘The Burns Essay Competition’ in co-operation with The Robert Burns World Federation and ‘The Knowledge of Scotland Competition’ in St Petersburg. Members of The Forum, at their own expense, visit and judge presentations by the young people during ‘Scottish Week’ in St Petersburg.

The Winners of The Knowledge Of Scotland Competition receive a 2 week visit to Scotland staying with local families and spending some time at a Scottish School. The visit for 2005 will be 20 th September-3 rd October.


During Scottish Week 2005 in St Petersburg the City was presented with a copy of The Leningrad Album, the original is held in The Mitchell Library, Glasgow. The Scottish Album was presented to the people of Leningrad from the women of Airdrie & Coatbridge and contains letters of support during the horrific wartime Siege of Leningrad. The young Russian Student who came first in the Competition did so with a presentation about The Scottish and Leningrad Album while the second and third made excellent presentations on Edinburgh’s Greyfriar’s Bobby.

As a direct outcome of my visit, with The Forum, to St Peterburg 2005 the Provost of North Lanarkshire, Patrick Connelly, has agreed to give the young Russian Students a Civic Reception at Summerlee Heritage Park where The Leningrad Exhibition done by local women to commemorate the 60 th Anniversary of the Siege will be on display for them to see.

On the evening of the 21 st September there will be a Concert in the Motherwell Concert Hall where the Russian Students will perform their winning pieces along with Herman Urikh, a, 13 year old, pianist from St Petersburg. The Lanarkshire Association of Burns Clubs will provide entertainment from children of Lanarkshire who will sing, recite and play musical instruments. Students from Reid Kerr College will give a Scottish Dancing display.

The photograph shows the four young performers,from Russia, with Concert organisers and members of the Burns Federation.

‘That man to man, the world, o’re,

Shall brithers be for a’ that’.