On November 18, Festival of Russian Culture “Bazar Ruso” will be held in Panama with support of Russkiy Mir Foundation. Its participants will be able to visit exhibitions, shows, concerts and receive required information about higher education in Russia and business cooperation with our country. President of the Organising Committee Olga Gutierres told the Russkiy Mir Foundation about all the novelties of the Festival.
– How did the idea of such a festival emerge? Who takes part in it this year?
– The idea of the festival emerged 2 years ago, when the Association of Russian Culture in Panama decided to hold a series of events with participation of artists – our compatriots. The festival was a success – nearly 800 people took part in it – artists, photographers, singers and designers from the Russian-speaking diaspora. It turned out to be that there are plenty talented and artistic people among our compatriots – artistic collectives in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, USA and Canada that have been working for many years. So, we decided to use a more ambitious approach this year and to raise the Festival to an international level in order to attracts organisations and participants from other countries.
This year, the Festival will last for two days. Expected number of participants is going to double, as compared to the last year’s festival – to two thousand people.
In this year’s program, the visitors will see a performance by “Russian Style” ensemble from Canada, puppet performance by “Balagan Art” theatre from Costa Rica and “Three Pigs” by “Arcoiris” theatre from Panama, performance of a dance collective from Panama, fashion shows of designers from Panama, Chile, Columbia, exhibitions of artists Olga Lebedeva from Columbia and Svetlana Strakhova from Bolivia. Opera soloists from Panama Evgenia Pirshina, Anzhela Andzheli, Julianna Lobach and national ballet from Panama, which will perform extracts from “The Nutcracker” ballet.
Apart from cultural program, participants of a fair of Russian food, souvenirs and crafts will present their products in 50 exhibition booths.
Also a teleconference with Panamanian students of the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia and a workshop on Stanislavskiy’s theatre system from “Balagan Art” theatre from Costa Rica, sections on science and education, cooking, beauty and health, goods and services will be held; a children’s area with games and toys will be opened for children.
– Apart from an entertaining part, there also will be an educational part, dedicated to attractiveness of Russian higher education for foreign students. How strong is the interest to studying in Russia is in Latin America?
– The interest is quite big. Last year, one Panamanian organization, which coordinates granting, invited the Russian Embassy to take part in an educational exhibition and to present Russian educational opportunities for Panamanian audience. The exhibition booth was very popular, over 500 people asked for information, but unfortunately, the Embassy had almost no materials. Therefore, we decided to tell more about it this time and to present materials on the opportunities of Russian higher education to Panamanian applicants.
This year, our offer to take part in the Festival was accepted by Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, Saint Petersburg Institute of International Education Programs and South-West State University from Kursk.
– One more topic is tourism in Russia. How interested are local residents in this topic? How do Panamanians like Russians in general, what do they know about our country?
– They do like Russia and Russians, too. Panama is a multinational land and Panamanians are not only tolerant to other cultures, but they treat them with interest. It is routine to visit a Korean film festival, a classic music concert by French Alliance and to taste Mongolian food, all of these within a week. Panamanians speak about their country very humbly – “center of the world”, “heart of the Universe”. So Panama, which is believed to be a bridge between two Americas, suits wonderfully as the Festival venue, which unites Russian American diasporas.
What comes to tourism to Russia, Panamanians are interested in FIFA World Cup in 2018. Panamanians regularly go on cruises and “Baltic Pearl” cruise is much sought after. Group tours to Moscow, Saint Petersburg and the Golden Ring are also popular. They try going on such cruises in summer, as they are a bit afraid of Russian winter.
– Business is also going to take part in the Festival – “Window to Latin America” Business Forum is going to be held there. Why have you decided to unite culture and business?
– There are going to be many entrepreneurs from the Russian diaspora in Panama and Columbia, SMEs. Among our sponsors there are a few Russian companies (or established by Russians), for example Energolatina S. A. – a Russian company, which is building a hydroelectric plant, PuntoPago (Russian company, working with payment terminals), Ads & PR, Ocean 2 Ocean Panama (travel agency).
The participants are also companies, producing solar panels, water and air filters, food technologies, caterers. Our purpose is to create a multi-day event for Russians in America, which would bring culture and be useful for companies and will allow Russian companies come to the Latin American markets easier, Russian goods – to be more demanded, Russian business – to improve its image, and our compatriots – to feel more comfortable and confident in foreign environment, not to mention our children, who, thanks to events like these, feel involved in their historical homeland, are proud of their roots and communicate with each other.