The 50th 2018 UNIV Congress will take place in Rome in April, 11. On Friday, November, 24, our School organizes the public meeting with the Volga officials – this fund organizes the first, nationwide, competition tour. Live presentation, FAQ and how-to format are included. 
To help you get what the UNIV spirit is, SPP Online asked our SPP 3rd year bachelor studying ‘International Politics and Cultural Context’ Maria Ustinova to tell about her personal UNIV experience. 
So, here they are — 590 words on the 2017 Congress in Rome.

Ph: Roman Louckshin

It was the first time in my student experience that I participated in an international conference. During my university studies I came across a great deal of  invitations for various conferences and study tours, but I felt like I was not ready for abroad activity. I think I just was not self-confident enough. And I suppose I dared to leave my comfort non-risk zone and tried to qualify for this congress because the UNIV’s policy, its values seemed quite close to my world outlook. The UNIV’s ethics are humanism, non-indifference, progress and development within ethical frameworks, freedom of will, cultural and educational growth of the youth, pro-life attitude and tolerance toward all nations.

So, if you’re young and aware of global issues, if you share the same views and feel ready to stand for them, if you don’t want to put up with the mainstream materialistic and egocentric tendencies, participating in the UNIV Congress is a must for you as you can derive the priceless experience and knowledge for being a better version of yourself, for feeling yourself a responsible human being who faces the global challenges courageously and always ready to take a wise action.

The 2017 Congress theme was ‘A World in Movement’. I felt like I had to state my position on the multiple political, social economical and security issues in many countries, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. My paper had the title ‘Thoughts of the Western countries on the causes of political instability and political imbalance in many countries’. It took me about 2-3 months to prepare for the the nationwide competition tour. The Volga Fund happily provided us with supervisors and editors, so I felt quite confident about the quality of my written paper. Although it was highly evaluated by the Committee in Rome and I qualified for the second and last stage — the international tour in Rome, — there were some weaknesses in my work, namely, founding effective solutions. So I got substantial food for thought and even more strive for keeping on with my research.

If you’d ask me to name top 5 brightest UNIV insights,  I would say that they were.
People. Participants were highly educated and very-very creative. Some of them made social projects, videos or took thought-provoking photos instead of writing a paper. I still keep in touch with the majority of my group and with some people from other countries
Ideas. The most important one is that we shouldn’t go with the flow if we want to make the world a better place.
Lectures. Especially I liked the one about the “Post-Truth”.
Listening to other participants and discussing issues with them. I discovered and understood plenty of new things thank to intercultural dialogue.
Discovering my possibilities and capacities. It really raised my self-confidence in terms of being able to make history.
One more advantage of taking part in the UNIV Congress is the whole week for investigating the Eternal City — Rome. We had an undoubtedly rich cultural programme. We visited museums, churches, galleries and squares.

Perhaps, the UNIV impression feels like I’ve become a part of non-indifferent, earnest and live community. That wasn’t just a “smart traveling” or networking. That was a thought-provoking adventure which made me think truly global. And I say: you should try it yourself!

The public meeting with the Volga Fund will be held on November, 24 in building 2, room 221. We'll start at 5.30. 

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