On June 2011 Division of Theology of PSU was transformed into the Institute of Government and Confessional Relations. It was possible due to the support of Plenipotentiary of the President in NCFD, Deputy Chairman of Russian Government Aleksandr Gennadievich Khloponin, in light of a timely need to create an effective educational structure, as well as research and academic base for cooperation between government and confessions, to train, retrain, and provide additional training for human resources in government and confessional, interconfessional relations and ethnoconfessional policy with profound knowledge of history, culture, Orthodox and Islamic confessions.
The Institute’s priority is the solution of important governmental issues, primarily focused on the opposition to extremism, and terrorism, preservation of interethnic and interreligious peace and harmony, avoidance of national and religious conflicts in any form, and strengthening of safety and international authority of the North Caucasus and Russia on the whole. So, the attention is focused not only on profound knowledge about traditional religious cultures, but also respect and education of a culture of interconfessional and governmental and confessional polylogue. The Institute of Government and Confessional Relation of PSU develops Orthodox and Islamic theologies in parallel, which is its unique feature. Students study confessional disciplines separately, but they study general humanitarian science together. Such approach helps the spiritual enrichment of students, who got to know the basics of interconfessional dialogue. Theology students of both areas communicate closely, and discuss problems at seminars. Here, the peacekeeping potential of Orthodox Christianity and traditional Islam is expressed more than anywhere. A living force is formed, which in future will play its role in social peacekeeping and strengthening of traditional Russian statesmanship.
Research activity is implemented within the frameworks of Research Institute of Global Interconfessional Relations Problems, Ethnopolitics, and Ethnoculture. The Research Institute implements research work, expert activity, scientific human resources training, research and practice conferences for the young, round tables, Olympiads on the basics of religious culture of the North Caucasus peoples’ culture, publishing of “Theodicea” scientific anthology. A new anthology became a scientific ground to search for solution of timely problems of contemporary society, interconfessional dialogue, and publication of significant results of confessional history of the North Caucasus researches.
Theology students actively participate in the university and region life. There are about dozen local, regional, and international events every year.
These were the issues which have been under discussion of “Interconfessional Dialogue” youth club, which works at the Institute of Government and Confession Relations. Today there is a broadening and activation of its activity, with attraction of other PSU departments’ students.
The study which was carried out considering this fact, showed that the project realization is needed. Students are interested in religious problems, and want to get answers for the questions they ask, they want to participate in the activity aimed to start interconfessional dialogue in education environment.
Ignatiy Bryanchaninov Orthodox Student Theological Community and Islamic Student Theological Community are the active members of the “Interconfessional Dialogue” club. They organize annual seminars and work-shops “Interconfessional Dialogue in Educational Space” for students, and school students of the Caucasus Mineral Waters region. They are backed by the participation of a teaching staff of PSU and representatives of Orthodox Church and Islam, education administration officers, teachers of Caucasus Mineral Waters’ schools. During these seminars, postgraduates, students, and school students make their reports on timely issues. Representatives of confessions, and all invited people participate there.
The club members take an active part in preparation, and organization of educational and social projects, such as “Religion and Healthy Lifestyle”, as well as youth conferences and roundtables.
Leisure time is also organized well. Collective celebration of Muslim and Orthodox holidays became a tradition of the club. As well as organizations of meetings with interesting people, summiting of Beshtau Mountain, tours around the sacred places of the Caucasus Mineral Waters, Bolshoy Zelenchuk, and Nizhniy Arkhyz.
Apart from the educational activity, there are additional trainings and retrainings for government and municipal officers, law-enforcement organizations, educational officers and religious figures within the framework of bachelor’s and master’s programs on a unique “Government and Confessional Relations” major.
Two recent years the Institute of Government and Confessional Relations of PSU has become a principal ground for training and retraining of scientific and pedagogical human resources in “Basics of Religious Culture of Soviet Era” program in NCFD. Among those who received education are: 574 people, including government and municipal officers, law-enforcement agencies officers, and more than 800 who was included in the programs.
To develop the whole work it is important to cooperate with the Council on Theological Education of Academic Association for Development and Introduction of New Educational Programs, Methodic Experience Exchange, which allowed formation of the All-Russian Academic Theological Association.
Such a various activity of the Institute proves in practice, that multicultural and multiconfessional space of the university is a unique ground to build an effective model of a dialogue, cooperation, and mutual enrichment of different cultural traditions.