S. A. Mousalimas, D.Phil.
Pembroke University, Oxford University
This Institute has enjoyed twenty years of successful development. It is a jewel in the crown of town of Mirny, the pride and joy of Western Yakutia, and a beacon of enlightenment in the Russian North-East.
Congratulations also to the Rector Albina Abramovna Goldman for twenty years of service and leadership! Fr om the very start of the university branch in Mirny until today, Albina Abramovna has dedicated herself to the development of this institution of higher learning and the well-being of the students.
It is a success story. I remember when I first visited by invitation during the first academic year in Mirny. I was brought her by my esteemed colleague, a patriot of Yakutia and Russia, Egor Spiridonovich Shishigin, who had come fr om Yakutsk to help establish the university branch in Mirny at the start. We had already (earlier) become colleagues through his position as Director of the State Museum; and when he came to Mirny to use his talents to help to establish the university branch here for the glory of Yakutia and strengthening of Russia, he did not forget this humble colleague; but he invited me to visit; and eventually, I became the first visiting professor here, bringing with me to Mirny my titles as International Exchange Lecturer of Oxford University and Visiting Fellow of Edinburgh University (positions I held at that time). Arriving in Mirny for the first time that year, I was taken by Egor Spiridonovich straightway to the university branch where I had the privilege to meet the Rector Smirnov along with Albina Abramovna; as the three of them, including Egor Spiridonovich, were the three pioneers who courageously accepted the challenge to establish the university branch. We had tea together and talked about their work. It was exciting. But I could not see wh ere the university branch was actually located. “Where is it?”, I asked them. “This is it!” they told me. It was merely the few small rooms that they were borrowing in a building that belonged to another (an altogether different) organization. So, I have seen this development with my own eyes: This really has been a development from ground upwards; with nothing in place at the start except the talent and dedication of those three pioneers, plus the desire of the people of Western Yakutia and the good will of the Mirny Administration. Egor Spiridonovich took me to meet the Head of the Mirny Administration, Mr Basigisev, whose strength of personality and forward vision impressed me (and still does).
Yes, this truly is a success story from ground upwards; and it happened in such a short time! Soon the main building was constructed with pride of place in the canter of the town; and since then, more buildings continue to be constructed as the Polytechnic Institute continues to grow. A success story indeed.
But, from the start, the focus has always been on the students, their well-being and their spiritual development; and I have seen this also with my own eyes, also. During each of my visits to Mirny, I have always been impressed by the creativity and joy that we can see in these students. For this achievement, their teachers should be commended as well, with many thanks for such good work!
The achievements that I have seen are no less than extraordinary; and I would be remiss if I did not describe a vivid example. In April of the year 1997, which was very early in the history of this Institute, five students from this university branch in Mirny went to Oxford University and Edinburgh University to participate in conferences to honour the Bicentennial of the Birth of Saint Innokentii (Veniminov). They were among the first students to matriculate here in Mirny (among the first students here); and they were the only students involved in these international conferences in Oxford and Edinburgh. They were included in a delegation from Yakutsk, comprised of the heads and official representatives of important civic organizations of the Republic, such as the Academy of Sciences, the National Library, the State Museum, the National Archives, etc. Yes, they found themselves in such an prestigious delegation from the capital city, Yakutsk; and then, they found themselves furthermore in the company of well-established persons of Oxford, Edinburgh, and London at receptions and dinners in the impressive halls of such historic, venerable places. Other students would have been unnerve d and intimidated. These students had been prepared in advance in Mirny; so that they conducted themselves flawlessly and admirably. They were dressed appropriately and they behaved appropriately, bringing honour to their homeland; and each of them read a research paper (report) in the English language, bringing honour to their university. Their reports were subsequently published in the English language in the conference proceedings. They wrote their reports (about the history of Orthodoxy in Yakutia) under the excellent tutorage of Egor Spiridonovich Shishigin, and they translated their reports under the careful guidance of the English teachers, at the university branch here in Mirny. This is a remarkable achievement. It occurred from Mirny. It occurred through initiative and tutorage of Egor Spiridonovich with the active support of Albina Abramovna and the endorsement of Mr Basigisev.
We should hope, that with God’s blessing, this Institute should continue to develop from height to height, glory to glory, by the dedication of its administration and faculty for another 20 years and beyond.
Professor Michael C. Milam
University of Indianapolis
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
I only have fond memories of my stay at your fine university in March of 2007 when I came from Irkutsk State Linguistic University wh ere I was Professor of American Studies to give lectures on American culture. This was arranged by Professor Albina Goldman and Professors Alexander Kaplunenko and Valentina Kaplunenko as we had dinner one night in Irkutsk. I remember upon learning that I would be going to Mirny that I was unsure what to expect. Would my airplane be swallowed by the famous ALROSA giant diamond pit before it landed? Would everything be frozen tight in March, still? Would the Yakut people accept me? Would the university be several small, frigid buildings next to a frozen river? What was this Mirny? Well, the airplane was not swallowed by the giant pit. Everything was still frozen tight in March, of course. The Yakut people not only accepted me, they embraced me. I was ushered around Mirny as a celebrity, dinners here, dinners there. I ate frozen horse meat and drank kumis. I was showered with gifts. I got to experience Yakut hospitality at its best, and it is the best. Most importantly, however, was the commitment to education. There were no small, frigid buildings next to a frozen river. Instead, there was a thriving, state-of-the-art educational system that rivals anything in the west. Primary schools, middle schools and high schools with the best facilities and the most dedicated teachers. At the pinnacle of this Mirny educational system is Mirny Polytechnic Institute.
Peter Clark, PhD in Chemistry
I always remember the warm welcome that I received on the two separate occasions when I had an opportunity to come to your institute and share some of my own lessons from life with you, and to learn from you so many new things regarding life in Mirny and about English philology.
Fortunately, I have been able to stay in contact with at least some of the friends that I made during my visits there, and I still feel a strong connection to Mirny and the institute. I do hope that my schedule will permit me to return to Mirny in the not too distant future so that I can renew old friendships and make new ones, especially with the latest group of students.
I recall how engaged the students were in the debates that we held in English on relevant topics of the day. I hope that some of my guidance about how to prepare a résumé has been helpful to students and continues to be used by students as they prepare to launch their own careers.
I want to wish everyone there in Mirny great success for the future.