Our way began with an excursion in autumn 2015 when students and teachers from Moscow and Cologne met in Rome in order to discover both the classical heritage that has become the foundation of our shared heritage and the story of ”Roma russa”— the traces of Russian writers, artists and travellers in Rome. One of the inspiring places was the villa of the princess Zinaidy Volkonsky—a place of artistic encounters, refined style and generosity witnessing the meeting of some of the best parts of Eastern and Western European culture.
In December 2015, scholars and students from our three faculties met for a winter school “Philology and Cultural Transfer in Europe from Antiquity to the Twenty First Century” in Warsaw.
Completing the Preparations
In January 2016 our rectors and deans have signed the official agreement on the double degree program. In February, we have submitted an application to the DAAD in the international double degree program. In March the German accreditation agency AQAS has reviewed the program. The drafts of the admission and examination regulations have been submitted to the committees in the faculty and the rectorate.
On April 20, 2016, the Senate of the University of Warsaw has confirmed our program. The first information in Polish is available on the leaflet of the Faculty „Artes Liberales“ (on page 13).
In May 2016 we have received the confirmation that our program has been accredited by the accreditation agency AQAS.
In October 2016 we have held the opening conference with over 70 participants from Warsaw, Moscow, Cologne, Belgrade, Oxford and Rome. The conference “Reviving Visions: Artists and Scholars that Connected East and West” was a “double conference” with three days for junior scholars (at the Slavonic Institute of the University of Cologne) and two days for senior and junior scholars at Castle Wahn. The conferences were framed by a cultural programme. Together with our guests from Moscow, Warsaw, Oxford, Belgrade and Rome we attend the Schauspiel Köln and a concert of St Martin in the Fields in memory of Sir Neville Marriner.
In the winter semester 2016/17, the first generation of the Double master took up their studies at the University of Cologne. One place of their meetings became the new common room in the basement of the Slavonic Institute, that we had created for the student conference in October.
In November 2016, we renewed the experience of our excursion to Rome, this time under the title “Roma russa i polaca”. Our program included the attendance of a conference and exhibition dedicated to Henryk Sienkiewicz’s novel “Quo vadis”.
In December 2016, Elena (HSE) spend one month at the University of Cologne as a short-time fellow. Elena returned to Cologne as one of six HSE students of the first generation in the summer semester 2017. In 2016, she participated in our trip to the Icon Museum in Recklinghausen, where our guide (for four hours) through the icon collection was Inna Jermakova.
In January 2017, four CIH students participated in the excursion of the Slavonic Institute to Warsaw. They participated in classes by the Prof. Paweł Stępień and Prof. Katarzyna Marciniak organised the cultural program for B.A. students from Cologne and Warsaw.
In March 2017, the first generation of guest students arrived at the University of Cologne. They attended the pre-semester intensive German course organised by the DaF department of our International Office. In the summer semester our guests from Warsaw, Moscow and Belgrade attended seminars and lectures at the Slavic Institute, at the Historical Institute, at the Institute for Art History, at the Institute for Byzantine Studies and at the Institute for Classical studies. Every Wednesday, they presented the topics of their M.A. theses in the CIH colloquium.
The traditional summer party of the Slavonic Institute was, for the first time, a CIH party. The theatre group (under the direction of Irena Nachkovskaia) performed a free improvisation on the Silver Age of Russian poetry. Our special guest was Dr Mina Đurić who played the accordion. Mina will be the coordinator for the implementation of CIH at the University of Belgrade.
In June 2017, during the Pentecost holidays, 25 present and future CIH students from Cologne, Moscow, Warsaw and from the HSE campus in Nizhny Novgorod met for a summer school dedicated to the Eastern and Wester influences on Russian provincial towns. The summer school took place in Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow, the keynote lecture was given by Prof. Ewa Bérard (Paris).
In July 2017, Dr Yulia Ivanova and Dr Pavel Sokolov (HSE) gave a block seminar at the University of Cologne on “Iter Italicum Slavorum”. The seminar was attended by Prof. Wim Coudenys (Catholic University of Leuven) with whom we spoke about an association of his university with CIH.
In August 2017, the first recruitment for CIH took place at the Higher School of Economics. 21 of more than fourty applicants were enrolled to the first year of CIH. They will be expected as guests in Cologne or Warsaw in the summer semester 2018.
On September 1, the Cologne students took up their semester at the Higher School of Economics. For their semester abroad they were elected for DAAD fellowships. For the students who spend their semester abroad at the Faculty “Artes Liberales” in Warsaw, the semester begins on October 1.
For the academic year 2017/18 eighteen new students will join CIH at the University of Cologne.
In September 2017, the rectors of the University of Cologne and the University of Belgrade have signed the CIH agreement making Belgrade the fourth member of CIH. Serbian / Bosnian / Croatian language and culture have become a new part of the CIH profile. We are expecting the first generation of CIH students from Belgrade in March 2017.
The Second Generation
In October 2017 the second generation of CIH students has taken up their studies at the University of Cologne. One of our new students has already participated in a field trip (or, more precisely, a boat trip) to Dalmatia organised by the Institute of Byzantine Studies and the Institute of Classical Studies. You can look at her impressions here.
In November 2017, exactly 13 month after the start of CIH, the first CIH student has successfully completed the program and received the first CIH diploma from the University of Cologne.
In the summer semester 2018, twenty four guests from the Higher School of Economics, the University of Belgrade and the University of Warsaw spend a semester in Cologne. They chose courses from all fields of the humanities. Scholars from our partner faculties give numerous guest lectures and block seminars at the Slavic Institute. In all practical matters, our guests are supported by the volunteers of the Russian Student Association (RuSA).
In October 2018, CIH has become an English language program. CIH has been positevely reviewed and will be supported for another two years (until September 2020) by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
In the winter semester 2018/19 CIH students spend a semester abroad in Moscow, Belgrade, Warsaw and at La Sapienza (Rome).
In September 2018, 24 month after its inauguration, CIH has 48 registered students and 5 alumni.
The Fifth Partner University
In September 2019, an agreement has signed with the University of Ljubljana. The Faculty of Arts of Ljubljana University will be the fifth official CIH partner. The coordinator of CIH in Ljubljana is Professor David Movrin, the leading expert for the reception of classical antiquity in Slovenia.
In Cologne, we have defined five focus areas in that will shape the profile of CIH and that reflect the profile of CIH in the future. The focus areas reflect the research of our teachers and can be chosen in CM1, AM1 and AM2.
Our first alumni have taken up PhD studies. Aleksei, the first alumnus who had joined us from Moscow, has won one of the competitive a.r.t.e.s. EUmanities fellowships of the graduate school a.r.t.e.s. with a co-tutela PhD (Cologne / Warsaw), Elena has began p a PhD at the Higher School of Economics, Sabina at the University of Cologne, Tijana, Aleksandra and Jelena at the University of Belgrade, Elena at the University of Munich, Anna is working as an ERC-fellow at the University of Exeter, Uroš has won a fully funded PhD position at the University of Vienna and Tamara has gained a regular PhD grant from a.r.t.e.s., Anna is teaching at the Higher School of Economics, Artem has taken up a PhD at the University of Bonn, Marta works at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.
In April 2020, the DAAD has confirmed that CIH will be supported for the fourth time in a row so that we will be able to offer DAAD grants for outgoing and incoming students also to the next generations of CIH students.