From 4 to 11 May, doctoral students of the Bolgar Islamic Academy completed an internship at the University of Damascus (Damascus, Syria). The group, which was headed by Rustem Gilmutdinov, Assistant to the rector of the Academy, also included Marat Timurshin, head of the department of doctoral studies, and Dr Ayman al-Zahrawi, a lecturer at the Academy.

The delegation of the Academy was met by the head of the Levant Scholars Union, Imam-Khatayb of the Umayyad Mosque, renowned theologian Muhammad Tawfiq Ramadan al-Bouti, son of the famous scholar Muhammad Sayyid Ramazan al-Bouti, who was killed in a terrorist attack in Damascus in 2013. The internship started at the Umayyad Mosque, which is considered the fourth most important mosque in the Muslim world.

As part of the internship, the doctoral students were able to get acquainted with the work of Islamic research and educational centers in Syria, visited libraries and archives, and listened to lectures from leading theologians and professors at Damascus University.

At the university, the staff and doctoral students of the Bolgar Academy were welcomed by Rector Muhammad Osama Al-Jaban, who spoke about the century-long history of the educational institution, introduced the teaching staff and gave a more detailed introduction to the educational programme of the department of Islamic sciences. Al-Jaban took the opportunity to express his gratitude for the meeting of the Syrian delegation headed by the Syrian Minister of Culture in Kazan, which took place in December 2022.

In order to familiarize themselves with the rich manuscript heritage of Syria, the Academy doctoral students visited the Asad National Library, where they met with its director Ayad Fayaz Murshid. He told the guests about the specifics of the work of the main repository, and the doctoral students also got acquainted with part of the catalogues of manuscript texts. It should be noted that today the library fund is about 600,000 titles.

Ayad Fayaz Murshid noted that Russia’s support for the restoration of peaceful life in Syria is highly valued by the Syrian people, and many Syrian specialists are currently studying in Russian universities.

Such co-operation between the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic allows for a comprehensive approach to the restoration of cultural and economic life in Syria. The end of the one-week internship was the visit of doctoral students of the Academy to the preliminary defenses of dissertations of students of Damascus University.