IRISH PROJECT BY OKSANA KURENYA
Our planet is a large home for people with different worldviews, habits, traditions, and customs. The more the people know about one another and the more they are interested in their neighbouring countries, the less conflicts and misunderstanding occur between them. That is why it is so important to pay attention both to your motherland’s history and history of other countries.
The Faculty of Linguistics at the Institute for the Humanities and Information Technologies (IGUMO) hosts the Festival of Irish Culture for the ninth year in a row. This annual event is associated with Saint Patrick's Day, Ireland's national holiday. Oksana Kurenya, Dean of the Faculty of Linguistics at IGUMO, shared more about the Festival.
Usually the day of the death of a saint person becomes his or her remembrance day. However, the date of the Saint Patrick's Day celebration has a different story. Historians did not manage to identify the exact date of Saint Patrick's death choosing between March 8 and March 9. The Irish decided to add these dates. That is why Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17. According to Oksana Kurenya, this proves once again that the Irish are a friendly and peaceful nation.
Today, Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated not only in Ireland, but also in many other countries. The students willingly learn about Irish culture, traditions, and customs. As stated by Oksana Kurenya, the Festival associated with the celebration of Saint Patrick's Day taking place within the premises of IGUMO has an intellectual format.
Every year, the students and teachers of the Faculty of Linguistics organise games, contests, and quizzes on the subject of the history, literature, and customs of Ireland and Saint Patrick's Day. The exercises are quite challenging. They require special preparation in advance. In addition, the Festival is conducted in the English language.
The event traditionally ends with a concert of traditional Irish music. At the concert, the students, teachers, and graduate students themselves sing songs and play traditional Irish musical instruments, for example, fiddle, whistle, and bodhran. Not all of them are professional musicians. However, the Festival’s team approaches the participation in the concert with pleasure, sincere interest and enthusiasm. That is why their performance is so admirable.
Oksana Kurenya really loves Irish culture and probably thanks to her inspiration and interest, her students got involved in the Festivals too. She has been interested in Ireland’s history and culture since she was a student.
“When I underwent my teaching practice for the first time, we decided to choose Ireland as the topic of our joint creative event. During that event, we spoke about Ireland’s history and sights. We even were dressed in Celtic costumes. We wanted to convey the amazing atmosphere of Ireland and share our love of its culture”, said Oksana Kurenya.
Her Ph.D. thesis was about the specifics of Irish English in fiction. Since that time, Oksana Kurenya has been visiting this country and communicating with the Irish every year. Deeply immersed in the culture of Ireland, she shares her knowledge and inspiration with students and other teachers. She brought from Ireland a book by Ernie O'Malley called ‘On Another Man's Wound’. The book has not been translated into Russian before. However, for several years already, the students of IGUMO have been translating it in terms of their traineeship. The translation has almost been completed. Oksana Kurenya wants to negotiate with the book’s copyright holder about publishing it in Russian in the foreseeable future.
In fact, not only linguists of IGUMO, but also students of other faculties are interested in the cultures of other countries. Knowing the culture of other nations and peoples contributes to closer relations between countries and peace. In addition, no language can be learned without studying the history and culture of those who speak it. According to Oksana Kurenya, this is why IGUMO pays so much attention to providing its students with the knowledge of cultural-historical context.
IGUMO cooperates with the Embassies of the Czech Republic, Rwanda, and India. Jointly with them, the institute hosts different events and implements educational projects. IGUMO conducts the annual Oriental Forum with the participation of international guests who share about the customs and traditions of their nations and answer the students’ questions.
At the end of her interview, Oksana Kurenya recalled a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own”. She believes that the more we know about other countries, the better we understand the culture of our motherland, its special character, and nuances.
In fact, Oksana Kurenya implements her Irish project jointly with Ilya Kurenya, her husband and colleague. They support and inspire each other. Probably, that is why their project makes great progress.
Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov