2003 - 125e anniversaire de la naissance de Janusz Korczak
International conference in Kazan,
may 28-30 2003
A report in english language
by the Janusz Korczak International Newsletter,
Amsterdam, 2003-11-26.
Back to the french report.



Last May professor Roza Waleyva, president of the Russian Janusz Korczak Association, invited people from several parts of Russia and Europe to talk about Janusz Korczak’s pedagogy and contemporarily problems in education.

The conference was organized by the Kazan State Pedagogical University, the Russian Janusz Korczak Association and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Tatarstan.

The rector of the Kazan State University, professor Ruzal Yusupov and Roza Waleyva prepared us a warm welcome at the university which is located in one of Kazan’s most beautiful old buildings.

We met Edith Yanushevska, from the Institute of Special Education in Warschau, Vadim Komarov, principal of a children’s home in Otradny, Nina Lipskina from the Pedagogical University in Perm and Grogory Tvavinikov, principal of a secondary school in Kazan.

This first conference day, the lectures were about the inspiration Korczak offers every one of us in our work as teacher and pedagogue.

Hundred of Roza’s students listened carefully and came to us with all kinds of questions during the breaks. And fortunately we also had the opportunity to ask questions and exchange experiences and ideas with all those interesting, inspiring people later that day.

Kazan’s television station was present. That night we saw Roza explaining the importance of Janusz Korczak on television. Interviewing us, the reporters turned out to be particularly interested in the‚western‚ opinion about putting children in children’s homes, which is done more easily in Russian then, for instance, in The Netherlands.

The day ended with an excursion through Kazan; the beautifully restored Kremlin, the many mosques, the modern shopping streets. We all enjoyed Kazan’s friendly atmosphere! That night Roza’s student prepared us a great dinner. We ended the evening singing Russian songs and dancing.

The next day’s excursion to the Layishevky’s children home, some 50 km from Kazan, was certainly the most interesting part of the conference. The children welcomed us with self-baked pastry. A presentation about the history of the house was professionally offered by one of the teachers. Other pedagogues from children’s homes were also present. They exchanged ideas about how to work with children in sometimes extreme difficult situations. And, for sure, the problems they, and the children, sometimes face in Russia nowadays are not even comparable with the problem in education we face in the western world. I admired the energy, the optimism and the throughout human approach those educators displayed! Before we left, we had the opportunity to play all kind of games with the children from Layishevky. A perfect and studious day!

The day ended in the Kazan Concert Building, where Kazan’s mayor welcomed us for a wonderful concert.

The last official conference-day, Roza showed for the students and for us the film on Korczak and the children‚; a gift from the Israelian Korczak Association.

And, of course, visiting Kazan is not complete without a boat trip on the river Volga. Many students joined us. We had lots of time to get to know each other better, while the boat took us to the island of Sviyansk and back.

The contributions to this conference are all gathered in a conference book called, Janusz Korczak’s pedagogy and contemporarily problems in education.

It was a great experience to be in Kazan and to see so many young people and educators being enthusiastic for Korczak’s ideas, and to meet Roza again as a great organizer and as an inspiration for so many students and educators in Kazan, Tatarstan and many other parts of Russia.

Helma Brouwers,
Member of the Janusz Korczak Association in The Netherlands.
http://korczak.fr | http://roi-mathias.fr © Ass. Frse J. Korczak (AFJK), Paris
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