From science to friendship. Vladimir Egorov spoke on the origins and preparations for YISG-2022 in Yakutia

This year the II Yakutia International Science Games consist of three events
There is a little more than a week left before the start of the "Yakutia International Science Games-2022" in Yakutsk. The games will consist of three key events: TheInternational Research School on STEM projects, The Yakutia International Science Fair and The International Tuymaada Olympiad in Math, Physics, Chemistry and Computer Science.
In total, more than 500 children from over eight countries, as well as regions of Russia and the republic, are expected to participate. Vladimir Egorov, General Director of the Trust Fund for Future Generations of the Republic, spoke about the emergence of a large-scale research movement in Yakutia, this year's innovations and preparations for the games in an interview with YSIA. The Foundation is a co-organizer of the upcoming big event.
- The II Yakutia International Science Games are about to start in Yakutsk. Vladimir Anatolyevich, tell us how the republic prepares for holding events and welcoming guests?
- It should be noted that first stage of the YISG started on March 15 - on the birthday of the honorary chairman of the YISG-2022 Program Committee, Nobel Prize laureate in physics, one of the outstanding scientists of the world,Zhores Alferov. Over 2000 children from over 60 regions participated in the remote stage of YISG-2022 which lasted till June 1. Participants will arrive from June 30 and the opening will be held on the July 1. The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic and The Sakha Junior Academy of Sciences are working out all organizational details. Our Foundation is also a co-organizer.
— What awaits the participants of YISG-2022?
– Three main events will be held “in person”: The International Research School on STEM projects (IRS), The Yakutia International Science Fair and the traditional international Tuymaada Olympiad in mathematics, physics, Chemistry and Computer Science.
The International Research School (IRS) is held annually in different locations across the country by an interregional movement of creative educators and researchers. This time it will be held under the wing of YISG. And the children will present their projects at the YakutskInternational Science Fair.
— What is the geography of the participants?
— Applications are still open: applications for conference are accepted until June 23, and for the Olympiad till June 26. There are participants from Kazakhstan, Romania, Singapore, Mongolia, Turkey, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico. There will be teams from Tatarstan, Novosibirsk, Moscow, Penza, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg. Also, tutors from Mexico, Serbia and Brazil applied to participate. Last games had more rigid competitive selection, this time we tried to have wider reach among our children from the republic, notably from the arctic regions.
— Where will the main YISG events take place?
— The main venues are the new Educational and Laboratory Building of the Junior Academy of Sciences in Chapaevo village and the International Arctic School. The Sosnovy Bor Children's Recreation Center will also be used to accommodate the participants.
— How many people will be involved in the games in general?
— You know, the games have quite a few organizers. In total, hundreds of people are involved in the games:organizers, counselors, volunteers, and support personnel. There will be transport and medical staff. It is a major responsibility, so all services are involved: from Rospotrebnadzor to fire services.
— During the first YISG in 2018, you served as the Minister of Education of the republic and, one might say, you were at the origins of the games, the “Ideological Inspirer” of the YISG. Tell us how it all started then.
— It started much earlier. When I was the director of the Physics and Mathematics Forum "Lensky Krai", wetransformed it into the Junior Academy of Sciences, in addition to the olympiad direction, we added direction related to research and project activities. Accordingly, we began to think about integrating into the international educational space. As a region that has always paid special attention to education and work with talented children, we wanted to take a leaf from advanced countries. A number of trips to various countries took place - these are Finland, Singapore, the Republic of Korea and Hong Kong. There I discussed with colleagues from the best schools about their experience of cooperation. The International Olympiad "Tuymaada" had been held for quite some time (since the 90s) with 15 participating countries. So, I was advised by colleagues from the High School of Mathematics and Science in Singapore to gather as many other leading schools from different countries as possible. It led to decision to make the event even bigger.
— Another Olympiad, but on larger scale?
— No, the Olympiad is not an event where children can closely interact: they come, solve problems and leave. That is why we decided to hold a conference. Then wedecided that it was necessary to hold the Olympiad and the conference jointly, so that it would be like the Olympic Games, but in science. There is a common misconception that the Intellectual Games mean games such as chess. Which is fine but we focus on the scientific part. Therefore, there are both olympiad and research streams
— And what does the merger of such two formats as competition and science give?
Before and during the past YISG, we discussed how tobest work with talented children, how to identify and develop them. We came to the conclusion that the modern approach has changed. Before we would continue to work with the winners of the olympiad to refine their abilities. Now studies show that competitive events do not reveal all the talents, often gifted children do not reveal themselves, but show themselves in more relaxed formats of work and research. This leads to the involvement of the child in science. Therefore, some of the events are competitive, and some are non-competitive. If in the first YISG there were a lot of different competitive and non-competitive events, this year we focused on three main ones. So, for example, during RIS, children will work together on different projects for 10 days. This is no longer about competition, but about cooperation and teamwork.
— What are the main results of past YISG?
Then it was surprising for us that there were a lot of applicants. We expected the participation of about 16 countries, but it turned out to be almost 40. There were children from 18 countries, others were experts, tutors, organizers, guests, conference participants, master classes and so on. More than 1500 people in total were present, including the “Science Education” Symposium for teachers. Thus, the International Intellectual Games have set a next level, the republic and the whole of Russia have loudly declared themselves to the entire world educational space.

— This year, the games have the possibility of remote participation, what does it give?
Yes, this year we have conceived YISG with many entry options, one of them is the first stage, which I have already talked about and which took place remotely. Those who showed themselves well there receive an invitation to the events of the Games, which will be held in Yakutsk. It is worth noting that we have already tested this form of remote work, for two years in a row the Tuymaada International Olympiad was held during the pandemic. This format allows to increase reach due to the fact that the participants have the opportunity to connect to events without traveling.
— What is the main idea of YISG for you?
— I would compare the Yakutia International Science Games with the Olympiad. When Pierre de Coubertinfounded the modern Olympic Games, he said: "O Sport, you are Piece!". The goal was to unite the humanity in order to maintain world peace. Today, science is an international domain, and as you know, great scientific discoveries necessary for the humanity are made precisely in such teams. I think that our children, who will be united in YISG, within the framework of their cooperation and projects, can unite and further ensure the prosperity of the whole world.
— And finally, what would you wish the participants of the upcoming games?
— YISG has a good motto - "Let's do science, let's make friends". Therefore, I would wish the participants to succeed and find new good friends at the games.