Dagestan is well known for its civil unrest and lack of physical security. Located in the North Caucuses, with Chechnya, Azerbaijan, and Georgia as neighbors, the Dagestan population is intimately familiar with terrorist attacks and living in fear. The Center for Gifted Children is a radical and refreshing departure from this narrative which is good news for the future generations of this war-torn country.
An impressive delegation of dignitaries, businessmen, academics, and philanthropists assembled at Dagestan State Technical University, for the center’s opening event. Among the VIPS in attendance were the Chairman of the Republic of Dagestan, Ramazan Abdulatipov and Deputy Chairman, Ekaterina Tolstikova, the Minister of Education and Science for Dagestan, Shahabas Shakhov, Representative of the Russian Federation Council, Suleyman Kerimov, and the President of Dagestan State Technical University, Tagir Ismailov. The ribbon cutting ceremony was followed by a tour of the center and a brief introduction to the first group of children to attend and enjoy the center’s facilities.
If you wish to imagine the center and its potential, just think of a junior tech hub full of bright, curious and playful minds. The Center for Gifted Children will closely resemble a startup incubator that nurtures and encourages young entrepreneurial thinkers to become the innovators of tomorrow. The Head of Dagestan State Technical University, Tagir Ismailov, said it is important to identify and support young gifted and talented children, especially in the critical areas of science and mathematics. “We are pleased that we have such a beautiful center in the republic,” he told the group of supporters.
For the children, the center will be a place to stimulate and celebrate creativity, reach for higher and higher goals, bravely face the challenges they meet, and realize their full potential. Equally important to the educational mission of the center is its promise that no gifted child will be denied the opportunity to achieve because of geographic distance, transportation difficulties or financial condition.
Currently, there are 352 educational institutions across the republic of Dagestan, with a total enrollment of approximately 210,000 students. However, to identify gifted young minds hidden in such a large student body is an arduous task. Ramazan Abdulatipov applauded the hard work of the center’s organizers in creating such an enriching educational environment in a very short period of time. He thanked the founding team for their tireless and focused efforts to build such a special place to nourish the minds of Russia’s next generation of scientists, mathematicians, artists and athletes.
The President of Dagestan State Technical University emphasized a different and no less important benefit the center will offer the attending children, who will come from all parts of Dagestan to learn together. They will not only be developing their intellectual talent but also learning how to move past differences, listen to their peers and engage in respectful communication. And diversity is not restricted to the students. Teachers, mentors, and specialists were purposefully recruited from throughout the Dagestan republic.
The Center for Gifted Children was the brainchild of Suleyman Kerimov and Ramazan Abdulatipov. They involved major local universities in the project, both academically and financially in order to promise the stability required for the center’s continuous development and growth. The initial body of 75 students, who were chosen based on their aptitude in a variety of disciplines, will be divided into five learning groups of 15 students each. A summer session is in the planning stage and next year the center will be on full schedule.
It was a day with much good news for the students, parents, community and political leaders of Dagestan, and for the future of this stormy region.