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Dr. Marina Sorokina

The Alexander Solzhenitsyn Center for the Study of the Russian Diaspora, Head of the Department of History | Russia

Dr. Marina Sorokina was a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for the Advanced Studies in Humanities at the Russian State University for the Humanities. She has also served at the Russian Academy of Sciences Archive in Moscow. Russian Academy of Natural Sciences awarded her with a Vernadsky Silver Medal for her academic studies. She is a member at The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Association for the Study of the Asian and Pacific Ocean Region and Russian Society for the History of Medicine.

Women scholars in exile, women and immigration in the contemporary world. In contrast to many other countries, Russia survived three major waves of mass migration in the 20th century. These are the refugees of the Bolshevik Revolution and civil war, refugees of World War II, and migration after Gorbachev`s perestroika. Many thousands of Russians left their homeland and traditional environment under the pressure of political persecution and settled down in many countries in the world, in Latin America, especially in Brazil.

A number of schools and scientists work within these emigrants. Issues concerning scholars in exile have attracted attention, especially in relation to the larger immigration wave that hit Europe facing the Nazi regime. This has been already well documented by the academic works, in contrast, there has been no scholarly treatment of the Russian academic migration in the 20th century that has grappled systematically with the topic on the basis of archival research.

For many years, refugees, invalids and dissidents were hidden groups ignored by the Soviet authorities, civil society and public memory. Only today, historians shifted their focus to study those groups. We shall now look at the life story of one of the very interesting women scholars in exile, Helen Antipov. Russian born Brazilian psychologist and educator, founder of the System of Support to Disabled Children.

Her life is very important in our perspective. Why Helen Antipov? As many other women refugee scholars were searching for professional employment in the changing European environment. Brazil opened the window of opportunities for her and many other scholars and scientists. Russia, Switzerland, Brazil marked not only the geographical shift of the immigrant scholar positions, but reflected new communications.

The ways how the European scholarly approaches and techniques were applied to the new institutions before World War II. The role of the immigrant scholars and especially women immigrant scholars were pioneering in this process. As such, Antipov`s story contributes to gender and immigration history, to the social history of psychology and human rights. But it also demonstrates the ways in which the formation of a very strong and persistent transnational or international network of scholars whose professional biographies on the level of concepts and ideas grew up from multicultural, intellectual components and traditions.

Antipov`s work and the work of many Russian refugee women were marked by a strong commitment with the achievement of human ideals of social justice and happiness. As a scientist, director of one of the first laboratories of psychology established in Brazil, she did the kid herself to know Brazilian children so that their education would be better oriented. Following the guidelines of the Geneva Declaration of Children`s Rights issued by the League of Nations in 1924, she focused education as a right in itself. And her views, schools were not supposed to provide the limited citizenship consciousness. On the contrary, citizenship was seen as a consequence of a steady support for the development of the children`s capacities.

With her experience with war and revolution in Europe, Helen Antipov strove for harmony, not for struggle. In her view, social harmony would be attained if each individual were given the opportunity to develop his own calling. In this development, education had a central role. Thank you very much for your attention and giving you this example in order to show the great role of the women`s corps in the contemporary world. We are looking at history, but we are living today. I hope that our network will work for many years.