Account of the open lecture by Professor Jan de Groof at MCU

Professor Jan de Groof, a world-renowned expert from Belgium in the field of international law, held an open lecture for MCU students and faculty on November 27. The event has been organized by the International Relations Department and the Institute of Law and Management represented by professors Vladimir A. Severukhin, Oleg P. Saulyak, Andrey V. Zvonarev, and Vitaly Yu. Matveev. The researchers at the Institute of Law and Management have been fruitfully cooperating with Professor de Groof since the 1990s when he was invited as an international expert to become engaged in the design of the new educational reform in the Russian Federation after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

After that turning point project, Professor de Groof has become genuinely interested in the legislative practices of Russia, by participating in various law and educational initiatives, presenting lectures at Russian universities, and engaging young researchers and PhD students in international research projects.

The lecture ‘Special Aspects of Legal Regulation during Emergency’ was dedicated to the acute issues of legislative policies of different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor explained the key measures that had been taken by the EU countries to localize the virus, the policies aimed at supporting school education, shared peculiar judicial cases from the U.S., South Africa, and several other countries related to adopting emergency decrees. Professor also presented a detailed plan aimed at transformation of the school education system with regard to the possible recurring of the pandemic in the future.

The students and faculty of the Institute of Law and Management exerted a vibrant interest in the topic – more than 240 participants had registered for the event. Students prepared questions in English to seize the opportunity for a personal engagement with Professor de Groof. To facilitate communication, the lecture and the Q&A session were consecutively interpreted by Natalia Ageeva from the International Relations Department.

The lecture was followed by a lasting discussion – students asked such substantial questions as the observance of the right to education for socially vulnerable groups of people, the right of children to communicate with peers and socialize, restriction of people’s ability to exercise their general rights, the common legal response to emergency situations, etc.

Since Professor de Groof works with a group of PhD students from Europe and Russia, his answers often contained a suggestion for a deeper analysis that might grow into a topic for a PhD thesis. In particular, Professor emphasized the importance of comparative research including a comparative analysis of homeschooling legislation in Russia and the EU countries, comparative analysis of the legislation that covers environmental protection, collecting and analyzing the efficiency statistics of the crisis treatment measures adopted by different countries.

Those students who are interested in conducting research on one of the mentioned topics are prompted to contact Professor de Groof through their department.