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    DINGDEN, February 22, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Alexander Polotsky) - On Sunday the first international seminar "Russian Language outside Russia" finished in Germany.

    Specialists in Slavic languages, professors and teachers of Slavic languages from German universities, school teachers from different countries of West Europe gathered for two days in the Klausenhof Academy in the small German town of Dingden to discuss the problems of and the outlook for teaching the Russian language as foreign and native.

    The seminar's topics included ways of spreading and preserving the Russian language and Russian culture on the whole in Germany and in other European states.

    The participants also discussed possibilities of organizing exchange of experience and educational literature, of organizing international summer camps for schoolchildren, Russian-language contests, school and youth exchanges.

    The specifics of this period, the delegates pointed out, is that European countries now have many children of different age from families of former USSR citizens. Thus, it is necessary to further improve teaching of the Russian language as native for them.

    They also pointed to the alarming trend of a decreasing number of German schoolchildren and students who studied Russian.

    The seminar's participants adopted a final document, which they intend to send to the German Union of Teachers of the Russian Language, to the federal and local education ministries.

    In the letter they point out to the usefulness of the seminar which, in their opinion, was a practical move to unite efforts to preserve and spread Russian outside Russia.

    The document also emphasized the importance of this work within the Agreement between the governments of Russia and Germany on teaching the Russian language in Germany and the German language in Russia signed on October 9, 2003.

    The seminar was attended by over 40 teachers from German cities, as well as from Austria, Great Britain and Finland.

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