International Volunteer Forum 2019-12-05 15:30:00 Sochi Vladimir Putin attended the International Volunteer Forum and took part in a ceremony for presenting the Volunteer of Russia 2019 award. The International Volunteer Forum is being held in Sochi from December 2 to 5 and is timed to International Volunteer Day marked on December 5. The event has brought together over 7,500 participants from Russia and other countries. Vladimir Putin talked to the leaders of the volunteer movement, who told the President about their projects. Tatyana Avdeyeva spoke about the initiative to provide paramedical services to homeless people. Her project, The Other Medicine, is being implemented in Chelyabinsk. Maria Igonina, a volunteer with Russia's search movement, briefed the President on the searchers’ activity and plans to begin a new search season in April, ahead of Victory Day. The student-founded Memory Watch will be held near Kerch in Crimea. The Russian Popular Front presented a new format of processing the questions received by Direct Line operators. Volunteers who are engaged in this activity told the President about a 96-year-old veteran from Yeisk, who wanted to attend the Victory Parade. The President invited the veteran to the event. In addition, volunteers spoke about questions regarding the recalculation of mortgage rates for families with children and about providing consultations on this issue. Grigory Sergeyev, chairman of the Liza Alert search-and-rescue movement, spoke about the movement’s activity. He said that in the nine-year history of the project, its members have conducted over 62,000 searches, with 49,000 of them resulting in finding people alive. This year, the President again joined the volunteer campaign The New Year Tree of Wishes: at the stand of the Dream with Me charity project, Vladimir Putin and the volunteer movement leaders randomly picked a New Year tree decoration that contains a wish to fulfil. Vladimir Putin also met with students of the Sirius Educational Centre. He heard about the projects of Russian and Indian school students who took part in the international programme, “Big Challenges of Sustainable Development” Russian-Indian Autumn Project School. A participant from India told the President about the project on a unique eco-friendly nuclear energy source and a Russian student spoke about a robotised monitoring system for tea plantations. In total, 25 Indian and 25 Russian students working on research and engineering projects in five fields are taking part in the programme. The Forum’s programme includes the award ceremony of the Volunteer of Russia 2019 contest. The main prize has been awarded to Inessa Klyukina for her project, The E-Motion Creative Inclusive Studio. Vladimir Putin presented the award. * * * President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends, Greetings on International Volunteer Day! I am always – always – happy to meet with you and I will tell you why. Interacting with people like you makes any person kinder and better, and this relates to me as well. I just met with your colleagues (some of whom probably managed to get here). Naturally, you deal with all kinds of issues, including assisting the elderly, helping children who need your moral support and working in hospices. You renovate cultural landmarks, our cultural heritage, and protect the environment. You also support our veterans, which is very important, especially ahead of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. All of this is very important. But here is what I think: this kind of activity is important everywhere and at all times, but especially today. Why? Because we are experiencing rapid technological development, a new technological revolution. It seems that artificial intelligence can replace humans everywhere. And this term itself, AI, is quite popular today. True, it can be more efficient than people in some areas, but it is artificial. It does not have what people have: it has no heart, no soul, no sympathy. And you, all of you, you have it. You have a lot of it, and it is very valuable to us because this is the foundation of the existence of humans and all humankind. We are now in Sochi, where the volunteer movement in Russia got a powerful boost during the Sochi Winter Olympics. There are currently over 15 million volunteers in our country; this is a huge army. Of course, volunteers do not seek gain, but it is traditional to give presents on holidays. I would like to inform you that it has been decided to double the grant for the Volunteer of Russia contest. I wish you a happy holiday and all the best. Thank you very much.