On April 16, upon Director Prof. Edmund Sheng’s invitation, the Russian Center at the University of Macau hosted a guest speaker, Prof. Joanna Radwanska-Williams. The event was co-hosted by the Department of Government and Public Administration, Faculty of Social Sciences. It was held in honour of Cosmonautics Day and the 60th anniversary of the first manned space flight by Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961. Dr. Michael Share introduced the speaker, and moderated the question and answer session that followed her talk.

Joanna Radwanska-Williams is a Professor of English at the MPI-Bell Centre of English, School of Languages and Translation, Macao Polytechnic Institute. She holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the United States. She was born in Warsaw, Poland, and has Russian ancestry on her mother’s side. Before coming to China (originally she taught at Nanjing University), she taught Polish and Russian languages at several universities in the United States. Prof. Radwanska arrived in Macau in 2003, and has been teaching courses in English, Linguistics, and Culture at MPI ever since.

From the mid-1950s through the 1970s, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a space race. The Soviet Union was the first country to put a satellite into space (Sputnik in 1957), the first to send a man into space (Yuri Gagarin in 1961), and the first to send a woman into space (Valentina Tereshkova in 1963). The United States joined the competition, which culminated with the landing of Apollo 11 and its two Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Prof. Radwanska discussed the beginnings of Russian space exploration, the various milestones in International space exploration, including the American exploits, and the future potentiality of space for mankind. Man’s efforts in Space continue to this very day.

Prof. Radwanska’s talk was the second in a series of talks, either in person or through Zoom, that the University of Macau Russian Center is sponsoring this spring semester. Russian Consul-General Igor Sagitov spoke to us via Zoom from Hong Kong about his life as a Diplomat on April 8, and Prof. Oscar Sanchez from the Department of History at the University of Hong Kong spoke to us this afternoon, April 20, also via Zoom, on “Understanding Marxism through Science Fiction”.