RIOU Rector Professor Lev Belousov with Dr Vincenzo Costigliola at a ceremony in Oxford ©RIOU

The Rector Professor of the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) has been made a member of the Club of the Rectors of Europe (CRE) at a ceremony in Oxford.

Lev Belousov has helped build RIOU into a legacy initiative of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, training future managers for the sports industry, especially the Olympic Movement.

The University targets international students and, at present, learners from 17 different countries and 21 different regions of Russia are studying on its flagship course, the Master of Sports Administration (MSA).

The CRE is dedicated to furthering communication and the exchange of ideas between rectors, deans and senior academics throughout the world.

It was created at the initiative of the scientific community and its membership is more than 100 strong, hailing from 30 countries around the world.

The invitation to become a member of the CRE's international community was in recognition of Belousov’s personal contribution to enhancing the integration of science, culture and education, raising the role of universities in all spheres of human activity, as well as fostering the intellectual development of modern society.

"It is a real honour to become a member of the Club of the Rectors of Europe and it means that RIOU’s influence and network of contacts is spreading wider," said Belousov, who received a certificate at the ceremony from Dr Vincenzo Costigliola, founder and President of the European Medical Association. 

"By taking up membership with this club I am committing to meeting the high standards which fellow members expect and the high standards which I demand of myself as an educator.

"RIOU’s international outlook is aligned with the CRE and we share similar key principles which drive our activities, such as the importance of educational integration and self-management."

The RIOU is a legacy initiative of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games
The RIOU is a legacy initiative of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games ©Getty Images

As a CRE member, Belousov will be involved in the work of independent academic committees with various areas of expertise, which aim to consolidate the efforts of academics, researchers and business organisations in facilitating research, education, and innovation.

The third intake of students were inducted onto RIOU’s MSA programme in September, with praise for the initiative coming from Association of National Olympic Committees secretary general Gunilla Lindberg.

The scheme aims to teach students, the majority of whom come from within National Olympic Committees, various skills in order to give them the best possible chance of securing a job in the field of managing sports organisations, as well as events and venues.

Several successful athletes are taking part in the MSA this year, including Sochi 2014 snowboarding silver medallist Nikolai Olyunin and Christina Smith, the first Canadian female bobsleigh pilot to compete at the Olympic Games.

"The Russian International Olympic University’s MSA course is a unique experience for students; a one-year immersion in Olympic culture and best-practice, in an Olympic city, with access to expert professors from all over the world," said Lindberg.