35th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program in Russia

When the Fulbright Program expanded to Russia in 1973, six Soviet scholars and six American scholars laid the groundwork for what has grown to become one of the leading academic cultural exchange programs between Russia and the United States. Now celebrating its 35th anniversary in Russia, the Fulbright Program welcomed over 200 new fellows during the current 2008-2009 academic year. Current fellows include scholars, experts, graduate students, English teachers and international education administrators.

As part of the Anniversary celebrations, more than 100 Russian and American Fulbright Alumni participated in the V All-Russia Alumni Conference on March 23-24, 2009. The conference was organized in cooperation with Moscow State University and the State University-Higher School of Economics.

The Opening Session was held in the Intellectual Center at the Main Library of Moscow State University. Opening remarks included the Vice-Rector, MSU, International Affairs, Nikolai Semin, Cultural Affairs Officer from the US Embassy in Moscow, Jeff Sexton, Director of the Fulbright Program in Russia, Anthony Koliha, Vice-President of the Institute of International Education (IIE), Mary Kirk, Director of the SUNY/MSU Program, Olga Zinovieva, Director of the Roosevelt Center in the History Department of MSU, Yuri Rogulev, and President of the Fulbright Alumni Association, Tatiana Venediktova.

Openning Panel Natalia Ivanova

John Ryder, Director of International Programs at the State University of New York (SUNY) System Administration, addressed the complex interactions between academic, financial, and political pressures in higher education. Dr. Ryder’s keynote speech titled “Three’s a crowd: The Value Commitments of Contemporary Higher Education” was followed with responses by Andrei Shutov, Dean of the Political Science Department at MSU, Irina Dezhina, Professor at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences and a former Fulbright Scholar, Nikita Pokrovsky, Professor and Chair of the Department of General Sociology at the State University—Higher School of Economics, Professor at Moscow State University and a former Fulbright Scholar.

The discussions that followed the opening session provided a dynamic forum for Fulbright Alumni, representing over 35 different cities across Russia, to discuss issues such as the need to introduce technology into the classroom, maintaining the quality of education, and incorporating interdisciplinary research into the curriculum. Nearly 200 conference participants and prominent members of the Russian and international academic community including Rector of Moscow State University, Victor Sadovnichy, attended a reception hosted by US Ambassador John Beyrle and his wife Jocelyn Greene at their residence.

Ambassador John Beyrle, Svetlana Sigida and Jocelyn Green

Link to video from the Spaso House Reception.

The conference continued the next day at the State University-Higher School of Economics. A lively debate ensued following presentations “A Contemporary Model for Russian Education- 2010” by Fulbright Scholar Program Alumnus, Head of the Higher School of Economics, I.D. Froumin, and “Evaluating the Quality of Education” by the Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Education, V.A. Bolotov.

The presentations and round-table sections that continued well into the evening showed the vast amount of concerns shared by professionals in across disciplines with respect to education on local and global levels. The conference came to an end with closing remarks by the Director of the Fulbright Program in Russia, Anthony Koliha, and by the Director of the Institute of Philology and intercultural communication at The State Pedagogical University for the Humanitaries-Pedagogical in the Baikal Region, T.V. Voronchenko. Voronchenko is a member of the Executive Committee of the Russian Fulbright Alumni Association and wrote the main article published in the 35th Anniversary Edition of the Fulbright Vestnik (.pdf), a journal of Alumni articles.

Higher School of Economics Pavel Vostrikov

Alumni across the nation have organized program presentations in their home cities announcing the opening of this year’s program competitions. The Fulbright Program continues to support the academic pursuits of its alumni with the help of small grants for continued research, conference presentations, book publications and other activities related to their professional and academic development. Anthony Koliha and Fulbright Program Officers met with the Russian Fulbright Alumni Association’s Executive Committee during the Alumni conference to discuss methods of increasing efforts to further outreach in the regions and possibilities for additional programming throughout Russia.

The Fulbright Program strives to bring together the nation’s top professionals, scholars, students and educational administrators into a community of continued learning, development and cooperation. The events surrounding the 35th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program in Russia are examples of such activities, and we look forward to the continual collaboration and future meetings of all Fulbright alumni in Russia.

Программа Фулбрайта в Российской Федерации. Институт Международного Образования.
Россия, 125009, г. Москва. ул. Тверская, д. 16 строение 1, офис 504
Тел: +7.495.966.9353