Dear ˇolleagues!

    This is the sixth issue of the Annual of the Association of Russian-American academic and cultural exchange programs alumni "Professionals for Cooperation". The Association was created seven years ago to promote a free exchange of information, to facilitate and develop professional contacts, to broaden and spread the knowledge of the positive experience in the organization of education and science abroad and implement it.
    Seven years is a long time; the Association "Professionals for Cooperation" has come of age; it sees its main goal in helping to develop civil society institutions in Russia and takes an active part in furthering this process. The construction of civil society presupposes major transformations in all spheres of social life: the rule of law, strong institutions of political democracy, public organizations and social partnership. In a country as big and polyethnic as Russia, a stable intercultural dialogue and regional development within the framework of federal structure are of special importance. That is why one of the priorities for our Association now is cooperation with local administrations and with other national and regional non-profit public organizations. This complex combination of interconnected problems is in the focus of attention of our authors here.
    Since the fifth issue of the Annual, there have been important dates and events in the life of our Association, they too have shaped the structure and contents of this issue.

    Part One of the Annual is devoted to the reporting and election Conference of the Association on October 3-4, 2003, in Moscow. [1] In the two years since the previous conference, the Association has grown significantly, it has thirty-seven regional branches now and exercises an increased influence. It is a measure of the clout the Association has gained, that in 2003 the Association won in the competition for the right to participate in the program of civil service reforms in Russia.
    At the conference members of the Association discussed both the experience accumulated in the past years and our future work. [2] The Association has rearranged its priorities: the name of the conference - "The Role, Place and Prospects for the Work of the Association in Local Communities" - has outlined them from the very start. Various aspects of this general theme were discussed both at the plenary sessions and in working groups. Ways and means for effective social partnership, cooperation between government and public institutions were considered by many speakers at the conference.
    In this issue we publish the papers of three authors. Svetlana Malkarova, Chairperson of the newly elected Association Council, comments on the results of the conference and the tasks of the Association. Vice-President of the Inter-Regional Public Foundation "Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center" (IRPF SCISC) Igor Baradachev, who spoke at the conference on "Public Initiatives and Effective Cooperation with Bodies of Government", develops this theme in his article here. He analyzes the cooperation of the non-profit NGO's with governmental organizations and local government bodies in Siberia and comes to the conclusion that in the past few years "the situation in the public sector has changed drastically": "public non-profit organizations have grown, the part they play in social life has increased, local legislation and other instruments and mechanisms of regional life are gradually being worked out". Thus, we can say that in spite of the difficulties it faces, the public non-profit sector exercises a serious influence strengthening the rule of law and the fabric of civil society in Russia, and there is hope that this influence will grow. Irene Reshta (the Siberian Civic Initiative Support Center) in her notes shares with us her experience as coordinator of the Capacity Building for Alumni Groups Program.

    Part Two contains the materials prepared by the members of the Omsk regional branch of the Association prefaced by a brief account of the work of this branch. It is a collective project of our Omsk members, their collective self-portrait, for the works of the authors reflect the sphere of their interests and, as they themselves point out, the main directions of their professional development due to the experience gained through their participation in the exchange programs.
    The Director of the Inter-University Center of International Cooperation and Academic Mobility at Omsk State Pedagogical University (OSPU) Associate Professor Seregey Shirobokov and Deputy Director of the Center Nikita Brinyov discuss methods of effective university management at the time of globalization and international competition; they analyze the role of international education in building-up university competitiveness. Associate Professor (the Ministry of the Interior Academy) Anna Veretennikova writes about the methodology of teaching critical thinking. Senior Instructor of the Department of Foreign Languages (OSPU) Liudmila Tsirlina suggests that we should take a closer look at the impact of globalization on the development of languages, its possible consequences for the linguistic map of the world. The linguistic theme is carried on by Associate Professor (OSPU) Galina Babalova in her notes on the international character of computer terminology.
    The Editorial Board believe that this new heading - "a collective self-portrait" - will be interesting and useful for our Annual, for it gives us all an opportunity to get to know each other better, learn more - and at first hand - about the life of the regional branches of our Association that embraces almost the whole of the country, from its western to its eastern borders. We would like to include this heading in our future issues, and we invite those who would like to become its "heroes" to send their applications.

    Part Three contains the materials of a round table at the international conference of the Russian Association of American Studies held at the Departments of History and Philology of Moscow State University in January 2003. The discussion focused on problems of intercultural dialogue in its most difficult aspect - the aspect of conflict. As the moderator of the round table Professor Tatiana Venediktova (Moscow State University) rightfully says, "Cultural conflict, unlike social or political conflict, may not have clear immediate consequences, but its roots are deeper and its rationalization is more difficult. Compromise and consensus here are especially problematic, since tactical concessions are hardly distinguishable from sacrifices, fatal for the survival of cultural identity."
    The participants of the round table discuss how conflict expresses itself in different forms of social discourse and what it really means. The leading fellow of the Institute of World History of the Russian Academy of Sciences Boris Shpotov studies this cluster of problems analyzing American political rhetoric. Professor Olga Nesmelova (Kazan State University) looks at the reception of American literature by Soviet scholars in the 1920's-1930's. Associate Professor Olga Panova (Moscow State University) analyzes the image of the U.S.A. in Russian rock-culture, regarding conflict in it as a quest for self-identity. Professor Dmitriy Goudkov (Moscow State University) studies the image of the U.S.A. in Russian "patriotic" newspapers whose stance, they claim, is that of "enlightened nationalism". Professor Olga Antsyfferova (Ivanovo State University) uses student chats in the Internet debates on "Americanization of Russian culture".

    Part Four is dedicated to an important date - the 30th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program in Russia.
    Senator Fulbright first thought of a program of international academic exchanges as a way towards a better mutual understanding between peoples soon after the end of World War II. Now, over half a century later, the Fulbright Program has become one of the biggest and most prestigious in the world. The Program started its work in the U.S.S.R (and was a success!) in the Cold War years, it has evolved with the passage of time, the changes in our two countries and in the relationship between them.
    Professor Alexander Kubyshkin (Volgograd State University) tells about the life of Senator Fulbright describing his constant attention to matters of education. Senator Fulbright understood very well that education is the safest way to mutual understanding, that university education must aim at developing civic consciousness, it should not sever knowledge from politics, science - from social life. He was equally against anti-intellectualism and against a hostile attitude towards politics, - a stance that has not lost its importance for us now. As Professor Kubyshkin says, Senator Fulbright repeatedly emphasized that the task of the university is to convince its students of the importance of effective government, to teach them that politics could be a most respectable career.
    The Fulbright Program began its work in our country at the Department of History, Moscow State University. Professor of this Department Yuri Rogoulev in his article tells about the thirty years of mutually fruitful cooperation between Russian historians and their American colleagues through the Fulbright Program.
    An important event took place in Moscow on March 25, 2004: the symposium "Preparing for the Next Decade of U.S. Exchanges with Russia". [3] It brought together over 100 people from government organizations, business, academia, the NGO community, and exchange programs alumni.
    The U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow and Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Patricia de Stacy Harrison, who traveled from Washington to participate in the symposium, greeted its participants. Ambassador Vershbow pointed out that in the past decade over 50.000 Russians and 5.000 Americans participated in the U.S. Department of State exchange programs and such people-to-people exchanges between Russians and Americans benefit both countries by improving our ability to understand each other, and to share approaches to common problems.
    This symposium was the first significant public discussion of the exchange programs in over a decade, an opportunity to discuss how best to capitalize on what has already been done and to ensure that exchanges will be fruitful in the coming decade.
    "We must no longer depend primarily on government-sponsored exchange programs, rather we must involve many other sectors of our societies. Business, academia, non-governmental organizations, and alumni all must contribute to the future of people-to-people contacts", Ambassador Vershbow said. He expressed hope that there will be a greater balance in the contacts between Americans and Russians and more Americans will be brought to Russia.
    Assistant Secretary of State Patricia Harrison, in her interview to the newspaper "The Izvestia", suggested that our cooperation should evolve towards equal partnership, for exchanges imply reciprocity and Americans could benefit a lot from coming to know Russia and its culture better. [4]
    The participants of the symposium met in five working groups on specific themes including: public-private partnerships, higher education initiatives, youth and secondary school initiatives, bringing more Americans to Russia, and steering exchanges toward a new future.

    The work of the symposium is under consideration in Part Five of this issue. We publish the overview of the past decade of exchange programs made at the symposium by Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy, Larry Wohlers. This overview is published in its Russian version as it can be of interest to a very wide range of readers, irrespective of their command of English. Dean-Curator of the Distance Learning Institute at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia Oleg Volgin in his notes expresses his opinion on the results of the symposium and makes suggestions on how to develop the exchange programs in the coming years.
    The Editorial Board would like to continue the discussion of the themes considered at the symposium and we invite members of our Association to send us their articles and notes.

    Part Six contains works on the changing educational environment: the interaction between education and new technologies, education and the new social realities of Russia. Associate Professors of the Department of Philosophy (Moscow State University) Arthur Demchouck and Julia Artamonova analyze the objective tendencies of the computer revolution. Professor Olga Antsyfferova (Ivanovo State University) gives a case-study of her university experience in using new technologies in teaching American Studies. Research fellows of the Internet Access and Training Program Center at the Institute of General Secondary Education (IOSO) of the Russian Academy of Education Dora Roudakova and Pavel Dick give a survey of the work of the Center. Director of the International Fellowships Program (IFP) in Russia Oksana Oracheva (the Institute of International Education) describes the new opportunities the IFP provides for postgraduate education. Postgraduate student Fiodor Gogolin (Moscow State University) writes about the integration of Russia into Bologna. Professor Marina Karasseva (Moscow State Conservatory) has written her article in a provocative style: she challenges her reader to an intellectual duel over the future of high culture, its chances to survive and develop in a market economy. The author herself is convinced that good marketing won't do classical music any harm, and exchange programs give a wonderful opportunity to their alumni to gain the necessary experience and bring it over to Russia.

    In Part Seven of the issue Americans share their impressions of Russia; and Russians share their impressions of America. Problems of intercultural communication and mutual exchange of positive experience in the field of education and science are in the center of attention here. Director of the Fulbright Program in Russia Dr. Edward E. Roslof gives a survey of the differences in Russian and U.S. academic cultures based on the experiences of Fulbright scholars. Dean-Curator of the Distance Learning Institute at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia Oleg Volgin analyzes the American system of education in comparison with its Russian counterpart; he sees them as two different models. He comes to the conclusion that, though there is no ideal model and each has its own strong sides, modernizing our system of education Russians should take into account the flexible model worked out by the U.S.A. IREX Moscow fellow Courtney Ranson writes about her impressions of Russia; Moscow Conservatory Professor Svetlana Sigida paints a portrait of America "through the eyes of a musician", recollecting her experience as a Fulbrighter. The article "Americans in the Heart of Moscow" that completes Part Seven has been prepared by the American Center in Moscow; it gives an example of a successful dialogue between the cultures of our two countries.

    Part Eight provides useful and important information. You can find a detailed description of the Inter-Regional Public Foundation "Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center" (IRPF SCISC) whose representatives Igor Baradachev and Irene Reshta are our authors in Part One; information on the U.S. Department of State exchange programs and the resources for the exchange programs alumni. [5]
    The Editorial Board would like to thank the authors who have provided their materials. Unfortunately, the size of our publication has prevented us from including all of them in this issue.
    We look forward to new encounters with our authors and readers, and hope that they will enable us to make the Annual even more useful and interesting.
    The Editorial Board and the Association Council are sincerely grateful to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State for support and assistance in the publication of this issue of the Annual.

Marina Kizima

  1. The work of the Conference was covered in the press: The Poisk , N42, 17 October 2003.
  2. You can find detailed information about the Conference on the our site
  3. Detailed information about the Symposium can be found on the U.S. Embassy site.
  4. The Izvestia, 27 March 2004. P.3.
  5. We have used the U.S.Embassy site.