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By Greta Petry (May 11, 2007)

UAlbany and Moscow State Mark 30 Years of International Cooperation

The University at Albany and Moscow State University (MSU) celebrate 30 years of a collaborative partnership on May 15.

"This is like a 30th wedding anniversary for us," said Vice Provost for International Education Ray Bromley. "It has been a long and fruitful partnership between two major universities that has involved many faculty and students."

Since 1977, UAlbany has hosted more than 300 faculty, graduate and undergraduate exchange participants from MSU and has sent about the same number to MSU. Among those coming to UAlbany from Moscow were several drafters of the current Russian constitution, a political scientist who established the democratic model now used by cities throughout Russia, and an economist who, after his visit to Albany, became the Minister of Finance.

At the height of the Cold War, UAlbany was a national pioneer in forging this link with MSU, a large, prestigious and historic university. In 1974 State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor Ernest Boyer and the Ministry of Education of the USSR signed the first (and for 13 years) the only bilateral agreement between a U.S. and Soviet educational institution for the exchange of undergraduate students.

In 1977, SUNY and MSU began the first bilateral exchange of faculty and students between a U.S. and Soviet university. Originally jointly managed by SUNY and the University at Albany, responsibility for the exchanges was transferred to UAlbany in 1991. Joint sponsorship was renewed in 2000.

Today, the main emphasis of the SUNY/UAlbany/MSU partnership is the exchange of undergraduate students.

"We send four to eight students every semester, a portion of which are Albany students while the rest are from other SUNY or non-SUNY schools," said Jim Pasquill, director of Study Abroad and Exchange in the Office of International Education. "We provide the opportunity for students to study Russian here and then in Moscow intensively so that they come home speaking Russian."

Together, UAlbany and the Faculty (the School) of Foreign Languages at MSU run a language program. In addition, there are faculty links and joint research in business, computer science, and mathematics. And Jeffrey Straussman, the new dean of Rockefeller College, has been working with the faculty at MSU for decades and is renewing interest in the exchange in Rockefeller, the school that hosted about a third of the MSU faculty exchange participants in the first 15 or so years of the exchange.

There are other connections as well. UAlbany Philosophy Professor Bob Howell has received a Fulbright to go to Moscow State for a year, starting in September, where he will also serve as co-director of the SUNY-MSU Center on Russia and the United States. Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies Charles Rougle was on a Fulbright to MSU from 2005-2006. Prior to that, Professor Emerita Toby Clyman served as co-director of the SUNY-MSU Center from 2003-2004.

Slated to join in the May 15 commemoration of 30 years of cooperation with UAlbany are the rector (similar to the title of president) of MSU, Dr. Victor Antonovich Sadovnichy, an eminent mathematician, and five other senior administrators: Vice Rector for International Affairs Nickolay Semin; Dean of the Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics Dr. Evgenii Mosieev; Deputy Dean for International Affairs and a member of the Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics Dr. Alexander Lukshin; Vice Rector for Science and Development Dr. Petr Vrzhesch; and Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Area Studies Dr. Svetlana Ter-Minasova. The delegation is to be accompanied by Dr. John Ryder of SUNY System Administration and Olga Zinovieva, program manager of the Center on Russia and the United States.


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