President Cole Travels to Russia with International Education and U.S. Department of State Delegation

Leaders from Seven U.S. Colleges and Universities Visit

March 4, 2011 — Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole is part of a U.S. delegation of higher education officials visiting Russia to promote increased partnerships between the two countries’ higher education institutions. The Institute of International Education (IIE) with support from the U.S. Department of State is leading a delegation of U.S. higher education government officials and high-level administrators from seven U.S. colleges and universities to meet with their higher education counterparts in Russia from February 27 to March 5, 2011.

The visit was organized under the auspices of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission (BPC), which was created by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dimitri Medvedev in 2009 to improve coordination between the United States and Russia and to address shared challenges and explore new opportunities for partnership in areas of mutual interest.

Allan E. Goodman, president and CEO of the IIE, is leading the delegation with Alina L. Romanowski, deputy assistant secretary of state for Academic Programs. Several other government and non-governmental delegations are convening in Russia this week under the auspices of the U.S.-Russia BPC.

Goodman states, “With the significant reforms taking place in Russian higher education through the creation of new types of universities, the introduction of standardized entrance exams, and the growing governmental and institutional support to attract foreign scholars and experts to Russia, the Institute sees this as a key moment to introduce leading U.S. and Russian educational representatives to one another and to promote opportunities for collaboration in international education.”

In addition to Montclair State, the institutions taking part in the 2011 U.S. University Presidents’ Delegation to Russia include Lehigh University; North Carolina State University; the University of Arizona; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; and the University of South Carolina Upstate. Representatives from these U.S. institutions are participating in this week-long study tour in Russia, visiting potential partner campuses and international organizations in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kazan.

While in Moscow the U.S. delegation is visiting the National University of Science and Technology (MISIS), the Higher School of Economics, and Moscow State Technical University.  The U.S. delegation members joined their Russian counterparts, rectors and vice-rectors from many of Russia’s leading universities, at a one-day conference on March 1 dedicated to “U.S.-Russia University Cooperation: New Opportunities.”

The afternoon panel sessions and roundtable discussions highlighted issues of international collaboration through educational exchange programs, collaborative research projects, university partnerships, and dual degree programs.

The delegation will also visit higher education institutions and international organizations in St. Petersburg, including the St. Petersburg State Mining Institute, St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University, and St. Petersburg State University of Information Technology. They will be guests at a reception hosted by the U.S. Consul General in St. Petersburg, Sheila Gwaltney. In Kazan they will be hosted by the Ministry of Education and Science, Republic of Tatarstan, and they will visit the Kazan State Technical University, the Kazan State Technological University, and the Kazan Federal University.

According to Open Doors, a report published annually by IIE with support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, in the 2009/10 academic year, 4,827 students from Russia studied in the United States. In the 2007/08 academic year, more than 1,798 students from U.S. colleges and universities received credit for study abroad in Russia.  The Fulbright Program, administered by IIE in Russia, is responsible for supporting over 200 U.S. and Russian exchange participants annually.

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