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Diplomacy in Action

Joint Report: 2009-2010 Results of the U.S.-Russia Presidential Commission: Education, Culture, Sports, and Media

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs

[Click for Full Report: HTML Version | PDF Version | Russian Text]

Education, Culture, and Sports:
Special Presidential Representative for International Culture Cooperation, Mikhail Shvydkoy, and
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Judith McHale

Inter-Agency Participants:



Department of State

National Security Council

Department of Education

President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

National Endowment for the Arts

National Endowment for the Humanities

Library of Congress

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Culture

Ministry of Education and Science (MES)

Ministry of Sports, Tourism, and Youth Policy

Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications of Russia (Rospechat)

Dates Group Convened:

September 2009:

Under Secretary of State McHale and Russian Presidential Special Envoy for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy met in Washington.

December 2009:

A full Working Group meeting was held in Moscow.

April 2010:

Under Secretary and McHale MES Minister Fursenko held a meeting of the Education sub-group in Washington D.C.

May 2010:

Under Secretary McHale and Ambassador Shvydkoy met in New York.

May 2010:

A meeting of the culture sub-group, chaired by Under Secretary McHale and Russian Deputy Minister for Culture Golutva, was held in Washington D.C.

May 2010:

The Sports sub-Working Group held its first youth sports exchange (basketball) in Washington D.C.

June 2010:

Ambassador Shvydkoy and Under Secretary McHale met in London.


The Education, Culture, and Sports Working Group has established energetic cooperation in education, culture, and sports exchanges. During a series of meetings in Washington D.C. and in Moscow, the Working Group has brought together a number of government officials, museum and theater directors, educators and administrators, associations and business representatives to generate ideas and support for collaboration. As a result of these conversations, the Working Group has realized several priority initiatives and identified joint projects for the future.


Cooperation under the Working Group has helped to reinvigorate the celebration of American and Russian cultural and artistic traditions, facilitating dozens of events, exhibits, and performances in both of our countries. The successful tours of the Bolshoi and the Mariinskiy Ballets at Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts were among the most distinguished Russian cultural initiatives in the Unites States. A festival was held in St. Petersburg, Russia celebrating the 100th anniversary of Hollywood film; the Parsons Dance Company of Chicago, the Mark Morris Dance Company, and violinist Sarah Chang, each held performances in Moscow; and exhibitions were held in Moscow by American photographer Anthony Suau. Conductor David Handel also led the Russian Symphony Orchestra in a program of Gershwin music. The Western States Arts Federation, a member of the Culture Sub-Working Group, is also creating a pilot web site to help facilitate information sharing and connect Russian cultural organizations on potential joint projects.

Cooperation between the U.S. Library of Congress and Russia’s Presidential Library is developing. Creative ties have also been established between Russian and American art schools and literary journals.

Future Agenda on Culture:

As a result, a number of cultural exchanges have been agreed to in 2011-2012. In May 2010, Russia announced its intention to participate in the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The U.S. is also currently exploring programming for a similar year-long program of American cultural events in Russia. In addition to planning for Russia’s participation in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and events related to the 200th anniversary of the Ft. Ross National Landmark, the following activities are planned: establishing a branch of the Russian Museum in New York City; performances of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in Moscow in 2011; and prominent museum exhibits in both countries such as the “Glory to Russia,” and “We, the People...,” exhibits as well as an exhibit exploring the lives and legacies of Tsar Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln and the creation of a Russian-American inter-museum forum. Russia is also expected to participate as a special guest at the International Book Fair organized by the Association of American Publishers in 2012.


U.S. and Russian Working Group members recognize the importance of working together to educate a new generation of innovative thinkers, who can respond to the challenges and problems of the 21st century.

  • In December 2009, a joint plan was signed to realize our mutual interest in joint programs in early, secondary, and higher education and strengthening cooperation between American and Russian educational institutions and private sectors. On the margins of our bilateral consultations, information was exchanged on U.S. and Russian national priorities for international cooperation in the field of education and the systems of organizational and financial support of international collaboration projects in education. The Working Group noted that a number of shared priorities in secondary, professional, and higher-professional education have established favorable prospects for substantive increases in exchanges of youth, college students, graduate students, and teachers between Russian and American educational institutions.

  • In February, the United States announced a new Fulbright “Science and Innovation” Award.

  • In March, a video conference on jury trials was held as a pilot project between law students from the U.S. (Georgetown University and George Washington University) and Russia (St. Petersburg State University).

  • In April, the Russian Federation Minister of Education and Science, A. Fursenko, Under Secretary McHale, and representatives of the U.S. Department of Education held a plenary session of the Education Sub-Working Group. Russian university rectors as well as representatives of American educational associations and the private sector also participated. The U.S. Department of State also organized visits by the delegations to the University of Maryland in Baltimore and Johns Hopkins University to discuss management of research activity and university-business collaboration. A list of educational conferences and events for 2010-2011 and a survey of the U.S. educational system were provided to the Russian Ministry of Education and Science.

  • In June 2010, the Russian Ministry of Education and Science and the U.S. Department of Education established six new partnerships between Russian and American universities in science and technology, environmental science, and culture and society. In addition, the New York Academy of Sciences and the Moscow State Science University are preparing to sign a partnership agreement.

Future Agenda on Education:

The development of existing mechanisms for exchanges is continuing, including the Fulbright program, teacher exchanges, and university partnership programs. The Moscow Architectural Institute and Columbia University plan to launch a joint program to establish a World Architecture Center. In the summer of 2011, a Fulbright Summer School in nanotechnology will take place at Kazan State University. Cooperation is also being established between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Russia’s Innovation Center at Skolkovo.


A joint activities plan has been developed for sports exchanges. From May 15 to 29, 2010, the first Russian youth basketball delegation traveled to the United States.

Future Agenda:

Throughout the remaining months of 2010, the sub-Working Group will continue implementation of agreed and reciprocal sports exchanges in swimming, beach volleyball, ice hockey, and basketball. Russian youth swimmers are expected to travel to the United States in July 2010; American beach volleyball players are expected to travel to Russia in August 2010 and reciprocal ice hockey exchanges are scheduled for late 2010 to early 2011 in Russia and the United States.

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