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U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission: Bi-Weekly Look-Ahead and Wrap-Up


Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
February 28, 2011

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Look Ahead

Late February-April: Education, Culture, Media, and Sports Working Group – Grammy-nominated American R&B musician and producer John Forté will begin his nine-week tour of Russia “From Brooklyn to Russia with Love!” to record, perform, and collaborate with some of Russia’s greatest musical talents – from the world famous classical orchestras to Russia’s most successful contemporary singers/songwriters. Forté and his band will take their act to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Yekaterinburg, as well as smaller locales along the Trans-Siberia Railway and beyond. They will also perform at Spaso House on March 2.

February 20 – March 3: Environment Working Group – A delegation of 20 Russian national forestry service managers will continue their visit to the U.S. by travelling to Apalachicola National Forest and St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Florida to exchange expertise on protected area management and habitat conservation. The group will also travel to Big Cypress, Biscayne and Everglades National Parks in South Florida.

February 27 – March 4: Energy Working Group – Representatives from USAID, the U.S. Energy Association, and Texas-based CenterPoint Energy and Austin Energy will continue their work in the Russian city of Kaluga. American and Russian energy specialists are exchanging best practices in utility management and energy efficiency, with the goal of establishing a collaborative network of U.S. and Russian smart grid companies.

February 28-March 5: The Science and Technology Working Group, the Education Sub-Working Group, and the U.S-Russia Innovation Council on High Technology (ICHT), a public-private sector initiative promoting technology collaboration, will meet in Moscow. They will hold discussions on developing joint projects and on engaging non-government actors in building sustainable scientific, academic, and private sector cooperation between our two countries.

  • Science and Technology Working Group – The Science and Technology Working Group, co-Chaired by Dr. John P. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Dr. Andrey Fursenko, Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, will meet in Moscow on March 2 to review potential projects in the following areas: nanotechnologies, including in the area of sustainable energy development; nanotechnology-related environmental, health, and safety research; and information technology, including e-government initiatives. They will also discuss obstacles to cooperation, such as visas, customs, and tax issues. Complementing these discussions, the ICHT, co-chaired by Lorraine Hariton, Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and Dr. Sergey Mazurenko, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, will also meet to discuss joint projects in the commercialization of research and technology transfer fields.
     
  • Education, Culture, Media, and Sports Working Group – The Education Sub-Working Group, co-chaired by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Alina Romanowski, and Director of International Integration in the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, Igor Protsenko, will lead a number of discussions with American and Russian governmental and non-governmental representatives to explore new areas of cooperation in higher and secondary education, including in math, science, and technology. Co-chairs and officials will begin their week by leading a discussion with an Institute for International Education-led delegation of 10 American university presidents and 25 Russian research university rectors to identify opportunities for faculty, academic, and research partnerships between U.S. and Russian institutions. In addition, they will also discuss the Association of American Universities’ plan for a U.S.-Russia university roundtable in April in Washington, DC as well as efforts to launch a multi-institutional, multi-year initiative to expand U.S.-Russian university collaboration on research, research management, and university-industry relations. The Enhancing University Research and Entrepreneurial Capacity (EURECA) Program, a pilot initiative of the U.S.-Russia Foundation and American Councils, will also participate in sub-group discussions on supporting innovation through university research.

    Read the State Department’s press release here, or watch footage of Dr Holdren’s initial meetings and presentations here.

March 1-4: Military Cooperation Working Group – The Combating Terrorism Sub-Working Group will meet in Garmisch, Germany, to exchange views on supporting military forces in the fight against terrorism and to review cooperative stabilization efforts.

March 2-4: Education, Culture, Media, and Sports Working Group – Judith McHale, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and Ambassador Mikhail Shvydkoy, Special Representative of the Russian President for International Cultural Cooperation, will launch a dialogue between Russian and American media professionals as part of the U.S.-Russia Presidential Commission. The event will be held in Boston in cooperation with the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University and will feature sessions at MIT’s Media Lab and at The Boston Globe. The dialogue will be structured around three themes: the Business of Media, the Evolving Profession of Journalism, and New Media Technologies. The growth of citizen journalism, changing technology, and the freedom to connect will be among the topics to be discussed. Participants will include leading Russian and American media executives, government officials, and university students. Guest speakers will be featured from Harvard’s Berkman Center, Global Voices, Ushahidi, and major media outlets.

Week of March 7: Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will travel to Finland, Russia, and Moldova. In Moscow, the Vice President will focus on building on the reset in U.S.-Russian relations, with a focus on ways to further the prosperity of our two countries.

March 8-15: Education, Culture, Media, and Sports Working Group – The Russian Youth Agency, working in conjunction with Open World, will bring 15 American university student body presidents--the second of four such planned exchanges—will meet with their Russian peers in Moscow, Yaroslavl, and Khantiy Mansiysk, Siberia. Participating universities include University of Maine, Duke, CalTech, University of Nevada-Reno, Princeton University, University of Indiana, University of Southern Mississippi, Emory, University of Kentucky, University of Florida, Murray State, Castleton State College, Florida Agricultural University, Chapan University, and North Carolina State.

Previous Events Wrap-Up

Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group:

  • On February 24, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), staff at Embassy Moscow, and representatives from the Ministry of Economic Development (MED), led by the Director of Small Business Development Natalya Larionova, held a digital videoconference to discuss joint activities for 2011. Attention is currently focused on coordinating a tour of Russian mayors, government representatives, and NGOs to Pittsburgh and Detroit in April, where they will exchange expertise on the role of small business in economic and industrial re-structuring at the local level. Officials also discussed opportunities for a possible visit to Russia by SBA Administrator Karen Mills later in the spring.

Civil Society Working Group:

  • On February 16, as part of the Child Protection Sub-Working Group, Drew Oosterbaan, the Chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), led a delegation to Moscow and met with Pavel Astakhov, Russian Federation’s Presidential Ombudsman for Children’s Rights. The DOJ team interacted with representatives of Russian law enforcement agencies and the Security Committee of the State Duma, as well as with representatives from the Moscow City Duma and the Moscow City Police. The U.S. delegation included representatives from the Department of Justice, the Pennsylvania State Police Department, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the National Children's Advocacy Center. Discussions focused on how to effectively combat crimes against children, including child pornography and child predators, as well as how to provide effective child welfare services. Russian delegates laid out their plans to hold a Forum on Child Protection in August, and expressed their desire to collaborate with U.S. counterparts to establish a Russian National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Click here for Embassy Moscow’s press release.
     
Date: 02/16/2011 Description: Caption: Pavel Astakhov (left) and Drew Oosterbaan, co-chairing a meeting of the Child Protection Sub-Working Group. (photo credit: ) © U.S. Embassy Moscow
Pavel Astakhov (left) and Drew Oosterbaan, co-chairing a meeting of the Child Protection Sub-Working Group.

Defense Relations Working Group:

  • On February 18, Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, hosted the first meeting of the Global and Regional Security Sub-Working Group of the Defense Relations Working Group at the Pentagon. Colonel Yelena Knyazeva, Acting Chief of the Main Directorate for International Cooperation Directorate at the Russian Ministry of Defense headed the Russian delegation. The meeting covered three main themes: Asia-Pacific Security, Security Implications of Climate Change and the Arctic, and Conventional Arms Control in Europe. Expressing their concern over potential conflict on the Korean peninsula, the two sides reviewed areas of common interest and potential cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, including non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, and regional security architecture. There was agreement on the general climate trends impacting future activities in the Arctic, as well as on the need to work together in offsetting any potentially negative outcomes these climate trends may produce. Both sides exchanged frank views on the importance of the conventional arms control regime in Europe and its role in enhancing stability and predictability in global military affairs. Ambassador Vershbow and Colonel Knyazeva agreed to hold a follow on meeting of the Global and Regional Security Sub-Working Group during late spring 2011 in Moscow.

Education, Culture, Media, and Sports Working Group:

  • Russia’s first-ever Film Noir Festival at the Rodina Cinema in St. Petersburg has generated tremendous media buzz, with consulate staff giving numerous interviews and several articles running in local print media. The ten-day festival features landmark American classic movies from the 1940’s and 1950’s, chosen to illustrate an alternative side to American culture as seen in contemporary filmmaking. As part of the festival’s educational pre-program, consulate staff gave lectures on the origins of film noir to students at local universities and teamed up with NGO partner “Tour de Film” to launch a city-wide advertising campaign. Visit the St Petersburg Consulate Facebook page for more details.
     
Date: 2011 Description: The BPC-funded Film Noir Festival had St. Petersburg a-buzz, thanks in part to ads on the city's main street, Nevskiy Prospekt. © U.S. Embassy Moscow
The BPC-funded Film Noir Festival had St. Petersburg a-buzz, thanks in part to ads on the city’s main street, Nevskiy Prospekt.

  • Famed Russian theater director Yevgeniy Kamenkovich and nine students from the Moscow State Theater School are busy rehearsing their performance of a Russian production at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. Before they depart on March 6, the students will further develop a Russian-American co-production to be staged in Moscow later this year. View the CalArts page for more detail and material, or watch a video of the latest performances.
     
  • Ambassador John Beyrle hosted a ceremony at Spaso House on February 25 celebrating the return of 21 historical documents to Russia, thanks to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The documents, many of them signed by prominent Russian historical figures, were reported stolen from national archives in Moscow and St. Petersburg between 1994 and 2002. Ambassador Beyrle noted in his remarks at the ceremony: “Today we celebrate a success in the battle against the theft and smuggling of cultural and historical artifacts, and a success in our effort to build a closer and more productive relationship between Russia and the United States.”
     
Date: 02/25/2011 Description: Ambassador Beyrle (right) joins Russian officials in examining the reclaimed documents in Spaso House.  © U.S. Embassy Moscow
Ambassador Beyrle (right) joins Russian officials in examining the reclaimed documents in Spaso House. 

  • On February 22, Ambassador Beyrle also joined in opening the Lincoln-Alexander II Exhibition at the Russian State Archive in Moscow. Marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation of Serfs, this exhibition explores the common goals of President Abraham Lincoln and Russian Tsar Alexander II, featuring the Liberation Manifesto of Alexander II and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Learn more about the exhibition.
     
Date: 02/22/2011 Description: Russian Tsar Alexander II (left) and President Abraham Lincoln (right) image on exhibit at the Lincoln-Alexander II Exhibition at the Russian State Archive in Moscow.  © Photo courtesy of rambler.ru
The Moscow exhibit highlighted the common agendas of the two renowned leaders, pictured above.



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