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Diplomacy in Action

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

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
April 19, 2011


Look Ahead

April 16 – April 30: Education, Cultural, Sports, and Media Working Group: Michael Williams, Associate Professor at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, will conduct courses at St. Petersburg State University’s School of Journalism.

April 18 – April 21: Energy Working Group: Jonathan Elkind, Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of Energy, will travel to Moscow to meet with Russian officials, including Deputy Minister of Energy Anatoliy Yanovskiy. While in Moscow, Elkind will also speak at an International Energy Agency workshop entitled “Russia’s Energy Outlook.”

April 18 – April 21: Environment Working Group: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Dan Reifsnyder, will visit Moscow for meetings with Russian officials and environmental NGOs. He will be accompanied by representatives from the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. National Park Service. The delegation will also participate in local Earth Day events, including a tree planting ceremony and roundtable with university students.

April 18 – April 22: Counternarcotics Working Group: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will conduct a four-day training seminar on illicit narcotics financing. Officers from the Russian Federal Drug Control Service, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Federal Security Service, and Rosfinmonitoring will participate. Five DEA special agent instructors, in addition to the legal advisor at Embassy Moscow, will share techniques and discuss U.S. methods for countering narcotics financing.

April 18 – April 22: Science and Technology Working Group: CRDF Global will hold a Technology Entrepreneurship Workshop in Kazan, in partnership with the Russian Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE) and the Investment and Venture Fund of the Republic of Tatarstan . The Workshop is open on a competitive basis to scientists, engineers, inventors, researchers and technology entrepreneurs who previously participated in FASIE programs and want to commercialize their innovations and develop viable enterprises. CRDF Global will also award three $10,000 U.S. travel grants to competitively selected Workshop participants.

April 20 – 30: Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group: The Small Business Administration, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will bring a delegation of six Russian women entrepreneurs to Washington, DC and Silicon Valley. They will participate in business planning seminars and networking opportunities to enhance their businesses and build relationships with U.S. businesswomen, with a focus on the technology and innovation sectors. 

April 22: Education, Cultural, Sports, and Media Working Group: The multimedia art exhibit New York Minute opens at Moscow’s Garage Center for Contemporary Culture on April 22. It will feature the work of 60 American artists living in and around New York City who capture the drama, danger, speed and savvy of the vibrant and diverse art activities happening in the city today. 

Date: 04/22/2011 Description: Multimedia art exhibit ''New York Minute''. - State Dept Image
New York Minute opens at Garage April 22.

April 25: Counternarcotics Working Group: Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Danny Glaser will travel to Moscow to hold discussions on Illicit Narcotics Financing with Russian law enforcement counterparts.

April 25-26: Health Working Group: Senior Officials from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) will hold a planning meeting in Moscow for the U.S.-Russia Health Science Forum. During the meeting, officials hope to further develop the Forum’s structure and identify participants; establish the Forum’s Scientific Committee; and agree on the agenda for the Forum’s meeting in November 2011. The meeting will culminate with the signing of an NIH-RAS memorandum of understanding on Cooperation in Basic Biomedical Research. See NIH’s Press release here

April 27-29: Health Working Group: Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, along with representatives from State, USAID, and CDC, will participate in a number of official meetings in Moscow including: the second meeting of the Health Working Group; the U.S.-Russia Health Science Forum planning meeting; the Global Forum on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs); and the NCDs Ministerial Conference organized jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development. Discussions will focus on biomedical research cooperation, health care reform, and challenges and successes in fighting non-communicable diseases. 

Previous Events Wrap-Up

Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group: On April 6-8, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce Michelle O’Neill traveled to Moscow and met with fellow working group coordinator, Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Slepnev. Discussions focused on resolving barriers to bilateral trade and investment, and on the transition in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leadership. Ms. O’Neill also participated in seminars organized by business associations, including an American Chamber of Commerce in Russia hosted discussion on Russia’s Federal Procurement system as well as a U.S.-Russia Business Council event on the Skolkovo Innovation Project. Finally, Ms. O’Neill participated in discussions at a forum on export opportunities for U.S. businesses in Russia.

Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group:

  • A delegation of 18 Russian youth and 3 coaches completed their visit to Washington, DC and New York, an exchange made possible States by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) SportsUnited Office, Russia’s Ministry of Sport, Tourism, and Youth Policy, and the National Hockey League (NHL). The youth had the opportunity to meet with hockey legend Viacheslav Fetisov, who attended a New Jersey Devils game with the delegation and introduced them to hockey star Ilya Kovalchuk. In New York, the group visited NHL Headquarters and met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. While in Washington, DC the delegation met with Assistant Secretary Ann Stock and Minister Counselor for the Russian Embassy, Giorgiy Borisenko, before hitting the ice with the Northern Virginia Ice Dogs. They also played with the Washington Pride, a local young women’s hockey team, and participated in a sled hockey clinic for disabled youth and war veterans.

Watch an interview with some of the students here.
See photos on Facebook.

Date: 2011 Description: Russian and American hockey youth participating in one of several ice hockey clinics. - State Dept Image
Russian and American hockey youth participating in one of several ice hockey clinics.

  •  Six representatives from the St. Petersburg Baseball Federation visited five American cities as part of the new “Helping Baseball Take Root in Russia” program. Destinations included the Cal Ripken Academy in Maryland, the Little League Headquarters in Pennsylvania, and the Major League Baseball International Headquarters in New York.
  • On April 11-15, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Deputy Assistant Secretary Alina Romanowksi announced the creation of two new Fulbright initiatives in science and innovation during a meeting of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and Association of Leading Russian Universities (ARU). In attendance were 20 U.S. research university presidents, 32 Russian rectors and senior administrators, Russian Ministry of Education and Science officials, and non-governmental representatives. The American Councils’ EURECA program also hosted a two-day conference on university-industry relations, bringing technology to the market place, and innovation within academia. The delegation then traveled to North Carolina to visit Centennial Park and Research Triangle and meet with universities that visited Russia in March on the Institute of International Education (IIE) U.S. University Presidents Delegation.

Civil Society Working Group: On April 11-13, Migration Sub-Working Group co-chair Steve Bucher from the Department of Homeland Security traveled to Moscow to meet with Yekaterina Yegorova of the Federal Migration Service and representatives of Russian NGOs focused on migration issues. While in Moscow, Bucher visited a migrant registration operation, a work permit processing operation, and a refugee reception site.

U.S.-Russia Bilateral Consultative Commission on New START Treaty: Delegations from the United States and the Russian Federation met in Geneva, Switzerland from March 28 to April 8 for the inaugural session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC). They coordinated and discussed technical issues related to the implementation of the Treaty, which entered into force February 7. Participants agreed to return to Geneva later this year for the second round of BCC discussions.

Defense Relations Working Group:

  • On April 12-13, the Training, Education, and Human Resources Sub-Working Group held its second meeting in Moscow. The Sub-Working Group discussed officer commissioning, officer military education and officer training programs. The U.S. delegation also toured the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the Combined Arms Academy of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, and the Moscow Military University.
  • On April 14, the Social Issues Sub-Working Group held its inaugural meeting in Moscow. The Sub-Working Group discussed pay and compensation for military members, the civilian pay system, and benefits for military members and their families.

Health Working Group: From April 18 – 19 an expert group on International Circumpolar Tuberculosis Surveillance met in Khanty-Mansiysk to develop a cooperative tuberculosis surveillance and recording system. Discussion focused on determining the amount and types of data to be collected, as well as working out the reporting responsibilities of specific regions. Participants included two US representatives from the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Arctic Investigations Program in Anchorage, officials from Canada’s Public Health Agency, and several officials and experts from Russian regions and health agencies.

Fort Ross State Historic Park: The Fort Ross Interpretive Association (FRIA) and the Stanford U.S.-Russia Forum (SURF) shared in a community service event involving 65 outstanding American and Russian students at the Fort Ross State Historic Park on April 17. Made possible by the Renova Fort Ross Foundation, the event is a stepping stone in raising awareness of Fort Ross, a landmark of friendship between the United States and Russia. The joint efforts included preparing the Fort for the spring season via cleaning the historic orchard, coastal cleanup and trail work around the Fort. 

Date: 04/17/2011 Description: St. Petersburg journalist Arkady Sosnov published an extensive report on Fort Ross in the April edition of Russkiy Metsenat (Russian Philanthropist), which was presented in a ceremony at the Hermitage in St Petersburg. © Russkiy Metsenat photo
St. Petersburg journalist Arkady Sosnov published an extensive report on Fort Ross in the April edition of Russkiy Metsenat (Russian Philanthropist), which was presented in a ceremony at the Hermitage in St Petersburg.

Space Cooperation Working Group: NASA Administrator Bolden and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) Head Perminov co-chaired the fourth meeting of the Space Cooperation Working Group in Moscow on April 15, 2011. Administrator Bolden also joined Ambassador Beyrle in hosting a reception “In Honor of U.S.-Russian Space Cooperation on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the First Human Spaceflight.” For photos from the week’s events, please click here.

Date: 04/15/2011 Description: Ambassador Beyrle displays models of Russian Vostok and Soyuz rockets presented to him by the Head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Anatoly Perminov, during a Spaso House reception commemorating the 50th anniversary of Gagarin's flight. © NASA photo
Ambassador Beyrle displays models of Russian Vostok and Soyuz rockets presented to him by the Head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Anatoly Perminov, during a Spaso House reception commemorating the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s flight.

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