In Progress - September 19-22: Health Working Group: U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius will lead an HHS delegation to participate in the United Nations’ High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases in New York. Among other priorities, HHS will use this opportunity to expand international cooperation on tobacco control and cessation initiatives, particularly through a text messaging program called Quit-Now-Text and a Clinton Global Initiative program to create completely tobacco-free workplaces. BPC Health Working Group coordinators Dr. Nils Daulaire, Director of the HHS Office of Global Affairs, and Russian Deputy Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova will meet on the margins of the High-Level Meeting. Along with Dr. Roger Glass, Director of the NIH Fogarty International Center, and Dr. Jonathan Hale, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia, they will discuss plans for the fall 2012 U.S.-Russia Forum on Science and engagement with civil society.
In Progress - September 19-23: Defense Relations Working Group: U.S. and Russian delegations will meet in Geneva to continue negotiations on a proposed Defense Technology Cooperation (DTC) Agreement.
September 22: Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group: The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Federal Customs Services (FCS) of Russia recently completed the installation of radiation detection equipment at all 380 Russia border crossings. NNSA’s Deputy Administrator Anne Harrington will meet with Vladimir Malinin, First Deputy Head of the FCS of Russia, at FCS Headquarters in Moscow on September 22, to recognize this major milestone. The installations were completed on schedule with the work and costs shared by both sides. NNSA Assistant Deputy Administrator John Gerrard will also participate in a demonstration of the Automated Agency Management Informational System (AAMIS), a joint effort between NNSA and FCS to integrate the FCS’s radiation monitoring infrastructure to allow for real-time alarm monitoring.
October 2-5: Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group: Working group co-chairs Ambassador Mikhail Shvydkoy and Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Ann Stock will open the second meeting of the Media Sub-Working Group in Moscow. Sub-group chairpersons Mikhail Gusman of the ITAR-TASS News Agency and Dawn McCall, Coordinator of International Information Programs at the Department of State, will lead the event. Discussions hosted by ITAR-TASS on the first day will focus on the future of media and the evolving business of media. The second day will include a panel discussion about ethics and journalism hosted by the Russian State University for the Humanities.
October 3-5: U.S.-Russia Business Council Annual Meeting: On October 4, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor I. Shuvalov will open the 19th Annual Meeting of the U.S.-Russia Business Council (USRBC) in Chicago, a sister city of Moscow since 1997. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns will deliver remarks at a dinner at the Art Institute of Chicago during the preceding evening. Additional event details are on the USRBC website.
October 7: Environment Working Group: Representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will attend two workshops in Moscow on black carbon in conjunction with the inter-governmental Arctic Council and the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE). On October 6, the EPA and members of the Arctic Council will co-host a workshop to share experiences across the Arctic on black carbon and diesel emissions. On October 7, the MNRE will host a related workshop to discuss U.S.-Russia cooperation on black carbon. The workshops will examine the link between black carbon—considered a major contributor to climate change, particularly in the Arctic—and diesel emissions, pollution mitigation, and clean technologies that can improve the efficiency of energy systems in the Arctic's remote regions. Experts from Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the University of Alaska will participate in the first workshop and share their countries’ experiences in reducing diesel emissions. The non-U.S. participants have been invited as observers to the bilateral workshop.
October 9-18: Health Working Group: Director of the Information Technology (IT) Department at the Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development, Vadim Dubinin, will lead a delegation to the United States to discuss the latest trends and pressing issues in health-related IT. The group will attend a Cerner Health Conference in Kansas City, October 9-12, followed by visits to some hospitals in the Chicago area. Dubinin is also planning to meet with his HHS counterpart, Dr. Farzad Mostashari, and visit the Veterans Administration to learn about its work with Kaiser Permanente to share electronic health information to improve veterans’ care.
October 11: Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group: The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts will open an exhibition of works by American photographer Annie Leibovitz, whose works are being brought to Moscow as part of the Embassy’s year-long “American Seasons” series of cultural programs. There will be a VIP opening at the Pushkin Museum followed by a reception in Leibovitz’s honor at Ambassador Beyrle’s residence, Spaso House. Ms. Leibovitz’s work was displayed recently at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, where it received much critical acclaim.
Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group: On September 20, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the signing of a Joint Statement on the strategic directions of U.S.-Russian nuclear cooperation with the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Rosatom Director General Sergey Kiriyenko signed the Joint Statement at the conclusion of bilateral consultations at the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference in Vienna, Austria. This Joint Statement recognizes that the U.S. and Russia have together actively and consistently demonstrated leadership in the nuclear sphere, particularly in the areas of nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, and counterterrorism. Read the full press release here.
Agriculture Working Group: In partnership with the Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa State University, and the Russian Farmers Union (AKKOR), the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted the first phase of the “Best Practices in Agricultural Sustainability” program from August 29 to September 6. Four Russian agricultural experts traveled to Iowa and Illinois to learn about U.S. agricultural technologies and practices. Participants attended the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Summer Policy Conference and visited the Monsanto research facility in Huxley, Iowa. They also toured the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and Iowa State University Extension and Research facilities. Their trip included a three-day home stay with Iowa farm families, where the participants experienced family farming in the United States and the everyday life of U.S. farmers.
Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group: Assistant Administrator James Hammersley of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Deputy Assistant Administrator Bruce Purdy traveled to Moscow during the week of September 4 for a series of discussions with Russian government and non-government counterparts concerning small and medium enterprise (SME) finance and technical assistance. Since 2010, the SBA and Russian Ministry of Economic Development (MED) have had a memorandum of understanding to exchange best practices and compare SME development, through a BPC sub-working group on the same topic.
The SBA team had discussions with the head of the MED’s SME section about future exchanges and activities, particularly following a summer 2011 study trip by Russian mayors of single-industry cities to Pittsburgh and Detroit. The SBA visitors also spoke with faculty and students at Moscow State University, the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, Russian Microfinance Center, banks, and NGOs focused on the SME sector. The U.S. and Russian officials discussed possible future activities, such as a delegation of American bankers to Russia in 2012 and alternating joint SME development conferences in each country.
Counternarcotics Working Group:
Defense Relations Working Group:
Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group:
Ambassador Beyrle (center), producers Jordana Glick-Franzheim (far left) and Mitchell Block (far right), and the winners of the recent Embassy Documentary Contest. (Photo Credit: U.S. Embassy Moscow)
The winners of the “Pacific Strong” competition celebrate. (Photo Credit: U.S. Consulate Vladivostok)
Environment Working Group:
U.S.-Russian collaboration in action during exercise CRIMSON RIDER 2011. (Photo Credit: Matthew Bilden, Warren Air Force Base)
Military Cooperation Working Group: The U.S. and Russian militaries conducted Exercise CRIMSON RIDER 2011 in Wyoming, August 9-11. The Air Force Global Strike Command and 20th Air Force, with support from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, hosted a static display at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base demonstrating transport and security equipment used by U.S. security forces. Russian presentations highlighted similar practices by Russian military forces. A nuclear warhead transport exercise followed, which included the exchange of best practices used by each country in the secure transport of nuclear weapons. Exercises like this enable beneficial technical interaction among security experts from both countries and contribute to enhanced security of nuclear weapons. This exercise was conceived by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen and Chief of the Russian General Staff Makarov, co-chairs of the BPC working group, and is a tangible demonstration of U.S. and Russian commitment to enhancing cooperation in the nuclear security realm. Planning for a follow-on event in this exercise series will occur next year in Russia.
Health Working Group: The Washington-based Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences have prepared a joint report titled “The New Profile of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis in Russia: A Global and Local Perspective.” The report is based on a U.S.-Russia workshop held in Moscow in May 2010, which was attended by a large number of medical and health policy experts from the public and private sectors in both countries. The 2010 workshop and resulting joint report fulfill a goal set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development in a July 2009 memorandum of understanding. The report is available in paperback and electronic formats through the IOM website.
Upcoming - Civil Society and Innovation: On September 24-25, Russian and U.S. computer programmers will take part in a two-day code-writing marathon called “Code4Country.” The marathon aims to produce software solutions to a social challenge facing both countries: increasing government transparency and accountability to citizens. Volunteers from several high-tech companies, including Yandex and Google, the Skolkovo Foundation, and USAID will come together under the framework of the Bilateral Presidential Commission to put on the event, the first of its kind involving U.S. and Russian computer programmers and civil society representatives. The event complements broader cooperation between the governments of the United States and Russia to make government more open and transparent, particularly through the use of innovative technology. The overall theme was selected because of the emphasis that both President Obama and President Medvedev place on open government and the fight against corruption.
The programmers involved in Code4Country will work on problems proposed by members of the public. To ensure broad public participation in defining the problems, the event organizers have set up a bilingual web site where programmers can register for the competition and anyone can define a problem related to government transparency and accountability that they think can be solved with a software solution. At the event, programmers will develop solutions to the problems that are best solved through a programming solution. In addition to addressing a vital social challenge in both the U.S. and Russia, organizers hope that this bilateral project will help forge long-term relationships between civil society and information and communication technology (ICT) experts from both countries.
Upcoming - Business Development and Economic Relations: Coinciding with the U.S.-Russia Business Council’s 19th Annual Meeting in Chicago (above), a delegation from Chelyabinsk Oblast will visit Chicago and California, October 3-6. Led by Governor Mikhail Yurevich, the delegation will attend the USRBC event October 4 in Chicago. The delegation intends to meet business leaders and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce to acquaint its membership with the oblast and to explore investment and cooperation possibilities with Illinois companies. The group then plans to travel onward to Silicon Valley and meet with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce on October 6.
Upcoming - Health: The October 3-6 USRBC Annual Meeting will also be a platform to address healthy workforce issues. The Russian government has plans to boost the quality of healthcare as well as to educate the country about healthy lifestyles. In Chicago, healthcare experts, industry experts, and government regulators will discuss the Russian government’s “Health 2020” and “Pharma 2020” plans to improve the health of the workforce and thereby increase labor productivity.
Upcoming - Health: The “MDG-6 International Forum” (click here for more information on Millennium Development Goal 6) will take place in Moscow, October 10-12. The purpose of the Forum is to identify the main challenges in meeting Millennium Development Goal 6 and make recommendations on achieving it by 2015 through strengthened international cooperation. The Forum will also focus on strengthening cooperation in the Eastern European and Central Asian region to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other infectious diseases. Co-chaired by UNAIDS, the World Bank, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Forum will include representatives from governments, international organizations, civil society, and academia, as well as medical and policy experts, scientists, and media.