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U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission: October Newsletter on Upcoming and Recent BPC Events

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
October 27, 2011


Upcoming BPC Events

October 22-31: Environment Working Group: The U.S. Forest Service, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is collaborating with the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) to organize a visit to protected areas in Southern Russia. The visit reciprocates a Russian delegation tour of protected areas in the U.S. in February 2011. The trip will include representatives of Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Forest Service, as well as researchers studying Russian Protected Areas. The visitors will focus on tourism and ecotourism, local-level involvement, organization of scientific research, and protection of the territories, including fire protection.

October 25-27: Science and Technology Working Group: The U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation’s Basic Research and Higher Education (BRHE) Program will host a Technology Commercialization Practicum at the Tambov State Technical University, October 25 to 27. The event will be offered to scientist-entrepreneurs and technology-transfer professionals. Experts from Russia and the United States will lead professional skills development sessions and workshops. The event will culminate with a business plan competition, in which participants will “pitch” their technology commercialization plans to an international expert panel of judges.

October 25-27: Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will co-host an export control license review event with Rosatom. The workshop will provide technical export license reviewers an opportunity to strengthen their discernment of “dual-use” items (that can be used for both commercial and weapons-related applications) and will address the implementation of an International Atomic Energy Agency protocol on export and import reporting requirements for nuclear-related items.

October 31: Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group: DOE Acting Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management David Huizenga will attend the AtomEco Conference plenary session in Moscow and speak about DOE programs that address nuclear legacy issues.

October 31-November 2: Energy Working Group: An Energy Security Sub-Working Group meeting will take place in Houston, Texas. Russian Deputy Minister of Energy Sergey Kudryashov will bring Russian companies to the United States to participate in a Bilateral Investment Symposium also held in Houston. During the visit, the Russian delegation will also tour an offshore oil platform and shale gas facilities.

October 31-November 4: Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group: The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Office of International Material Protection and Cooperation will visit Moscow to conduct a seminar on insider threat identification and mitigation. The workshop’s focus will be the analysis of abrupt and protracted theft by insiders and the appropriate measures to mitigate such scenarios. Proposed solutions will highlight and quantify the value of various material surveillance and containment procedures. Russian Federation organizations to be represented include Rosatom, Rostechnadzor, Institute of Physics and Technology of Tomsk Polytechnic University, and Moscow Engineering Physics Institute.

November 2: Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group: An exhibition of paintings titled “Nicolai Fechin: From Kazan to Taos” will be displayed in the Kazan Kremlin. Born in Kazan, Fechin went on to become one of the foremost painters of the American Southwest. His works will be on display through January 15, 2012, and then move to Moscow and St. Petersburg.

November 7-11: Military Cooperation Working Group: Joint Staff-General Staff Talks between Lieutenant General Terry Wolff, Director for Strategic Plans and Policy for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Lieutenant Vladimir Zarudnitskiy, Chief of the Russian Main Operations Directorate will take place at the National Defense University on November 10 as part of a larger visit that includes a trip to a U.S. military base. This will be the first meeting between these two new senior policy advisors to General Martin Dempsey and General Nikolai Makarov, respectively, co-chairs of the BPC Military Cooperation Working Group.

November 9-14: Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group: Legendary American jazz drummer Billy Cobham and his band will visit the Vladivostok region with the support of the U.S. Consulate General. The musicians will give two concerts coinciding with the 2011 Vladivostok International Jazz Festival.

November 14-15: Health Working Group: The International Science and Technology Center in Moscow is organizing a two-day workshop on Pediatric Multidrug Resistant Tuberculosis with the support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Germany-Russia Petersburg Dialogue. Around 50 experts from Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Europe, India, South Africa, and the United States are expected to join the workshop to exchange their experiences tackling this serious disease in children. Experts from both the HHS and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) will participate in this event.

November 15-21: Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group: The world-renowned Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane dance troupe will tour Moscow and Volgograd. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Bill T. Jones will accompany the dancers to both cities where they will perform for both public and student audiences. This is part of the ongoing “American Seasons” series of cultural events.

November 15-17: Counternarcotics Working Group: Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director R. Gil Kerlikowske will host a Russian delegation in Chicago, Illinois, for the fifth meeting of the BPC Counternarcotics Working Group. Director Viktor Ivanov of the Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) will lead a Russian delegation and the U.S. side will be comprised of officials from the Department of Treasury, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Department of Health and Human Services. The co-chairs and attendees will receive updates from the sub-groups on illicit finance, law enforcement cooperation, and demand reduction. Afterward, participants will attend a presentation on the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program at the Chicago Medical District. The next day will include presentations focusing on a family-based drug treatment program at the Haymarket Center followed by a law enforcement meeting at the DEA Chicago Field Division.

November 16-17: Health Working Group: The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Foundation for the NIH will hold the First Annual U.S.-Russia Scientific Forum in Moscow. The Forum’s themes will include: fighting cancer, active and healthy lifestyles, human development, and infectious and rare diseases. In addition, a Clinical Research Course—a component of the Forum—will take place at the Kulakov OBGYN Research Center during the same week. These events will include more than 100 Russian and U.S. governmental, non-governmental, academic, and private-sector experts.

Recent BPC Success Stories

Remarks by Burns and Shuvalov: On October 3, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns delivered keynote remarks at the Annual Meeting of the U.S.-Russia Business Council (USRBC) in Chicago. He said that the United States and Russia are on the cusp of a new kind of “Sputnik moment” in which each country can renew its capacities for innovation, bring out the best in its people, participate in the global economy, and cooperate on today’s challenges. Russian First Deputy Premier Igor Shuvalov also spoke, saying that Russia looks forward to a deeper and strengthened relationship with the United States as a true, global partner.

Space Cooperation Working Group: Working Group co-chairs National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Charles Bolden and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) Head Vladimir Popovkin met on October 4 at the International Astronautical Congress in Cape Town, South Africa. The agency heads shared updates on agency developments, reviewed ongoing successful cooperation (including the International Space Station program), and discussed potential future cooperative endeavors.

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 opened the second meeting of the Media Sub-Working Group in Moscow on October 3. The event was led by sub-working group heads Mikhail Gusman of the ITAR-TASS News Agency and Dawn McCall, Coordinator of International Information Programs at the Department of State. On October 4 in Moscow, the BPC Media Group announced a new, two-year exchange program that will offer 48 young journalists from Russia and the United States the chance to work in newsrooms and build mutual understanding. The program will be operated by the International Center for Journalists and the Moscow Union of Journalists, with additional funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Media Group held sessions on the Business of Media, the Evolving Practice and Profession of Journalism, and New Media Technologies, and met with journalism students from the Russian State Humanities University. In addition to the new young journalist exchange program, the delegates completed two other joint projects agreed upon in March: a round table discussion on ethics in journalism—with questions from Russian journalism students—and a new online platform, introduced by SocialSphere, that will allow the U.S. and Russian delegates of the Media Group to communicate and work on joint projects online in English and Russian. 

 Date: 10/03/2011 Description: U.S. and Russian delegates at the ITAR-TASS headquarters. © U.S. Embassy Moscow photo
U.S. and Russian delegates at the ITAR-TASS headquarters. (Photo Credit: U.S. Embassy Moscow)

  • As part of the Embassy’s year-long “American Seasons” series of cultural programs, Annie Leibovitz opened her exhibition “A Photographer’s Life” at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts on October 11. The exhibit of almost 200 photographs came to Moscow from St. Petersburg—where it attracted 400,000 visitors—and will be on display until January 15, 2012. In remarks at a reception at Spaso House in honor of Ms. Leibovitz, U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle noted that the exhibition represents the efforts of the Embassy to expose a younger generation of Russians to the breadth of American culture. 
  • James Chressanthis, known for his work on the films “Chicago,” “Ghost Whisperer,” “Reagans,” and “Life With Judy Garland,” visited Vladivostok, October 5-20, with the support of the U.S. Consulate General. During his stay, he conducted cinematography workshops and master classes for young local filmmakers. On October 12, he opened an exhibit entitled “The Face of Vladivostok,” a collection of over 20 photos he shot during his visit to the 2010 Vladivostok International Film Festival.
  • Christopher Merrill, Director of the International Writers Program at the University of Iowa, conducted a series of creative writing workshops for young writers and university students in Moscow, Kolomna, Tula, and St. Petersburg from October 14 to 20. Next summer, 10 Russian students will take part in a collaborative two-week writing program in Iowa that will bring young Russian and young American writers together to hone their creative skills. The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is providing funding to this program.
  • U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok hosted U.S. choreographer Soraya Lundy as a judge for a dance contest on October 8 and to conduct hip-hop master classes. Over 500 teenagers gathered in a Vladivostok club to compete in the contest in the presence of American judges—including Malik Coleman, a hip-hop dancer. The event attracted more than 30 contestants from outlying areas, including Ussuriysk, Khabarovsk, and Nakhodka. 

Date: 10/08/2011 Description: A dance contest participant demonstrates his skills. © U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok photo
A dance contest participant demonstrates his skills. (Photo Credit: U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok)

  •  U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Sheila Gwaltney opened the Sixth Annual AmFest American Movie Festival in Moscow on October 7. AmFest is an example of public-private partnership, with the Embassy working alongside both Russian and American partners. 20th Century Fox staged the Russian premier of their film “Another Earth” and invited director Mike Cahill to speak at the opening and answer questions from the audience on the second day of the festival. The Embassy sponsored a director, Joshua Safdie, and a curator from the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Claudette Godfrey, who came with a program of short films. AmFest received wide coverage in the Russian press.
  • American artist Kendal Henry gave presentations to over 200 students of art and design at several universities, October 10-13. He also led a team of local artists in a project to beautify the exterior and surrounding areas of a children’s hospital.

Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group:

  • On September 20, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) signed a Joint Statement on Strategic Directions of U.S.-Russian Nuclear Cooperation. 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 (IAEA) General Conference in Vienna, Austria. The signing represents a milestone for U.S.-Russian relations, recognizing that the United States and Russia have actively and consistently demonstrated joint leadership in the nuclear arena, particularly in the areas of nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, and counterterrorism. The Joint Statement outlines DOE and Rosatom plans to collaborate on commercial, security, and scientific cooperation and reaffirmed the intention to establish a framework to support the expansion of interaction between U.S. and Russian nuclear laboratories, institutes, and sites on the broad range of scientific and technical topics. Read the full press release here.
  • National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Deputy Administrator Anne Harrington met with Vladimir Malinin, First Deputy Head of the Federal Customs Service (FCS) of Russia on September 22, at FCS Headquarters in Moscow to celebrate a major milestone in NNSA-FCS cooperation. The two agencies recently completed, on schedule, the installation of radiation detection equipment at all 383 Russia border crossings, with the work and cost having been shared by both sides. They also participated 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. Read the full press release here.
  • The Joint Coordinating Committee to implement the U.S.-Russia Material Protection, Control, and Accounting Agreement, co-chaired by NNSA Assistant Deputy Administrator John Gerrard and Rosatom Director for the Department for Security of State Secrets and Information Anatoly Abalov, met in Baku, Azerbaijan, October 11-15. They discussed ongoing and planned cooperation to ensure the security of nuclear material within Russia.
  • DOE and Rosatom held the Joint Sustainability Working Group (JSWG) meeting in Moscow, October 6-7. Participants discussed the future focus of the Joint Material Protection Control and Accounting Transition Plan and developed new guidance for site and project teams.

Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group:

  • U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg supported the “Visit USA Roadshow” on September 26. Kicking off the promotional event, Acting Consul General Stephen Hubler addressed representatives of the Russian travel and tourism industry, explaining the U.S. government’s role in facilitating travel to the United States in support of President Obama’s National Export Initiative. In all, some 120 representatives of Russian travel agencies signed up for “Visit USA Roadshow” workshops and informative sessions on travel destinations in the United States.
  • Federal Highway Administration Administrator Victor Mendez traveled to Moscow the second week of October to give keynote remarks at the Second International Specialized Exhibition and the Conference on Progressive Technologies of the Winter Maintenance of Highways. He also held a series of discussions with Russian counterparts at the Ministry of Transportation on the development and implementation of standards that govern U.S. roads at the local, state, and federal levels.
  • Yekaterinburg Consul General Michael Reinert led a delegation of U.S. companies to Bashkortostan and Orenburg from October 3 to 7 in order to facilitate trade and investment opportunities there. Citibank, Emerson Process Management, Penetron-Russia, Spectro Technical Services, and McDonald’s were among the American companies that presented projects to the Ufa (Bashkortostan) Chamber of Commerce and to Orenburg’s branch of the Russian Union of Industrialists. As part of the tour, Consul General Reinert met with Bashkortostan President Rustem Khamitov to discuss cooperation between the United States and the Republic of Bashkortostan. 

Date: 10/03/2011 Description: U.S. Consul General Michael Reinert (left) meets with Bashkortostan President Rustem Khamitov. © U.S. Consulate General Yekaterinburg photo
U.S. Consul General Michael Reinert (left) meets with Bashkortostan President Rustem Khamitov. (Photo Credit: U.S. Consulate General Yekaterinburg)

  •  U.S. Consulate General Yekaterinburg facilitated the visit of a delegation from Chelyabinsk Oblast to the United States, October 3-6. Governor Yurevich headed a delegation of local businesspeople and Chelyabinsk State University staff and delivered a report on Chelyabinsk’s industrial partnerships at the annual meeting of the U.S.-Russia Business Council (USRBC) in Chicago. Following the USRBC event, Yurevich also held a number of meetings with representatives from the Chicago business community. The delegation continued to Silicon Valley where it visited Google and IT company incubators.

Civil Society Working Group: Eight Russian non-governmental professionals participated in an International Visitor Leadership Program on migration and human trafficking, with visits to Washington, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, October 1-23. The NGO representatives examined the best practices of migrant integration in the United States and discussed their areas of expertise with U.S. counterparts in the four cities. The program originated from discussions within the Sub-Working Group on Migration Issues, which concentrates on issues of migration flow assessment, migrant reception and integration, discouraging illegal labor practices, and forced labor and victim assistance.

Health Working Group:

  • U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius led a delegation to participate in the United Nations’ High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases in New York. Among other priorities, HHS used the 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. Click here for her remarks of September 19. In a related U.N. event, Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development (MOHSD) Deputy Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova noted a six-fold increase in health care funding over the past decade, and highlighted GOR programs designed to curb smoking and drinking and to encourage healthy lifestyles. Discussions of bilateral cooperation on tobacco control with the MOHSD were continued during a visit of HHS staff to Moscow in October.
  • The U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research launched a joint grant competition on HIV/AIDS prevention science on October 3. It will cover several areas: fundamental research, vaccine development, and social and behavioral science. Joint U.S.-Russian research teams will work on projects over a year, starting in the middle of 2012. The U.S. will allocate over $2 million for the program, while Russia will contribute $200,000. Please click here to see the competition’s announcement.
  • U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby participated in Russia’s “MDG-6 International Forum” (HIV/AIDS), which took place October 10-11. He was part of a panel discussion that focused on the eradication of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases among women and girls in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Meanwhile, USAID Assistant Administrator Paige Alexander and NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Development Associate Director Dr. William Martin participated in Russia’s “MDG-4-5 International Fora” (Maternal and Child Health) which took place October 10-12.

Military Cooperation Working Group:

  • Russian Chief of the General Staff, General Nikolai Makarov, traveled to the United States on September 30 to honor outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, on the occasion of his retirement from a distinguished career in the U.S. military. The two men served together as co-chairs of the BPC Military Cooperation Working Group, and General Makarov used the opportunity to meet the incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey. General Makarov’s visit highlighted the progress in U.S.-Russia military cooperation as well as the mutual desire for continuity going forward. 

Date: 09/30/2011 Description: General Makarov (left) with Admiral and Mrs. Mullen. © U.S. Department of Defense photo
General Makarov (left) with Admiral and Mrs. Mullen. (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Defense)

  •  The Commandant of the U.S. National War College, accompanied by two faculty members, visited the Russian Federation Military Academy of the General Staff, October 5-7. The visitors received a tour of the facilities, a briefing on the Academy’s curriculum, and had a round table discussion on the formation of Russian military doctrine and current reforms. U.S. delegation members provided their own briefing on the National War College’s curriculum.
  • The USS Fitzgerald made a port call to Vladivostok, October 1-4. The ship’s leadership came to Vladivostok to plan the joint U.S.-Russian anti-terrorism exercise “Pacific Eagle 2011.” The sailors onboard the Fitzgerald met Vladivostok residents through numerous cultural exchange activities, such as song-and-dance performances, outdoor games, tours of the ship, chess games, and a basketball match. 

Date: 10/01/2011 Description: Chess matches between U.S. sailors and Russian kids. © U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok photo
Chess matches between U.S. sailors and Russian kids. (Photo Credit: U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok)

  • On October 18, The U.S. and Russian Navies successfully completed the three-day, bilateral exercise “Pacific Eagle 2011,” improving maritime relations between our nations and enhancing interoperability. This bilateral event fostered cooperation in the event of future anti-terrorism and counter-piracy operations. The navy vessels included exercises on division tactics, gunnery, and maneuvering; training on replenishment at sea, searches, and seizures; and flag hoisting drills. 

 Date: 10/18/2011 Description: Scenes from Exercise ''Pacific Eagle 2011.'' © U.S. Navy photo
Scenes from Exercise "Pacific Eagle 2011." (Photo Credit: U.S. Navy)

Science and Technology Working Group: The U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) organized a Technology Entrepreneurship Workshop in partnership with the Skolkovo Foundation (Energy Efficiency Cluster) and the Russian Federal Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE) in Moscow, October 3-5. This was CRDF’s first joint event with the Skolkovo Foundation. CRDF combined U.S. governmental support with significant cost-sharing contributions from the partners. Among other activities, the workshop provided one-on-one mentoring sessions by five prominent U.S. business experts. It concluded with a business presentation competition in which the winners were awarded travel grants for a business trip to the United States sometime before the end of 2011.

Environment Working Group:

  • On September 24, U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle participated in a Tiger Day celebration at the Moscow Zoo. He presented a new U.S. semi-postal stamp—special postage stamps that also raise funds for charitable causes—which supports endangered species protection through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and took part in the issuance of a tiger postcard created by the Russian Postal Service in support of wildlife conservation. The U.S. Embassy, Russian Post Office, and the Moscow Zoo partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the World Wildlife Fund, the Amur Foundation, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for the event and related outreach efforts. Both the Moscow festivities and a similar event in Vladivostok were covered widely in the Russian media.  

 Date: 09/24/2011 Description: Scenes from Tiger Day at the Moscow Zoo. © U.S. Embassy Moscow photo
Scenes from Tiger Day at the Moscow Zoo. (Photo Credit: U.S. Embassy Moscow)

  •  The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) co-organized an October 7 workshop in Moscow on black carbon. The workshop examined the link between black carbon—considered a major contributor to climate change 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 shared their countries’ experiences in reducing diesel emissions. Russian and American participants discussed the science of black carbon, and potential future cooperation on mitigation projects through the Arctic Council framework, including the $5 million U.S.-funded Arctic Black Carbon Initiative, and the Arctic Council’s Project Support Instrument.

Energy Working Group:

  • On September 29, Vice Governor of St. Petersburg, S.A. Kozyrev, and Honeywell International Vice President Michael Taylor signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop a cooperative initiative to promote energy efficiency in public institutions in St. Petersburg, Russia. Under the framework of the Energy Working Group, both parties will now collaborate to prepare a general proposal to implement an energy saving pilot project in a public health care institution and two public education institutions in St. Petersburg. The MOU also calls for an energy survey of the public institutions in order to develop a broader program of actions related to energy saving and energy efficiency. The next steps will include identifying specific pilot sites, compiling data, and completing facility audits.
  • Organized under the Energy Working Group’s Energy Efficiency Sub-Working Group, USAID supported an Energy Round Table held in Moscow on October 24 (during Russia’s Energy Week). The organizers were the United States Energy Association and the Russian Energy Agency, with additional support from the U.S.-Russian Business Council and the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service. Participating Russian and American energy companies discussed automation and energy efficient solutions for homes, buildings, and industries; commercial and private energy distribution and control solutions; and how to translate energy challenges into opportunities with an energy performance contract.

Emergency Situations Working Group:

  • From August 27 to September 2, both FEMA and EMERCOM sent representatives to observe the NATO Civil Emergency Preparedness Exercise, “CODRII 2011,” in and around Chisinau, Moldova. “CODRII 2011” was organized by NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center and involved a simulated earthquake with resulting victims, damage to critical infrastructure, chemical accidents, and a radiological incident. Approximately 1,300 civilian and military Moldovan and international participants from over 20 NATO and partner countries participated, making this the largest exercise of its kind that NATO has ever conducted. FEMA and EMERCOM’s participation fulfilled a joint work plan goal laid out on July 18 at the Working Group’s annual meeting in Boston. 

Date: 08/27/2011 Description: The CODRII 2011 exercise while underway in Moldova. © NATO photo
The CODRII 2011 exercise while underway in Moldova. (Photo Credit: NATO)

  • On September 21-23, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) held the “Fifth Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum” in San Francisco as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Emergency Preparedness Working Group. Over 60 participants from 18 member economies participated in the Forum, which was chaired by FEMA Deputy Administrator Tim Manning and focused on public-private partnerships. The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) sent a five-member delegation to the APEC event, building upon previous joint efforts with the United States in multilateral organizations. The “Sixth Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum” will be held in Vladivostok, Russia in fall 2012, with a focus on national crisis management centers and their integration into international networks.

Related Events

Health: On November 15, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will hold a meeting in Moscow between U.S. and Russian representatives from the BPC Health Working Group and interested U.S. and Russian stakeholders outside government. It will provide an opportunity to share the participants’ collaborative experiences in health, and develop recommendations for new public-private partnership activities. Major topics of this meeting will cover scientific research, regulatory issues, strategic resource allocation, and healthy lifestyles and disease prevention for young people.

Civil Society and Innovation:

  • A Memorandum of Cooperation between USAID and Cisco Systems was signed October 13 establishing a $50 million framework for their work together to advance and promote the use of information technology by civil society, government, and the broader public. The signing took place during USAID’s “Conference on Public-Private Partnerships Addressing Development Challenges” at Spaso House, attended by 125 private sector, civil society, and government leaders. The event featured speakers from Citibank, the Central Bank of Russia, and Johnson & Johnson, all of which have partnered with USAID in Russia. Please click here to read more at USAID Assistant Administrator Paige Alexander’s Blog.
  • Teams from American University and Russian internet company Yandex won the top prizes in Washington, D.C. and Moscow at the first U.S.-Russia Codeathon, a weekend-long, trans-Atlantic gathering of volunteer computer programmers and civil society experts that took place in both cities, September 24-25. The American University team produced a unique search tool capable of connecting citizens to legislation relevant to their interests and helping them to understand it. In Moscow, the Yandex team created “Fraudless E-Vote,” a cell phone application that allows voter ballots to be tracked and verified anonymously via bar code scans. Part of the dialogue between U.S. and Russian organizations that is being fostered by the BPC, this USAID-supported event asked software designers and computer science students to solve challenges posed by civil society groups and related to open governance in both countries.

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