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Diplomacy in Action

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

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
February 1, 2013


Inside this issue…

Featured Successes

Diplomacy on Ice

At the suggestion of Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group (BDERWG) members, a Russian government team on March 3 hosted a hockey game against the U.S. Embassy team at Luzhniki Stadium, home of Moscow Dynamo and—during the recent NHL lockout—Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin. The teams traded goalies at the start of the game in the spirit of friendly competition and swapped five players at the end of the second period in order to finish the game with bi-national teams in the third period. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular Division and the Presidential Security Service hosted a second, equally successful game. While the Russia side won both games, they were gracious hosts, and the events fostered a spirit of goodwill.

Date: 03/03/2013 Description: The U.S. and Russian teams following their March 2013 match at Luzhniki Stadium.  - State Dept Image

BDERWG Coordinators’ Meeting Finalizes 2013-2014 Work Plan

On March 18, the BDERWG coordinators, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael Camuñez and Deputy Minister of Economic Development Aleksey Likhachev, finalized the group’s two-year work plan. The plan lays the groundwork for both governments to continue working with the private sector on strategic commercial projects and to address significant market access issues.

Date: 03/18/2013 Description: Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael Camuñez and Deputy Minister of Economic Development Aleksey Likhachev exchange a hand shake at the March coordinators' meeting. - State Dept Image

Both sides agreed that future efforts will seek to broaden bilateral trade and investment, utilizing trade and business development missions and outreach activities in specific industry sectors and regions; for example, the U.S Department of Commerce will lead a healthcare and medical technology trade mission to Russia in early June 2013. In addition, the BDERWG will work to eliminate barriers to trade between the U.S. and Russia through efforts such as a recently launched project on standards cooperation.

Education, Culture, Sports, and Media

Elite U.S. Fencer Shares Power of Sport

American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, while visiting Moscow for an international tournament in late March, attended a conference to advocate for women’s empowerment and social tolerance. Ms. Muhammad shared her personal story—as a practicing Muslim, she was first drawn to fencing because it allowed her wear the hijab and a standard team uniform simultaneously—and initiated discussions with Russian audiences about tolerance, stereotypes, and advocacy for women and girls.

Date: 03/2013 Description: American saber fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad (foreground) trains with the Russian Paralympic team in Moscow. - State Dept Image

Later in the day, Ms. Muhammad worked out with the Russian Paralympic fencing team, first learning the rules of seated fencing before trying her hand against the Russian champions. Ms. Muhammad is the first practicing Muslim woman to represent the United States in international athletic competition and serves as a member of the Secretary’s Council on Empowering Women’s and Girls’ Sport.

Russian Indigenous Leaders Visit the United States

A group of Russian indigenous leaders—including conservationists, educators, government officials, and hunters—traveled to Oregon, New Mexico, New York, and Washington, D.C. in late January to explore the topic, “Building Sustainable Communities with Indigenous People: Supporting Equitable Use of Common Resources.” As part of the International Visitor Leadership Program, the group examined sustainable land management practices and cooperation with nontraditional coalitions to preserve economic and cultural Native American traditions in the United States, while also sharing best practices and establishing professional connections with colleagues and counterparts in the United States.

Date: 03/2013 Description: A Russian delegation member explores the caves at Bandelier National Monument near Santa Fe, New Mexico.  © Photo credit: Institute of International Education

The visit began with an orientation and welcome in Washington, D.C., where the group learned about the legal and regulatory context that governs the federal-Native American relationship and visited the National Museum of the American Indian. While in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the visitors visited the Jicarilla Apache Game and Fish Department to explore Native Americans’ agriculture and natural resources; they also examined educational programs that incorporate Native American tradition with modern standards. In upstate New York, the group learned about the international agreements that govern the Akwesasne Reservation, which spans the U.S.-Canadian border.

Senior Smithsonian Institute Specialist Shares Her Experiences in Cultural and Historical Preservation

Amy Ballard, senior historic preservation specialist at the Smithsonian Institute traveled to Vladivostok and Khabarovsk March 17-24, sharing her experiences in the field of cultural and historic preservation. Her presentations fostered lively discussion about museum practices, international cultural exchanges, budgets for cultural institutions, preservation of paper documents and photographs, and archaeological surveys, and her visit provided an excellent foundation for expanded cooperation between Russian and American museums.

Date: 03/17/2013 Description: Amy Ballard explains the history of the National Mall construction. - State Dept Image

“Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin” Performs in the Urals

The Springfield, Missouri indie-pop band “Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin” made a two-day visit to Yekaterinburg to perform at the Old New Rock Festival on January 13. The band also met with a local indie-rock group, Sansara, with whom they plan to maintain a connection through remixing and other future projects.

Date: 01/13/2013 Description: Members of Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin perform at the Old New Rock Festival in Yekaterinburg. - State Dept Image

Russian Students and Teachers Compete for Trip to Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Consulate General in Yekaterinburg announced in January 2013 a new competition for teams of English as a second language (ESL) students and teachers to win a trip to Washington, D.C. Forty-five teams from more than 30 cities and towns in the consular district submitted videos detailing proposed project plans, which highlight one element of the Bilateral Presidential Commission to be implemented during a trip to Washington, D.C. After their travel to the United States, the winning group will develop and deliver a presentation for local audiences at the American Center. The video submissions can be viewed at, and the winning team will be announced in May.

Broadway Comes to the Russian Far East

During March 9-14, Broadway jazz singer Ty Stephens and his band, SoulJazz, toured around Primorskiy Kray and Sakhalin, performing four concerts, offering master classes, and interviewing with local press outlets. The tour was marked by its impressive youth turnout, including Russian Naval cadets greeting the American musicians aboard the tall ship Nadezhda and nearly 100 attendees at the master class at Sakhalin Art College. Mr. Stephens also performed several classic jazz standards with three young local singers.

Date: 03/09/2013 Description: Ty Stephens (R) improvises with young singer Sofiya Seleznyova (L) from Spassk-Dalniy. - State Dept Image

University Representatives Mingle in Vladivostok

Vladivostok State University for Economics and Service hosted an education fair on March 15-16 to introduce nine U.S. universities to prospective Russian students. A reception brought together U.S. admissions officers, guests from local universities, and U.S. government exchange program alumni.

Date: 03/15/2013 Description: A group photo from the reception hosted by Vladivostok Public Affairs Officer Dae Kim. - State Dept Image

Ambassador Discusses Foreign Policy at European University in St. Petersburg

On March 18, Ambassador Michael McFaul delivered the lecture, “Foreign Policy in the Second Obama Administration,” to a crowd of more than 150 professors and students at the European University in St. Petersburg. The Ambassador highlighted President Obama’s focus on “win-win” strategies, mutual respect, and cooperation on transnational issues. The full presentation is available online at

Date: 03/18/2013 Description: Ambassador McFaul (L) addresses a full house at the European University in St. Petersburg. - State Dept Image

The European University is an independent, non-governmental educational and research institution established in 1994 to support the transformation of social sciences in post-Soviet Russia.

Tribute to American Composer John Cage Opens in St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg’s Museum of History on February 15 celebrated the 100th anniversary of famous American composer John Cage’s birth with the opening of a new exhibit, “John Cage: Silent Presence.” The exhibition features recordings of Cage’s compositions, original music scores with Cage’s own form of musical notation, videos of dances choreographed to Cage’s music, and several works by artists who influenced or were influenced by Cage. Proarte—a St. Petersburg arts organization—and the National Council for Contemporary Arts, in cooperation with the John Cage Foundation and the Merce Cunningham Foundation in New York, organized the exhibition.

Renowned American Organist Plays St. Petersburg

An American concert organist and professor at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Alan Morrison visited St. Petersburg February 20-23. Mr. Morrison performed before a capacity crowd in the St. Petersburg State Rimskiy-Korsakov Conservatory’s Glazunov Concert Hall and was the first American organist to teach master classes at the conservatory.

Date: 02/20/2013 Description: Alan Morrison (L) shares his expertise in St. Petersburg. - State Dept Image

Christopher Merrill Inspires Young Writers, Promotes Book Wings

Christopher Merrill, director of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, traveled to Yekaterinburg, Moscow, and St. Petersburg in early February to conduct writing workshops with aspiring young writers, English as a foreign language teachers, and students interested in undergraduate study in the United States. Mr. Merrill outlined exchange opportunities for high school students through the Between the Lines program and, with local exchange partners, brainstormed ways to reach youth audiences outside of Russia’s major cities.

Date: 03/14/2013 Description: Russian students listen to a lecture by University of Iowa's Christopher Merrill. - State Dept Image

At the Moscow Art Theater (MXAT), Mr. Merrill met with Russian theater legend Anatoliy Smelianskiy to lay out the next steps for Book Wings, a three-year collaboration between MXAT and the University of Iowa and sponsored by Embassy Moscow as part of the Bilateral Presidential Commission. The project features six original plays, performed in Russian and English by student actors in Moscow and Iowa City on March 14.

Triumph of Jazz International Music Festival in Moscow and St. Petersburg

Russian-American saxophonist and bandleader Igor Butman organized the Triumph of Jazz International Music Festival in Moscow (February 22-23) and, for the first time, in St. Petersburg (February 24-25). Mr. Butman brought to the St. Petersburg festival famed American performers, including the Lee Ritenour Ban, Roy Haynes and the Fountain of Youth Band, and the Bill Charlap Trio.

Date: 02/2013 Description: A promotional poster for the Triumph of Jazz International Music Festival. - State Dept Image

While in St. Petersburg, Mr. Charlap also offered an open master class for young Russian musicians and students from the Mussorgskiy Musical College and the Academy of Culture.

Ambassador Holds Open Forum at Mayakovskiy Library

On March 15, Ambassador Michael McFaul addressed a crowd of more than 225 people at the Mayakovskiy Library in St. Petersburg. The Ambassador discussed a wide range of topics including American film, the Magnitskiy case, fair elections, the decline of U.S. government spending on certain educational programs, his thoughts on St. Petersburg, and the expansion of bilateral investment.

Date: 03/15/2013 Description: Ambassador Michael McFaul addresses an attentive audience at the Mayakovskiy Library in St. Petersburg. - State Dept Image

Consul General Speaks with Russia’s Future Diplomats

Consul General Bruce Turner met with 40 students enrolled in the graduate diplomacy program at St. Petersburg State University’s School of International Relations on March 26. He discussed the State Department’s selection process, training, and assignment processes and how they differ from those in other countries. Consul General Turner also answered questions about the role of diplomats in developing bilateral relations, the current state of U.S.-Russian relations, and the upcoming G20 Summit in St. Petersburg.

Date: 03/26/2013 Description: Consul General Bruce Turner meets with graduate students in St. Petersburg. - State Dept Image

Texas Fiddles Tour Russia

As part of the Second Festival of Traditional American Music in mid-March, the Quebe Sisters Band brought their blend of western swing, vintage country, bluegrass, jazz, and Texas fiddle to audiences in St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg, Chelyabink, and Moscow. The band concluded their tour with a performance at Spaso House that had the audience on the dance floor.

Date: 03/2013 Description: The Texas natives of the Quebe Sisters Band perform in St. Petersburg. - State Dept Image

American Contemporary Ballet at Mikhailovskiy

On March 30-31, the Mikhailovskiy Theater in St. Petersburg hosted three sold-out performances of the Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s groundbreaking and eclectic blend of classical ballet, jazz, and ethnic dance. The theater intends to feature a strong, multicultural American presence in its upcoming Mikhailovskiy Ballet Festival.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Makes Russian Debut

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet presented three one-act ballets at the prestigious Russian Academic Youth Theater and offered a master class for professional dancers of the Moskva ballet company on March 5-6. The American company’s tour—organized and funded by Embassy Moscow in support of the BPC—received significant press coverage, and Russian Ambassador at Large for the BPC Vladimir Vinokurov attended a performance.

Date: 03/05/2013 Description: Dancers in the Aspen Santa Fe ballet company made their Russian debut in early March. - State Dept Image


Planning Wildlife Conservation Activities

In February, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service international affairs specialist Steve Kohl traveled to Moscow to discuss cooperative plans for 2013. Mr. Kohl met with representatives of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and the Russian Academy of Sciences to lay out the work conducted under the U.S.-Russia Environmental Agreement, including field work and information exchange. Other participants included U.S. and Russian federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, Native representatives, and university researchers.

Marine Mammal Research and Management

During March 4-8, eight Russian marine mammal biologists met with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Seattle, Washington to review cooperative research and management efforts regarding seals, whales, sea otters, and Pacific walruses. The group will soon produce a record of the meeting detailing the marine mammal research activities planned for 2013-2014. Joint collaborative studies are critical to monitoring the status of shared populations of marine mammals in the Arctic region. The meeting, held under the auspices of the U.S.-Russia Environmental Agreement and the BPC’s Environment Working Group, was the 22nd meeting of the Marine Mammal Working Group since its formation in 1973.

Date: 03/04/2013 Description: Participants in the March 2013 Marine Mammal Working Group meeting in Seattle, Washington. - State Dept Image

Bilateral Cooperation on Management of Legacy Waste

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment hosted expert from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 12-13 to discuss approaches to the management of legacy contaminated sites in Russia and the United States and the development of new Russian legislation addressing management of environmental damage caused by industrial activities.

EPA experts shared their 30 years of experience in implementing Superfund and Brownfields programs, including an overview of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act; the development of the Superfund trust fund; enforcement and cost recovery; planning and implementing cleanup actions, case studies of actual remediation projects, use of innovative technologies and practices in environmental cleanups; and the role of local communities in the Superfund cleanup process. Russian experts presented their successes in cleaning up former military bases at Franz Josef Land and remediation of sites near Lake Baikal and around Nizhniy Novgorod.

Date: 03/12/2013 Description: Cooperation between U.S. EPA and the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) to address legacy contaminated sites.  Meetings in MNRE, Moscow,  March 12-13, 2013. © EPA photo

Joint Fire Management Training

During March 17-23, U.S. Forest Service (USFS) fire and aviation management specialists participated in joint training in Pushkino, Moscow Oblast with the Russian Aerial Forest Fire Center, a unit of the Russian Federal Forestry Agency. The training consisted of regional-level aerial observers and smokejumpers from regional-level forestry agencies throughout Russia. USFS representatives provided training sessions on the U.S. Incident Command System, fire prevention, and aerial suppression techniques. Representatives of the Russian Aerial Forest Fire Center will visit the United States this summer to continue to build upon mutually beneficial cooperation on wildfire management.

Scientists Exchange Information on Combating Invasive Forest Pest

In January, under the auspices of the Environment Working Group, the U.S. Forest Service hosted a delegation of four Russian scientists to exchange information on the emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive forest pest prevalent in the U.S. and Russia. During the exchange, scientists shared valuable information on the differences and similarities in the spread of EAB in their countries. The Russian scientists also had an opportunity to view U.S. techniques for survey, research, control, and outreach activities to combat the EAB, and they received research protocols that can be useful in controlling this rapidly spreading pest.

Date: 01/2013 Description: Dr. Jian Duan, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), explains his research on EAB parasitoids to Russian scientists inside the ARS Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit's quarantine facility in Delaware. - State Dept Image

Research Cooperation on Genetic Verification to Track Timber

On December 4-5, 2012, the U.S. Forest Service and Russian counterparts from the Environmental Working Group met in Ahrensburg, Germany for a two-day workshop at the von Thuenen Institute to assess the progress of pilot programs in the Russian Far East and Siberia working to identify appropriate genetic markers for potential use in DNA-based timber tracking. With participation from scientists from the United States, Germany, and Russia, the workshop also provided an opportunity to exchange information and expertise, as well as discussion of opportunities for outreach to a wider audience of stakeholders in Russia.

Summary of Symposium on Black Carbon Now Available

In October 2012, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences held a bilateral symposium on environmental problems caused by black carbon, with more than 50 Russian and U.S. scientists and specialists in attendance. Discussions reflected considerable interest in further development of cooperation between scientists in both countries, and enhancement of cooperation may make it possible to significantly improve data exchanges, as well as techniques and methods of observation and control. The full summary from the symposium can be accessed through the Russian Academy of Sciences website.


Health and Food Safety

During March 19-22, Sam Alcaine, a microbiologist specializing in food safety and rapid detection of food-borne illness, shared his expertise with a variety of audiences, including children, in a week-long educational program on food safety standards in the United States. Mr. Alcaine visited cities including Yekaterinburg and Tyumen, emphasizing the link between ensuring food safety and overall health. Mr. Alcaine will also participate in a May conference in Yekaterinburg, which will include local schools and universities, as well as meetings with officials from Perm and Tyumen.

Date: 03/19/2013 Description: Sam Alcaine (L) presents on food safety issues to a group in the Urals. - State Dept Image


University Seminar on Intellectual Property Rights Protection

On March 18, Intellectual Property Rights Attaché Donald Townsend, representing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, participated in a seminar on the investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes and combating internet piracy hosted by the Kazak Federal University’s law department. Mr. Townsend and colleagues from the Department of Justice delivered a presentation titled, “Internet Piracy, the U.S. Approach to Addressing Online Copyright Violations, and U.S.-Russia Cooperative Efforts.” The seminar was attended by law students and faculty from the university, and representatives from the local Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) cybercrime department and from the Kazan technology park—analogous to Skolkovo near Moscow—also participated in the roundtable discussion.

Date: 03/18/2013 Description: Intellectual Property Rights Attaché Donald Townsend addresses a seminar at Kazan Federal University. - State Dept Image

Rule of Law

Ambassador Rapp Shares Experience Prosecuting Human Rights Abuses

Ambassador at Large Stephen Rapp addressed a group of students, faculty, and alumni at the Pericles American Business and Legal Education Project, sharing his experiences prosecuting human rights abuses in international criminal courts. Currently the head of the U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice, Ambassador Rapp drew on his time as a prosecutor at tribunals in Rwanda and Sierra Leone to illustrate the challenges of holding national leaders accountable for crimes against humanity committed at their instruction.

Date: 03/2013 Description: Ambassador at Large Stephen Rapp addresses a group at Pericles. - State Dept Image

In Other News…

Welcome, Ambassador Vinokurov!

Ambassador at Large for the Bilateral Presidential Commission Vladimir Vinokurov assumed his new position at the start of 2013. His history of promoting cooperation in the U.S.-Russian relationship will help ensure the BPC remains on a solid foundation in the years to come. As part of a distinguished career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Vinokurov served as Consul General in San Francisco for the past five years. In March, Ambassador Vinokurov traveled to Washington to join the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group co-coordinators, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael Camuñez and Deputy Minister of Economic Develeopment Aleksey Likhachev, in finalizing the group’s work plan for 2013-2014. He also traveled to Washington state to support the preservation of a monument to famous Russian aviator Valery Chkalov.

Date: 2013 Description: Russian Ambassador at Large for the Bilateral Presidential Commission, Vladimir Vinokurov. - State Dept Image

U.S.-Russia Cooperation at #СШАиРФ

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow dedicated the month of February to highlighting cooperation between the United States and Russia. Each day, the Embassy’s Twitter feed carried an example of cooperation, along with the hashtags #USandRF and #СШАиРФ.

Date: 2013 Description: Logo: U.S. and Russia flags in gears. © U.S. Embassy Moscow photo

Ambassador McFaul highlighted the complete list of examples in a March 1 blog post, where he wrote:

The list is by no means exhaustive and is not meant to be. I hope, though, that it gives you an idea of the broad spectrum of areas in which our two countries can work together […] Individually, they bring our countries and people together, and collectively they demonstrate how much can be accomplished when we cooperate, impelling us to look for more ways of doing so.

Ambassador Joins Commemoration of 70th Anniversary of Battle of Stalingrad

Ambassador Michael McFaul and Defense Attaché General Peter Zwack commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad on February 2, honoring the historic cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union in World War II. Ambassador McFaul and General Zwack laid wreaths in remembrance of the lives lost during the siege and battle to liberate the city, and they later met with Russian veterans to express gratitude and respect for their service.

Date: 02/02/2013 Description: Ambassador Michael McFaul (left) and General Peter Zwack (center) commemorate the Battle of Stalingrad. - State Dept Image

Celebrating International Women’s Day

In honor of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day in Russia, Ambassador Michael McFaul and his spouse, Donna Norton, hosted a reception featuring a performance by opera star and Bolshoy Theater laureate Svetlana Kasyan. The guest list featured prominent women in Russian business, civil society, education, culture, and the media; all guests were asked to bring along a person whom they wanted to inspire.

Date: 03/2013 Description: Russian opera singer Svetlana Kasyan performs at Spaso House in honor of International Women's Day. - State Dept Image

Ambassador McFaul highlighted the significance of women’s participation in public life and how women’s achievements continue to improve society, Ms. Norton focused on the importance of mentorship for young women. The reception also included a photo gallery showcasing notable American women and their accomplishments.

Consul General Addresses Woman of the Year Forum

On March 1, Consul General Bruce Turner, along with St. Petersburg Governor Georgiy Poltavchenko and the Dutch Consul General, Jennes de Mol, participated in the opening ceremonies for St. Petersburg’s Woman of the Year festivities.

Date: 03/01/2013 Description: Consul General Bruce Turner (center) addresses the Woman of the Year forum. - State Dept Image

Events Calendar

April 3-5

The Science and Technology Working Group hold its fourth plenary session in Moscow, including meetings of the four sub-working groups on nanotechnology, climate science, natural hazards, and enhancing cooperation.

April 3-7

The American Independent Film Festival, KinoFEUS, will be held at the Korshunov Theater in Dalnegork, Primorskiy Kray.

April 4-8

The American bluegrass band, Horseshoe Road, will perform concerts in Primorskiy Kray and Kamchatka.

April 8-11

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Publics Affairs Tara Sonenshine and Special Presidential Representative for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Svydkoy will chair a meeting of the Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group in Moscow.

April 8-10

More than 30 Russian participants will attend the Civil Nuclear Energy sub-working group’s experts meeting in Washington, D.C.

April 15-18

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will conduct a best practices seminar in Murmansk on emissions inventories for black carbon. The session is part of the EPA’s project to reduce black carbon from diesel resources in the Russian Arctic under the Arctic Black Carbon Initiative.

April 21-26

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy Andrea Lockwood will visit Moscow and St. Petersburg and will participate in the American Chamber of Commerce’s Investment Conference on April 24. Ms. Lockwood will meet with Ministry of Energy officials to explore ways to expand cooperation under the Energy Working Group.

April 24-26

The Innovation Working Group will hold its third plenary meeting in Washington, D.C., including off-site visits to D.C.-area startups and Maryland’s biotech corridor.

April 25

A delegation from the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade will visit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to learn about technology transfer and innovative research. The delegation will meet with representatives of the Clinical Center and National Center for Advancing Translational Research Sciences to discuss translational research at NIH.

April 30

Under Secretary of Defense (Policy) James Miller and Deputy Minister of Defense Anatoliy Antonov will chair a meeting on the Enhanced Missile Defense sub-working group in Brussels to discuss changes in U.S. missile defense plans.

April 30-May 2

A delegation from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research will visit NIH to discuss the potential for expanding their current parallel funding programs with the Office of AIDS Research.

May 4-7

Nineteen Russian clinical pediatric researchers will participate in the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Washington, D.C.

May 7-8

The Health Working Group’s Scientific Research sub-working group will convene the second iteration of the Scientific Forum in Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences in Washington, D.C.

May 12-18

American filmmaker and journalist Jon Alpert will visit universities in Primorskiy Kray, Khabarovsk, and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast to give lectures, presentations, and master classes for journalism students and documentary filmmakers. He will hold a discussion for the young audiences interested in the topic.

May 15

The United States’ Second Line of Defense Program and Russian Federal Customs Service (FCS) will hold their seventh joint field exercise in Kaliningrad to test and improve FCS officers’ response to radiation alarms and to foster cooperation between FCS and other responsible agencies.

May 15-17

Representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment—along with officials from Nizhniy Novgorod and the Republic of Buryatia—will participate in the 2013 Brownfields Conference in Atlanta, Georgia at the invitation of the EPA. After the conference, the Russian delegation has been invited to additional discussions at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C. with U.S. technical experts.

May 17-27

World renowned public artist “Specter” (Gabriel Reese) will visit Primorskiy Kray to work with local artists and design students.

May 20-22

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan and Deputy Energy Minister Anton Inyustin will chair a meeting of the Energy Efficiency sub-working group in Washington, D.C. and finalize the group’s 2013 work plan. Deputy Minister Inyustin will also participate in several site visits, including a possible trip to Austin, Texas to discuss a new city-to-city partnership.

May 21

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova will chair the Health Working Group’s third plenary session in Geneva. They will also hold a separate bilateral meeting.

May 28-30

The Counternarcotics Working Group will hold a plenary meeting in Sochi.

May 30

The U.S.-Russian Standards and Conformity Assessment Event will be held at the World Trade Center Moscow.

June 3-6

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey is scheduled to conduct an official visit during which he and Chief of the Russian General Staff Army General Valeriy Gerasimov will convene the next meeting of the Military Cooperation Working Group.

June 3-7

The Department of Commerce will lead a Healthcare Trade Mission to Moscow and St. Petersburg to introduce U.S. healthcare industry exporters to prospective business partners.

June 5-7

The International Drug Enforcement Conference will be held in Moscow.

June 5-7

The U.S. - Russia Polar Bear Agreement Commission will hold its annual meeting in St. Petersburg. Participants will review information presented by the Agreement’s Scientific Working Group about abundance and trends of the Alaska-Chukotka polar bear population and the yearly quota for subsistence harvest.

June 10-14

The Environment Working Group’s Forestry sub-group will convene its annual meeting with the Russian Federal Forestry Agency in St. Petersburg. The group will discuss issues of mutual interest—such as forest health, sustainable forest management, and forestry research—and explore areas for potential cooperation in the coming year.

June 24-25

The Emergency Situations Working Group will hold its fourth plenary session in Washington, D.C., chaired by Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate and the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.

June 24-25

The Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security Working Group will hold a plenary session in St. Petersburg.

June 24-28

The Sukachev Institute of Forest will hold a seminar at which delegates will present research on sustainable forest management, conducted as part of the Institute’s collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service. The research will also be published as a booklet of abstracts.

Background on the BPC: In 2009, President Obama and then-President Medvedev created the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission to improve coordination between our countries, identify areas of cooperation, and pursue joint projects and actions that strengthen strategic stability, international security, economic well-being, and the development of ties between the Russian and American peoples. The BPC now consists of 20 working groups and numerous sub-working groups. President Putin and President Obama have both re-affirmed their commitment to the BPC.

Please visit the BPC website: or contact:

The BPC’s 20 Working Groups are:

•Agriculture •Arms Control and International Security •Business Development and Economic Relations •Counternarcotics •Counterterrorism •Defense Relations •Education, Culture, Sports, and Media •Emergency Situations •Energy •Environment •Health •Innovation •Intelligence •Military Cooperation •Military Technical Cooperation •Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Security •Rule of Law •Science and Technology •Space Cooperation • Steering

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