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Diplomacy in Action

Education, Culture, and Sports: Past Events


 Youth Orchestra in RussiaDate: 07/17/2013 Description: Joshua Bell and Valery Gergiev with NYO-USA. - State Dept Image
Carnegie Hall's National Youth Orchestra from the United States of America (NYO-USA), under the direction of Maestro Valery Gergiev, performed before a packed house at the Moscow "Tchaikovsky" Conservatory July 16. The orchestra was joined by acclaimed American violinist Joshua Bell, who is himself an alumnus of an American-Soviet youth orchestra program.

Carnegie Hall's artistic and executive director, Sir Clive Gillinison, explained that the musicians auditioned online, allowing his team to conduct a truly nationwide search for the finest young instrumentalists. The group of gifted students ranged in age from sixteen to nineteen and hailed from 42 U.S. states. But the students were not selected for talent alone: the orchestra members were chosen for their maturity, commitment to music and studies, and their willingness to represent the United States as part of this prestigious initiative.

On July 18, the NYO-USA took the stage of Mariinsky II, a new opera house opposite the original Mariinsky Theater. The NYO-USA was the first American orchestra to play in the new venue, which recently opened in May 2013. The highlight of the concert program was the world premiere of the composition “Magiya” written by the young American composer Sean Shepherd especially for the inauguration of the National Youth Orchestra. Shepherd says that the title and the nature of his opus were inspired by conductor Valery Gergiev’s work and various masterpieces of Russian music. The concert in St. Petersburg was included into the Stars of the White Nights Festival, one of the most famous musical festivals in Russia.

Russia was identified as the site of the NYO-USA's international debut because of the opportunity for the orchestra and Carnegie Hall to contribute to the bilateral relationship and deepen ties between the United States and Russia. Coverage of the NYO-USA began in the United States ahead of the orchestra's performances in Purchase, New York and Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center. Russian media featured the orchestra's debut in Russia prominently in print and on radio and television.

Texmaniacs Continue Russia TourDate: 2013 Description: Texmaniacs perform with Russian folksingers in Vologda. - State Dept Image
The Grammy Award-winning Tejano band, Los Texmaniacs, continued their Russian tour under the auspices of the BPC’s Education, Culture, Sports and Media Working Group (ECSMWG) with performances before capacity audiences in Kaliningrad, Vologda and Cherepovets.

Of particular note was the event in Vologda, where the band participated in the “Fourth International Festival of American Folk Music in Northwest Russia.” The festival also featured a popular troupe of Russian folksingers, who joined the Texmaniacs on stage at one point, creating a musical dialogue between the countries and cultures.

Fulbright Programs in Russia
The fourth Fulbright Community College Administrators Seminar took place in late spring. A group of U.S. community college administrators from Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, Texas and California spent nearly two weeks in Russia meeting with education leaders and officials, visiting universities, technical and vocational schools, and sharing best practices and models for workforce development and access to higher education.

Their meetings resulted in the signing of a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) on technical innovation and training, including two MOUs between Broward Community College in Florida and Kazan National Technological Research University.

In addition, the Fulbright program in Moscow partnered with Moscow State University and the Higher School of Economics to develop and implement a number of summer schools within the framework of the BPC’s ECSMWG. Amongst these programs was a Fulbright Summer School for Sustainable Development in Moscow June 23 – 30, hosted by the Higher School of Economics; a Fulbright Summer School in the Humanities held at Moscow State University June 24 – 28 focused on the topic “Academic Writing: Russian and International Experience,” which examined adapting pedagogical methods and materials used at U.S. universities to the Russian cultural and educational environment; and a Fulbright Summer School in partnership with the Agroengineering University and hosted by the Moscow National University of Food Production.

Media Sub-Working Group MeetsDate: 08/01/2013 Description: Media sub-Working Group co-chairs Mikhail Gusman and Mauren Cormack along with other participants in St. Petersburg.  © Photo courtesy of Bill Gentile, delegate)
The BPC’s Media sub-Working Group met August 1 – 2 in St. Petersburg. The gathering included a number of U.S. and Russian correspondents as well as several deans of journalism schools.

The two sides agreed to support the continued exchange of U.S. and Russian journalists, which began in 2012. The discussions focused on the global revolution in communications and the advent of citizen journalism. One participant noted that this revolution in communications had produced an explosion of information, often visual rather than printed, not seen since Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press.

The Music of Los Texmaniacs
Date: 05/16/2013 Description: L to R: David Farias, Max Baca, and Lorenzo Martinez. - State Dept ImageThe musical group Los Texmaniancs, hailing from the American southwest, performed at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Moscow, Spaso House, on May 16. The group, which plays in the traditional Conjunto style, helped conclude the Second Festival of Traditional American Music, which was held in different cities of Russia during March, April and May. In the U.S. and Mexico, a conjunto band is composed of four main instruments: the accordion, the bajo sexto, an electric bass, and a drum kit.

Los Texmaniacs is a traditional quartet comprised of Max Baca on bajo sexto, David Farías on accordion, Óscar García on electric bass, and Lorenzo Martínez on the drums. Hosting musical groups like this concert by Los Texmaniacs supports the goals of the Education, Culture, Sports and Media Working Group.

Alumni Reunion in St. Petersburg
On April 3, the United States Consulate General in St. Petersburg hosted its first reunion of alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program, Open World Program and U.S. NATO Tours. Nearly 70 alumni attended the event at the Consul General's Residence.

During the reception, many alumni spoke about the impact of their experiences in the United States on their professional activities; several noted that they are still in contact with one or more of their American professional peers. Following the networking opportunity afforded by the reception, the alumni were treated to a performance by the Modern Blues Masters, a trio participating in the Second Festival of Traditional American Music organized by CEC Arts Link, an organization that engages communities through international arts partnerships, with support from the U.S. Mission to Russia as part of the Education, Culture, Sports and Media Working Group.

Mass Media Sub-Working Group Co-Chairs Discuss Plans for 4th meetingDate: 2013 Description: Sub-Media Working Group co-chairs Cormack and Guzman and as well Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Berbena. - State Dept Image
Mass Media Sub-Working Group Co-Chairs Maureen Cormack and Mikhail Guzman met in Washington D.C. to discuss the agenda for the sub-working group’s 4th meeting, which is being planned for the end of July in St. Petersburg. They agreed to continue to concentrate on the same themes that have been the subject of previous meetings, including: the evolving profession of journalism, the evolving business of media, new media technologies, and ethics in media. The two co-chairs discussed the second U.S. - Russia Young Professional Exchange program, which will take place later in the Fall as a follow-on to last year’s successful exchange, that allowed 20 U.S. and Russian journalists to engage in a study tour in each other’s countries.

Midwest Music in the Far EastDate: 04/04/2013 Description: Horseshoe Road. - State Dept Image
On April 4 – 10, the Horseshoe Road band from Oklahoma visited Vladivostok, Nakhodka and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy as a part of the American Music Abroad program. During their short stay the musicians gave five performances in concert halls, clubs and a children’s rehabilitation center, receiving standing ovations after each show. Kyle Dillingham (violin), Peter Markes (guitar), and Brent Saulsbery (double bass) shared the heritage of American music from Oklahoma through their virtuoso skills.

The band invited local musicians to join them wherever they went, enjoying the accompaniment and collaboration of the Vladivostok balalaika ensemble and an outstanding flutist from Kamchatka. These concerts support the efforts of the Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group.

Rumble on the Rails
Date: 05/15/2013 Description: Jordan Burroughs (USA) vs. Saba Khubezhty (Russia). - State Dept ImageOn May 15, “The Rumble on the Rails” pitted a host of world and Olympic wrestling champions against each other in front of a capacity crowd at New York’s historic Grand Central Terminal. A collaborative effort between USA Wrestling and the urban youth nonprofit Beat the Streets, the event was held in part to promote efforts to prevent the sport of wrestling from being cut from the 2020 Olympic Games. The BPC’s Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group worked closely with Team USA on the logistics of the event.

The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Division is working with Russian officials on future sports exchanges, including a program involving Paralympics athletes to be held in conjunction with the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Jon Alpert Explains: “A man with a camera can change the world” Date: 05/20/2013 Description: Jon Alpert engages aspiring reporter. - State Dept Image
On May 20 – 29, award-winning American reporter and documentary filmmaker Jon Alpert conducted a series of discussions and interviews about the challenges of his profession, reporters’ professional ethics and the opportunities of modern documentary filmmaking.

He discussed his interviews with Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein, and also shared his experiences interviewing a criminal in action and reporting within a war zone with journalists, reporters, filmmakers and journalism students in Vladivostok, Khabarovsk and Birobidzhan.

The founder of Downtown Community Television Center in New York City, Jon Alpert, reflecting on his illustrious career, exhorted the future journalists that a brave and honest man with a camera in his hand can make the world a better place. These discussions were held under the auspices of the Education, Culture, Sports and Media Working Group.

Elite U.S. Fencer Shares Power of SportDate: 03/2013 Description: American saber fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad (foreground) trains with the Russian Paralympic team in Moscow. - State Dept Image
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.

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 StatesDate: 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
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.

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

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

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

University Representatives Mingle in VladivostokDate: 03/15/2013 Description: A group photo from the reception hosted by Vladivostok Public Affairs Officer Dae Kim. - State Dept Image
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 hosted brought together U.S. admissions officers, guests from local universities, and U.S. government exchange program alumni.

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

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

Christopher Merrill Inspires Young Writers, Promotes Book WingsDate: 03/14/2013 Description: Russian students listen to a lecture by University of Iowa's Christopher Merrill. - State Dept Image
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.

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

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 LibraryDate: 03/15/2013 Description: Ambassador Michael McFaul addresses an attentive audience at the Mayakovskiy Library in St. Petersburg. - State Dept Image
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, and his thoughts on St. Petersburg, and the expansion of bilateral investment.

Consul General Speaks with Russia’s Future DiplomatsDate: 03/26/2013 Description: Consul General Bruce Turner meets with graduate students in St. Petersburg. - State Dept Image
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.

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

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


Youth Hockey in Novogorsk
Date: 2012 Description: American and Russian ice hockey players meet with Alexander Ovechkin after his practice session in Moscow. - State Dept ImageThe Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Division, together with U.S. Embassy Moscow and the Russian Ministry of Sport, supported a bilateral ice hockey exchange program that sent 24 Americans – 10 boys, 10 girls, and 4 coaches – to Moscow, Russia from October 6 – 14 for ice hockey diplomacy. The teens and coaches, selected in coordination with USA Hockey, took part in clinics, lived and practiced alongside their Russian counterparts, and met several legends of Russian and American hockey.

The program was organized and supported by the Russian Ice Hockey Federation. This program reciprocated a 2011 program, when 24 Russian youth ice hockey players and coaches traveled to Washington, D.C. This recent program concludes a series of exchanges that have taken place over the last two and a half years under the auspices of the BPC’s Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group, including exchanges between Russian and American youth athletes in basketball, beach volleyball, hockey and swimming. SportsUnited and Embassy Moscow are currently planning the next round of sports exchanges for 2013 and 2014.

“#Spaso2012” Celebrates Election 2012Date: 2012 Description: A Russian guest casts her ballot in the mock election. - State Dept Image
“Tweet” was the word at U.S. Embassy Moscow's election night party at Spaso House, the Ambassador's residence. The first floor of Spaso House became a massive Wifi zone, and the Embassy created a special hashtag - #Spaso2012 - for the event. Crowds gathered around a Twitterfall that broadcast constantly updated Tweets about the election from all over the world; more than 50 Tweets mentioned #Spaso2012.

Approximately 600 guests from government, business, education, NGOs, and media attended the election night party. Embassy Moscow hosted a mock election in which all attendees could participate.

Media coverage of the event was extensive. Radio station Echo Moskvy broadcast live from the party, interviewing Ambassador McFaul and notable guests. Local blogger Vitaly Ragulin posted a photo essay from the event on Echo Moskvy's web site. Photos from Moscow’s event showed up in The Guardian's best election photos of 2012. The Washington Post’s Election 2012 blog included coverage of the election night event.

One Tweeting guest summarized the mood of the crowd with her Tweet: “Had a great opportunity to meet interesting people, to discuss the election and reunite with FLEX alumni! Tonight was great!”

*NOTE: FLEX, the Future Leaders Exchange Program, provides scholarships for high school students (ages 15-17) from Eurasia to spend an academic year in the United States, living with a family and attending an American high school.

Maya Azucena Brings R&B to Russia
Date: 2012 Description: Maya Azucena performs with Russian saxophonist Nikolay Vintskevich during her Russian tour. - State Dept ImageAmerican Rhythm and Blues singer Maya Azucena and her band had a triumphal two-week tour of Russia from October 25 to November 7, funded and organized by the Public Affair Section of U.S. Embassy Moscow as part of the BPC’s Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group.

The band performed in Irkutsk at the Jazz on Baikal Festival as well as in Kursk, Oryol, and Voronezh as part of the Jazz Province Festival. In Moscow they played outstanding shows at the Igor Butman Club and the Ambassador’s residence, Spaso House, where Azucena inspired the audience to dance.

In addition to these large public concerts, the ensemble performed for a predominantly disabled audience at the Preodoleniye Rehabilitation Center, participated in a children’s vocal competition, and conducted a workshop for young Russian musicians. The American group had many opportunities for musical collaboration with Russian musicians, including a folk choir in Kursk.

A Bi-National Dialogue on the U.S. Election
Date: 2012 Description: International Relations students at Georgetown University & MGIMO discuss the U.S. elections. - State Dept ImageRussian and American international affairs graduate students joined in a lively exchange of perspectives on the recent American presidential elections and the future of the U.S. – Russia bilateral relationship thanks to a videoconference hosted by the U.S. Embassy’s Information Resource Center. Prominent faculty members Andrew Bennett of Georgetown University and Tatiana Shakleina of Moscow State University of International Relations moderated the event entitled, “The U.S. Election: A Bi-National Dialogue.”

In addition to the graduate students gathered at the two universities, the event drew online viewers and webchat participants from throughout Russia. The event was covered by print and photo journalists and live-tweeted by Embassy staff.

Diva Brings American Masters to Moscow
World famous opera singer Jessye Norman received a standing ovation following her performance at Stanislavsky Musical Theater in Moscow as part of the “Queens of Opera” Festival. Ms. Norman’s virtuoso performance showcased a repertoire called “Great American Maestro” that included songs by George Gershwin and Duke Ellington, and pieces made famous by Ella Fitzgerald. The event was attended by Prime Minister Medvedev and his wife Svetlana.

BPC support was announced at the beginning of the show and the concert was followed by a reception, at which Ambassador McFaul gave remarks. Over the next two years, the “Queens of Opera” Festival will bring several internationally renowned opera singers to Moscow and hold a gala finale in the Kremlin.

Largest-Ever Delegation of U.S. Universities Meets Record Number of Prospective Students in Moscow and St. Petersburg
On the eve of International Education Week (November 12 – 16), 27 U.S. universities presented the full range of opportunities offered by American higher educational institutions to audiences in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The first-ever EducationUSA Fair in Russia’s second largest city brought together 600 students interested in international education. In Moscow, EducationUSA hosted a pavilion at the largest-ever “Education & Career” fair, held at the premier location next to Red Square, Gostinyy Dvor.

Out of 40,000 students, teachers and parents who attended the fair over three days, 1,300 visited the U.S. pavilions for consultations and discussions, and many attended special follow-on presentations at the EducationUSA Center. 20 Competitive College Club members assisted the university representatives with their Moscow tour, including outreach visits to Russian universities. Deputy Chief of Mission Sheila Gwaltney hosted a reception in the delegation’s honor, which recognized the valuable role of participating universities in promoting U.S. education, and gave them a unique opportunity to network with their Russian colleagues.

Filmmaker Discusses Tolstoy’s Legacy
Documentary filmmaker Sara Winter has produced films on author Leo Tolstoy's estate, Yasnaya Polyana, on a walk she did retracing Tolstoy's steps from Moscow to the estate (120 miles/193 kilometers), and on the dedication of a Leo Tolstoy/Hadji Murat monument in Dagestan. During her two-day speaker program in Russia, Ms. Winter showed and discussed the films with students and teachers of English at the Tula Pedagogical University, with pupils at School No. 3 in Tula, at the Russian State Humanities University in Moscow and at the American Center in Moscow. All the presentations included lively Q&A sessions that touched on Professor Winter's interest in Tolstoy and the significance of Tolstoy in America more generally. Professor Winter also did several interviews about her work with radio and print media.

11th Annual English Language Education Innovation Conference
Sixty leaders in the field of English language teaching and learning in Russia met at the Orlyonok Black Sea Educational Facility for the eleventh annual English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Umbrella Conference. The participants spent four days reviewing the past year’s professional development programs for Russian teachers, discussing successes and missed opportunities, and brainstorming cooperative projects for the future. A concurrent program for 90 students gave participants in the conference an opportunity to observe classes, work with the students directly, and give feedback to teachers.

Unique in its format and results, the ESL conference brings together practitioners and opinion shapers in the EFL field and generates concrete results: several projects originally conceived at previous conferences are used widely across Russia. The English Language Office at U.S. Embassy Moscow designed and organized this year’s Umbrella Conference in conjunction with Russia’s National Association of Teachers of English.

Bilateral Creativity During National Novel Writing Month
Embassy Moscow hosted a live U.S. – Russia videoconference and discussion on the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) initiative, in which writers across the globe challenged themselves to complete 50,000-word novels during the month of November. The discussion featured American authors and NaNoWriMo organizers Nancy Kelley and Tim Peacock, who discussed how participating in this experiment has changed them as writers.

The program brought together American and Russian creative writers and allowed for first-hand communication between the writers and the audience, whether in-person or virtual.

Vladivostok Discovers New Edges of Jazz
Date: 2012 Description: Harpist Edmar Castaneda. - State Dept ImageThe Primorye Regional Philharmonic Hall hosted the 9th Annual International Jazz Festival in Vladivostok November 8 – 11. U.S. Consulate Vladivostok continued its long-running support of American participants in the festival, as American jazz musicians demonstrated the diversity of the genre and musical aspects of U.S. culture.

The trio of harpist Edmar Castaneda, trombonist Marshall Gilke, and percussionist David Silliman captivated audiences through a fantastic combination of folk music weaved into Latin-American jazz rhythms.

Date: 2012 Description: Beat box performer Yancarlos Sanchez. - State Dept Image

Another festival highlight was American beat boxer Yancarlos Sanchez, who broke all jazz and beat box stereotypes by combining the two genres into a unique performance.

Besides providing such outstanding performances, participating American musicians met with music students and local media.

American Graphic Novelist at "Boomfest"
The commercially successful and critically acclaimed American graphic novelist, cartoonist, and writer Jessica Abel participated in “Boomfest 2012,” an international comic festival held in St. Petersburg from September 25 to October 2. During her visit, she participated in several panel discussions, gave master classes, mentored emerging artists and authors, worked with children, and attended exhibitions, screenings and presentations. She also spoke at two American Corners on the history of American comic books.

Cartoons and graphic novels are becoming increasingly popular in Russia and Ms. Abel's visit, which was organized under the auspices of the Bilateral Presidential Commission, not only advanced a general appreciation for these media, but also emphasized the significant contributions American artists and authors have made in these areas.

Philosopher Carlin Romano Charms Audiences in Northwest Russia
Date: 2012 Description: Pomorye TV interviews Carlin Romano at the American Corner in Arkhangelsk. - State Dept ImageProfessor Carlin Romano, a renowned American writer and professor of philosophy at Ursinus College and the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication, was the keynote speaker at an international conference on “Liberal Education in Russia and the World” at the Smolny College of St. Petersburg State University. Dr. Romano also presented his most recent book "America the Philosophical" at the School of Philosophy of St. Petersburg State University.

Dr. Romano also gave a talk on “Why Philosophy Matters to Business” at the Consul General's Residence to a crowd of nearly one hundred members of the elite Context Club, an interdisciplinary discussion group principally for business people.

During his visit, Professor Romano traveled to Arkhangelsk, where he participated in several panels at an American studies conference hosted by Russia's new Northern Arctic Federal University.

American Film Music Fills St. Petersburg's Philharmonic Hall
Date: 2012 Description: The St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra and the Female Choir performing American cinematic music. - State Dept ImageThe St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra and the Female Choir of the Rimksy-Korsakov Musical College joined together for an engaging performance featuring theme music from contemporary American films. Among the works performed was Danny Elfman’s theme for “Dark Shadows” and pieces by Wojciech Kilar, including his theme for Francis Ford Coppola's “Dracula.”

Ali Savino Discusses the Role of Social Media in U.S. Political Campaigns
Date: 2012 Description: Ali Savino speaking at St. Petersburg State University's School of Journalism. - State Dept ImageAs part of its comprehensive programming on the U.S. presidential election, Consulate St. Petersburg invited Ali Savino, co-founder of the Center for Independent Media and a Democratic Party campaign advisor on social media, to St. Petersburg to discuss the role of social media in political campaigns. Ms. Savino shared her thoughts with several groups of journalists, students, academics, Internet entrepreneurs, politicians and others during her two-day visit. Her principal message was that through social media candidates can easily, efficiently and economically target specific audiences with tailored messages while bypassing traditional media.

Advancing the Rights of the Disabled: Gaining Access to Cultural Spaces
Consulate St. Petersburg invited Betty Siegel to Russia to participate in the October 25 international conference on “Integration of Disabled People Into Information and Social-Cultural Spaces.” Ms. Siegel, who is responsible for disability access issues at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., consults on access issues for numerous cultural institutions throughout the United States.

During her keynote address, Ms. Siegel stressed the need to accommodate the disabled in cultural institutions as audience members, performers, and as employees. In addition to her participation at the conference, Ms. Siegel met with city officials from St. Petersburg as well as directors of several significant cultural institutions, including the Presidential Library, the Russian Museum, and Saint Isaac's Cathedral.

Scott Turow Takes St. Petersburg and Moscow by Storm
Date: 2012 Description: Scott Turow speaks to students during his visit to Russia. - State Dept ImageFamed American novelist and lawyer Scott Turow engaged Russian audiences ranging from senior scholars to young readers of American fiction. Mr. Turow visited the flagship store of St. Petersburg's largest bookstore chain, Bukvoyed Na Vosstanoya, and local universities.

In addition to these appearances, Mr. Turow discussed the American judicial system and the life of an attorney in the United States with students at the University of Economics and Finance's Faculty of Law, and focused on creative writing with English philology and creative writing students at Herzen Pedagogical University.

Russian Internet Journalist Reports Live on U.S. Elections from Chicago
A senior correspondent for, one of Russia's most popular Internet news and information portals, reported live on election night from President Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago. In the United States on a Foreign Press Center “Election Night Embed” program, Kseniya Potiva, visited various polling stations and provided continuous updates for her readers in Russia.

Americans Perform at “International Week of Conservatories” Music Festival
Date: 2012 Description: Students and faculty from Wichita State University School of Music on the Glazunov Hall Stage. - State Dept ImageOn November 7, students and faculty from Wichita State University School of Music performed before a capacity audience in the Glazunov Hall of the famed St. Petersburg State Conservatory.

Their performance was part of the 12th International Musical Festival “International Week of Conservatories.” Judging from the prolonged ovation and numerous requests for encores, their performance was a great success. On November 9, they gave an equally well received concert at St. Petersburg State Technical University. Before and between performances, they taught master classes for Conservatory students and young musicians.

Adding to the American contribution to the event, renowned American conductor Semyon Bychkov was granted the honor of being the closing conductor at the festival. Mr. Bychkov conducted the Grand Symphony Orchestra and Choir of the Conservatory Theater.

Russian Students Engage in Discussion of U.S. – Russia Relations
Date: 2012 Description: Office Director Kostelancik speaks to students. - State Dept ImageOn Tuesday, November 13, David Kostelancik, Director of the Office of Russian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, spoke with more than 200 students at St. Petersburg State University's School of International Relations at Smolny. Among other topics, he discussed the current state of U.S. – Russian relations and the expectation for continuity in U.S. policy vis-à-vis Russia during the second Obama administration.

American and Russian Jazz Musicians Perform Together at the Philharmonic Hall
On November 15, American and Russian jazz musicians performed together before a sold-out crowd at St. Petersburg's Bolshoi Zal Philharmonic Hall. The American performers included vocalist J.D. Walter, bassist Eddie Gomez, and drummer Willie Roberts. The event was held in honor of the 50th birthday of one of Russia's finest jazz pianists and composers, Andrey Kondakov, who, along with several other St. Petersburg jazz musicians, played alongside their American guests.

Khabarovsk Youth Theater Stages Plays by American Teenagers
In mid-November, the Khabarovsk Youth Theater presented a production of “Atlantis,” a play by American teenagers. The production comes as a result of the theater’s cooperative relationship with the Young Playwrights Theater in Washington, D.C.

After reviewing dozens of scripts, seven were eventually chosen and then, through a grant from the Russian Union of Theater Experts, the Khabarovsk Youth Theater launched an international theater project entitled “Children Write for Theater.” The stories and scripts developed by American teens were translated into Russian and staged in this performance called “Atlantis.” The uniqueness of this show is that along with professional actors, young Russian teenagers play leading roles. The show addressed numerous questions that children and teenagers face while growing up.

Journalists Gather in Washington
Date: 2012 Description: Attendees of the BPC's Mass Media Sub-Working Group. - State Dept ImageThe third session of the BPC Sub-Working Group on Mass Media held sessions at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The group held productive sessions on the Business of Media; the Evolving Practice and Profession of Journalism; and New Media Technologies. The group also visited the Washington Post, and finalized plans for its young journalists exchange program.

Young Diplomats Day
Date: 2012 Description: U.S. Consulate Yekaterinburg's newest officers. - State Dept ImageThe U.S. Consulate in Yekatenrinburg welcomed 10 new “employees” for its Young Diplomats Day. The participants were selected due to exceptional essays submitted during an American Center contest, titled, “The America I Discovered.”

The students functioned as diplomats for the day, beginning with a morning briefing with the Consul General. Students interacted with the full breadth of the Consulate’s offices from the Political, Economics, and Consular Sections, to the consulate’s Regional Security Office.

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Paralympic Skier Inspires Moscow Audience
Date: 2012 Description: Chris Waddell. - State Dept ImageMedal-winning paralympic skier Chris Waddell participated at an Embassy-organized event at Moscow’s Preodolenie rehabilitation center. The center provides treatment for patients with disabilities caused by spinal cord and other paralyzing injuries.

Date: 2012 Description: At the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. - State Dept Image

Waddell gave a presentation about his ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro, which he made using a specially designed handcycle. In sharing his experience with roughly 20 patients, Waddell emphasized the theme that “it's not what happens to you… it's what you do with what happens to you.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Visits Russian Transpolar Flight Monument Date: 09/20/2012 Description: Deputy Minister Ryabkov visits Pearson Air Museum in Vancouver, Washington. - State Dept ImageHighlighting aviation cooperation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov joined the Chkalov Cultural Exchange Committee (CCEC) for a visit to the Pearson Air Museum in Vancouver, Washington on September 20.

Deputy Minister Ryabkov serves on the Russian Organizational Committee responsible for the celebratory events related to the 75th Anniversary of the first non-stop transpolar flight piloted by the famous Russian aviator Valery P. Chkalov. The CCEC is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to build peace and friendship, as well as cultural, educational, and business opportunities for the citizens of Washington, Oregon, and the Russian Federation.

Deputy Minister Ryabkov made a special trip to Vancouver to tour the Pearson Air Museum’s Transpolar Flight display and the Transpolar Flight Monument, as well the George C. Marshall House where General Marshall hosted the Russian aviators in 1937. He also met with the CCEC Board of Directors to discuss the activities of the 75th anniversary celebrations in Vancouver.

Mr. Ryabkov stated that he was impressed by the warmth and beauty of the City of Vancouver and was very touched by his visit to the Pearson Air Museum and the Transpolar Flight Monument. This was the first time Deputy Minister Ryabkov had visited the State of Washington.

Unveiling of Adams Memorial
Date: 09/15/2012 Description: Deputy Chief of Mission Sheila Gwaltney lays a flower on the Louisa Catherine Adams memorial stone. - State Dept ImageOn September 15, Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Sheila Gwaltney unveiled a memorial stone for Louisa Catherine Adams – daughter of the first United States Minister (Ambassador) to Russia and later the sixth president, John Quincy Adams, and Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams.

On August 11, 1811, Louisa was the first American born in Russia and she was the first American to pass away there, 13 months later, on September 15, 1812. Buried at Smolenskoye Lutheran cemetery in St. Petersburg, her gravestone had long ago disappeared.

After 16 years of efforts often led by various U.S. diplomats or spouses stationed in Russia and with the support of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) as well as contributions from Russians and Americans, a new stone was placed in the area of the cemetery where historians believe Louisa's body rests.

DCM Gwaltney and Igor Lonsky, Deputy Chair of the Committee for External Relations of the City of St. Petersburg unveiled the stone. DAR representatives then placed a wreath while a local music conservatory student sang a 19th century American funerary hymn. The ceremony closed with a poem written and read by Consul General Bruce Turner and a reading from John Quincy Adams' dairy.

The memorial to Louisa Catherine Adams acts as a tangible reminder of the long-standing, deep ties between Russia and the United States. The story of the joy of her birth and the sadness of her death is a universal one for Russians and Americans alike.

St. Petersburg Hosts First U.S.-Style Public Art Festival
Date: 09/20/2012 Description: Public Affairs Officer Steve Labensky participates in International Public Art Fesival: Art Prospect. - State Dept ImageConsul General Bruce Turner and Public Affairs Officer Steve Labensky participated in the September 20 opening activities of St. Petersburg's first “International Public Art Festival: Art Prospect.” Based on the U.S. model of street art festivals, “Art Prospect” transformed a small portion of urban space running along Liteiny Prospect – a main artery in the heart of St. Petersburg – into a series of interconnected indoor and outdoor galleries, installations and performance spaces.

Over the course of four days, thousands of visitors explored courtyards, parks, parking lots and storefronts to enjoy art works created by a group of 18 prominent or up-and-coming American and Russian contemporary visual and performance artists. The artists also participated in several workshops.

The festival was organized in partnership with the New York-based organization Art in Odd Places and received financial and logistical support from Embassy Moscow and the Consulate General in St. Petersburg. The event received widespread media attention with stories appearing on several St. Petersburg television channels, in most local newspapers and on many news and information Internet portals.

American Jazz Musicians Debut in the Famed Mariinsky Concert Hall
Date: 09/25/2012 Description: The Brubeck Brothers Quartet and their Russian friends perform at the Mariinsky Theater Concert Hall. - State Dept ImageOn September 25, the Brubeck Brothers Quartet brilliantly performed pieces from their repertoire of contemporary and classic jazz and blues at the Mariinsky Theater Concert Hall in St. Petersburg. They were the first American jazz musicians ever to perform in this famed venue.

After a tour de force performance of original pieces during the first part of the evening, the Brubeck Brothers Quartet was joined by two Russian musicians: Vladislav Lavrik (on the trumpet) and Maxim Rubtsov (on the flute) from the Russian National Orchestra. The resulting American-Russian collaborations were stunning, eliciting prolonged applause by the many jazz devotees in the audience, including the Consul General and his guests (a blend of city officials and prominent local jazz musicians such as David Gloloscheykin and Gennady Golshtein).

The performance was covered by AFISHA magazine, Radio St. Petersburg and Radio Russia. The St. Petersburg Jazz community expressed the hope that these legendary musicians would return to St. Petersburg soon.

The St. Petersburg concert was the last stop on the Quartet’s ten-day tour of Russia which also included stops in Moscow, Samara, and Yefremov. In Moscow, the Brubeck Brothers Quartet played together with the Russian National Orchestra at the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow on September 17 and on September 22 at the Great Hall of the Moscow State Conservatory. The renowned Russian jazz musician Igor Butman appeared with the quartet much to the delight of the audience.

The tour was conducted under the auspices of the Bilateral Presidential Commission and made possible by financial and logistical support from Embassy Moscow and the U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg.

Filmmaker Henry Corra in Yekaterinburg
In October, acclaimed documentary filmmaker Henry Corra visited Yekaterinburg. Corra, whose powerful films follow people struggling with real issues - alcoholism, cancer, war - resonate with people worldwide. Henry Corra will show four of his films as part of the international Rossiya film festival, including one of his most well-known films, The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan. Corra is the first American special guest for the 23-year old film festival.

Oscar-Winning Directors Showcase “Undefeated” and American Culture
The Show US! film festival was held in Moscow September 6 – 9, with follow-on screenings in Kazan and Yekaterinburg.

Documentary filmmakers TJ Martin and Dan Lindsay attended numerous screenings of their film, the 2011 Oscar-winning documentary “Undefeated,” which chronicles the struggles of a high school football team as they attempt a winning season after years of losses, gave presentations at schools, and gave media interviews. At each stop, they took many questions from enthusiastic audience members eager to learn about life in America and the important social and cultural issues raised by this film.

In its third year, Show US! provides Russian audiences with an opportunity to see American documentary films that most likely would not otherwise be available in Russia. The films treat diverse topics and present alternative perspectives on American society and culture.

The event was organized in partnership with the American Film Showcase based at the University of Southern California and Moscow-based event organizer Cool Connections.

Snowday 'A Capella' group tours Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk
Date: 2012 Description: Members of Snowday pose for a photo after one of their performances. - State Dept ImageThe group, Snowday, which sings a range of hits from classic doo-wop to modern pop, reached a sweeping audience as they performed at local grade schools, universities, concert halls, and an orphanage. Their master classes filled university lecture halls, and they were special guests on a TV morning show.

Muscovites Turn Out to Commemorate John Cage
As part of its September 10-13 festival in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of experimental American composer John Cage, the Russian National Center for Contemporary Arts organized two concerts, “Silent Presence,” at Moscow State Conservatory and one at Tchaikovsky Hall. 

Show US! American Documentary Film Festival Expands to the Urals and TatarstanDate: 09/06/2012 Description: Film directors Martin and Lindsay take questions at the screening of their documentary. - State Dept Image
For the third year in a row, Moscow’s popular 35 mm movie theater hosted a festival of American documentary films, offering a real life view of U.S. society. Running September 6-10, the festival’s six screenings attracted more than 1200 film lovers in Moscow alone. This year “Show US!” expanded to two more regions of Russia: Yekaterinburg in the Urals and Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. The Public Affairs Office at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow funded the festival and sponsored the visit of two American film directors, TJ Martin and Dan Lindsay, who won the Academy Award earlier this year for Best Documentary Feature Film for their picture “Undefeated.” Besides holding question-and-answer session after screenings in movie theaters, Martin and Lindsay presented their film at other venues in Moscow, Kazan and Yekaterinburg, including the Russian State University for the Humanities, the International Institute of Film, TV and Radio and other schools and universities. National and local media, including federal Channel 1, MTV, Kultura Channel, Moskovskaya Pravda, and the Moscow News, covered the festival extensively.

American Musicians a Big Hit at the Hermitage Gardens Jazz Festival
The annual open-air festival, “Jazz at the Hermitage Garden,” celebrated its 15th anniversary this year. The Hermitage Garden Park in downtown Moscow drew 2,000 listeners on three consecutive evenings, August 24-26. The program included several American jazz musicians, whose participation was made possible by a grant from the Public Affairs Office at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The American performers included Opus 5, the all-star jazz quintet, as well as legendary American harmonica player, Hendrik Meurkens, and virtuoso pianist George Colligan.

Bluegrass in the Urals
Date: 08/10/2012 Description: Children from the Urals attend Bluegrass workshop. - State Dept ImageIn its second running, Bluegrass in Urals drew huge crowds in both Perm and Yekaterinburg from August 14-18th. Despite rain and cold temperatures, almost 500 people came to watch the best of the best from America, led by Bill Evans, play traditional Bluegrass songs. A contest winner from each city received an autographed banjo and ‘how to guide’ from Bill Evans during the concerts.

Totma Residents Mark the 200th Anniversary of the Founding of Fort Ross
To mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of Fort Ross in Sonoma County, CA, by the Russian explorer and Totma resident Ivan Kuskov, a "television bridge" (actually a digital video connection) was created between the two sites on the evening of August 11. St. Petersburg Consul General Bruce Turner was on hand to congratulate the enthusiastic crowd of roughly a thousand Totma residents who turned out to watch the live video feed. The "television bridge" was the finale of a day-long celebration that included an outdoor concert by an American bluegrass band, a dramatic reenactment of the events surrounding the founding of Fort Ross, and a visit to the Kuskov House Museum.

Bluegrass in the Vologda Region
The Third Annual Russian-American Bluegrass Festival attracted a standing room only crowd of music devotees from the City of Vologda in northwest Russia. Held on August 10 in a modern amphitheater on the grounds of the 16th century Archbishop's Palace in the Vologda Kremlin, the festival featured the American bluegrass band Bill Evans and the Bluegrass All-Stars, plus two Russian bluegrass bands from St. Petersburg. The program was repeated the next night on the main square of the town of Totma, where it attracted a thousand or so listeners.

Opening Ceremony of the Kopylov House
Date: 08/10/2012 Description: Consul General Turner opens the Kopylov House in Vologda Oblast. - State Dept ImageOn August 10, Kopylov House celebrated with an opening ceremony of the on the grounds of the Semenkovo Open Air Heritage Museum near Vologda in Northwest Russia. Built by a well-to-do merchant, the house was painstakingly and beautifully restored by the museum's staff of carpenters, woodcarvers, glaziers, muralists and others with the help of a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. During his remarks, Consul General Turner emphasized the importance of cultural preservation for future generations of not only Russians, but for all of humanity, and the need for international cooperation in this area.


American Photography Exhibits Draw Crowds in Perm and Yekaterinburg
Date: 08/08/2012 Description: Local photography enthusiasts attend the Bruce Gilden exhibit in Yekaterinburg. - State Dept ImageAn exhibition of American photographer, Bruce Gilden, opened at the Metenkov Photography Museum in Yekaterinburg on August 8th, drawing a crowd of over 100 people. The exhibit will run through September 26th, when Bruce Gilden arrives to attend the closing ceremony and to conduct master classes. This exhibit ran consecutively with an exhibit of Frank Dituri, which opened in Perm on August 28th. Both photographers challenge students and art lovers to take a new perspective and find unique subjects for their works.

American Swimmers Hit the Pool in Russia…
Date: 07/14/2012 Description: The swimmers get to know one another before a long morning of drills. © U.S. Embassy Moscow photoSportsUnited and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), together with U.S. Embassy Moscow and the Russian Ministry of Sport, supported a bilateral swimming exchange program that sent 24 Americans—10 boys, 10 girls, and 4 coaches—to Moscow, Russia from July 14-27. The participants, selected in coordination with USA Swimming, took part in swimming practices and engaged with their Russian peers during cross-cultural programs. The program was organized and supported by the Russian Swimming Federation. This swimming program reciprocated a 2010 program, when 24 Russian swimmers and coaches traveled to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

…While Russians Spike Away in California
Date: 07/06/2012 Description: Russian boys training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. © SportsUnited photoFrom July 6-20, 23 Russians—9 boys, 10 girls, and 4 coaches — traveled to Southern California for a beach volleyball exchange program. The delegation participated in volleyball clinics with young Americans that were organized in cooperation with USA Volleyball. The group also took part in teambuilding, conflict resolution, and disability sports activities. This beach volleyball program is the reciprocal of the 2010 program that sent 24 American youth and coaches to Moscow and Anapa. This summer’s beach volleyball and swimming programs are two in a series of BPC sports exchanges. Check out a video of the swimmers’ experience in Moscow, as well as photos of swimming and beach volleyball on the Embassy Moscow Facebook page.

Singer-Songwriter Regina Spektor Performs in St. Petersburg
Date: 07/14/2012 Description: Consul General Turner congratulating Regina Spektor on her successful performance.  © U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg photoThe popular American singer-songwriter Regina Spektor received a standing ovation from more than 2,000 fans at the close of her July 14 performance. At the invitation of the summer youth music festival organizer Stereoleto and with the support of the Consulate, Ms. Spektor brought her unique brand of music back to the country of her birth. Her music, which is associated with the anti-folk scene centered in New York City's East Village, is not a common genre in Russia and her concert had been eagerly anticipated on social media sites. Consul General Bruce Turner attended the outdoor event and afterwards invited Ms. Spektor to return to St. Petersburg for additional performances. Ms. Spektor, through the efforts of the Consulate’s public affairs section, was also interviewed by the widely read national newspaper Izvestiya.

The Eli Yamin Blues Band Tours Russia
The Eli Yamin Blues Band toured Russia July 1-7. The band – Bob Stewart on tuba, LaFrae Sci on drums, Eli Yamin on piano and vocalist Inyang Bassey – participated in three international music festivals during their Russia tour. In St. Petersburg, they played at the Usadba Jazz Festival and in Krasnoyarsk, at the International Music Festival. In Abakan, the musicians played at the Abakan International Festival, and also gave a master class for 50 musical students and teachers of the Arts Institute Jazz Department. The Eli Yamin Blues Band also treated an audience of American and Russian guests to their music at the Annual Fourth of July Spaso House Reception.

Air Force Five Star Brass Band Dazzles Yekaterinburg
Date: 07/04/2012 Description: The band's open-air concert attracted over 500 spectators. © U.S. Consulate General Yekaterinburg photoLeading up to July 4th, Yekaterinburg hosted the Air Force Five Star Brass Band for a series of events in and around the city. The band performed for the local war veteran’s hospital, conducted a workshop and played at the Yekaterinburg orphanage for musically-gifted children. They concluded their visit with an open-air concert for the public.

“Dreams” 3D Art Exhibit Opens in Vladivostok
On July 17, with support from the U.S. Consulate General, Vladivostok-based artist, and alumnus of a State Department exchange program, Anton Bubnovskiy launched an installation art exhibit titled “Dreams” at Arka Gallery. In this installation the artist shared his perception and understanding of American culture and values through a creative arrangement of simple objects and artifacts such as jars and jeans. He inserted a small painted cloth, a piece torn from Levi’s jeans, in each jar, and suspended hundreds of these jars from the ceiling of the gallery using thin strings, which together formed a 3-D image of the Stars and Stripes. The project attracted significant attention from young arts aficionados and was widely covered by the media.

Contemporary Art, Modern Language Discussed in Vladivostok
Date: 07/18/2012 Description: Thomas Werner poses with several Vladivostok-based artists. © U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok photoOn July 18-20, Thomas Werner, Assistant Professor at The New School for Liberal Arts in New York, conducted a series of presentations and discussions on contemporary art, and modern language and tools of art. He also introduced his brainchild project “Bridges” that unites young artists from 31 cities in Russia and USA in a video installation composed of three-minute videos from these young artists, who describe their lives in Russia and the United States. Several Vladivostok-based artists also joined the project, and the local arts community actively participated in all discussions. The project took place under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State and was organized by an exchange program alumnus in Vladivostok.

Lois Greenfield's Photographs Captures Dancers in Flight
On July 1, Consul General Turner and Deputy Chair for the Cultural Committee of St. Petersburg Boris Illarionov introduced famed American photographer Lois Greenfield and her exhibition "Celestial Bodies" at the 14th International Contemporary Dance Festival Open Look. Lois Greenfield is particularly well known for her exuberant, explosive photographs of dancers in flight. While in St. Petersburg, Ms. Greenfield participated in several events ranging from a speech at the opening of the dance festival at the ERARTA contemporary art museum to a master class. The opening of the exhibition and the festival were covered by Time Out magazine, Radio Russia and Radio Petersburg.

Lawrence Brownlee Graces the Main Throne Room at Catherine's Palace
Date: 07/24/2012 Description: Lawrence Brownlee and Maestro Orbelian enjoying their standing ovation.  © U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg photoFamed American opera singer Lawrence Brownlee received a standing ovation at his June 24 performance at Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin. His performance was part of a series organized by the American conductor Constantine Orbelian under the auspices of the annual international music festival Palaces of St. Petersburg. Mr. Brownlee, a tenor, impressed his sophisticated St. Petersburg audience of 500 or so music lovers with his bravura performance. Mr. Brownlee’s performance was also a major media event. His concert was recorded by TV Kultura, which also interviewed him and Maestro Orbelian for a special music program called Tsars’ Box.

American and Russian Contemporary Dancers Perform in St. Petersburg
On July 6, American and Russian contemporary dancers performed at the Litsedei Theater in St. Petersburg. In addition to the performance, the American dancers held master classes for more than 100 participants from all over Russia. Through their joint performance and teaching opportunities, the American dancers and choreographers built artistic and personal ties with their Russian counterparts. The extremely popular festival events were covered by local print press and radio.

American Saxophonist Jesse Jones, Jr. Plays St. Petersburg
Date: 06/16/2012 Description: Jesse Jones Jr. together with Russian jazz musicians taking their bows.  © U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg photoOn June 16 -17, one of America’s finest jazz saxophonists, Jesse Jones Jr., played two concerts at St. Petersburg’s historic Peter and Paul Fortress. Hosted by the international PetroJazz open-air jazz festival and held under the auspices of the Bilateral Presidential Commission, Mr. Jones performed for several thousand jazz lovers, impressing them with his mastery both during his solo pieces and his performances with some of St. Petersburg’s best home-grown musicians. The concerts received widespread coverage. Afterwards, Mr. Jesse Jones Jr. was invited by TV 100 to participate in its cultural program ART-TV.

Broadway Star Savion Glover Performs in Moscow
Date: 06/07/2012 Description: Savion Glover in action. © U.S. Embassy Moscow photoOn June 7, Tony-award winning tap dancer and choreographer Savion Glover brought his “Bare Soundz” show to Russia as a highlight of the International House of Music’s “Festival Africa-America.” Glover’s program, which also included a master class at the Vinzavod Arts Center for 30 Russian professional dancers and a large audience, was co-sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and took place as a part of “American Seasons,” a year-long series of cultural programs.

U.S.-Russia Opera Exchange Impresses
Date: 06/15/2012 Description: Moscow's Vishnevskaya Opera Center hosts a gala concert. © U.S. Embassy Moscow photoOn June 15, Moscow’s Vishnevskaya Opera Center hosted a gala concert featuring young U.S. opera singers from the (Placido) Domingo-Thornton Young Artist program, based in Los Angeles, and Russian opera singers from the Vishnevskaya Center. The gala was the culmination of a week of master classes conducted by four American coaches with the Russian and U.S. vocalists, who worked together to polish their skills. After the gala, the U.S. group traveled to St. Petersburg for further musical collaboration and another concert with students from the St. Petersburg Conservatory. The Vishnevskaya/Domingo exchange was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Embassy and was a part of “American Seasons.”

Grammy-nominated Cajun Band Delights Russian Audiences
Louisiana Cajun band “Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys” toured Russia in early-June. They performed for an hour before an audience of approximately 800 Russians at the Usadba-Jazz Festival, Russia’s largest outdoor annual music festival. The next day, the Playboys played for the audience of the International Jazz Festival in Chelyabinsk, and on the final day of their Russian tour, they performed at the U.S. Embassy. Few Russians are familiar with anything Cajun, and “Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys” provided a wonderful introduction to this uniquely American musical genre. The U.S. Embassy organized and funded the band’s tour as a part of “American Seasons.”

Independent Film Festival Hits Moscow
On June 23-28, The Lone Star Film Society, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, U.S. Embassy Moscow, and the city of Fort Worth presented a series of New American Independent Cinema at the 34th Moscow International Film Festival.

Hancock and Bridgewater Tour Russia
Date: 2012 Description: Hancock and Bridgewater perform at the Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg.  © U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg photoU.S. jazz legends Herbie Hancock and Dee Dee Bridgewater performed in Moscow and St. Petersburg as part of the “American Seasons” year-long series of cultural programs. Appearing with young jazz musicians from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the group received an enthusiastic reception at Moscow’s International House of Music and the Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg. Theyalso performed at Spaso House and gave master classes to Russian jazz musicians at the Gnessin Musical Academy in Moscow and the Hermitage Theater in St. Petersburg. 

Lar Lubovitch at Benois de la Danse
Also as part of “American Seasons,” U.S. Embassy Moscow sponsored the visit of highly-regarded U.S. choreographer Lar Lubovitch to Benois de la Danse, an international dance competition and festival held annually in Moscow. The evening event at the Bolshoi Theater featured the announcement of the competition winners, including Lubovitch for choreography, and performances by several nominees in various categories, including two dancers from Lubovitch’s own company.

Sci-Fi Writer Arrives in the Urals
Award-winning science fiction author Michael Swanwick traveled to Yekaterinburg to take part in the 29th International Sci-Fi Festival Aelita, May 23-26. The prominent U.S. writer was warmly received by his Russian fans and peers in the Urals. On the first day of the festival, Swanwick visited the Urals Writers Museum and its Virtual Science Fiction Hall. He also took part in the Festival’s Conference on Contemporary Science Fiction Images and Technologies, Young Authors’ Workshop, a roundtable on the Electronic Publishers’ Problems, and the Aelita Award Ceremony.

Fechin Exhibit Opens at Tretyakov Gallery
Date: 05/22/2012 Description: Public Affairs Officer Michael Hurley speaks at the exhibit's opening in Moscow.  © U.S. Embassy Moscow photoOn May 22, U.S. Embassy Moscow joined Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery, the U.S.-based Foundation for International Arts and Education (FIAE), and the Tatarstan Ministry of Culture to open an exhibition of the works of famous Russian-American painter Nikolai Fechin. The exhibit features paintings from different periods in Fechin’s life, including his early years in Kazan and his later life in the United States. Among the highlights are several masterpieces inspired by Fechin’s love of the American Southwest and its inhabitants. Organized by the FIAE, the exhibition is a part of “American Seasons.”

Pianist Christopher Taylor Performs in Perm
Date: 05/20/2012 Description: Taylor gives a concert during his recent trip to Russia.  © U.S. Consulate Yekaterinburg photoU.S. pianist Christopher Taylor, who last performed in Moscow in November 2011, was one of the featured musicians in the annual Diaghilev Festival in Perm, May 20-23. He gave three concerts, including a complex, two-hour solo performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus.”

U.S. Media Expert in Russian Far East
Date: 05/13/2012 Description: Andrew Alexander makes a presentation at the Far Eastern Federal University.  © U.S. Consulate General VladivostokAndrew Alexander, former ombudsman of the Washington Post and Honorary Distinguished Visiting Professor at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, participated in the AEECA Speaker Program “Basics of Reporting for Convergent Media: Promoting Objectivity, Pluralism, and Independence” in Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, May 13-18. He conducted a series of master classes and presentations for journalism students at the Far Eastern Federal University and Far Eastern State Humanitarian University. Alexander also spoke on the importance of transparency in government relations with mass media at the Far Eastern Academy of Government. At American Corners in Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, he shared his view on freedom of information as a crucial tool of democracy with the general public.

Joint Theater Production Marks Finale of “American Spring” in Yekaterinburg
Date: 2012 Description: The ''Duchess of Chicago'' travels to Yekaterinburg.  © U.S. Consulate Yekaterinburg photoYekaterinburg’s Sverdlovsk Musical Comedy Theater premiered a new production of Hungarian composer Imre Kalman’s operetta “Duchess of Chicago” as the culmination of its “American Spring” season of cultural events, with the support of the U.S. Consulate. U.S. director Michael Unger, music director Greg Opelka, and choreographer Patty Colombo worked with the Russian cast for two months on the production, which features an American heroine’s adventures in 1920s Europe.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Delivers Highlight U.S.-Russia Cultural Event
Date: 04/18/2012 Description: Maestro Muti and the CSO perform at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.  © Chicago Symphony Orchestra PhotoAs the highlight of the yearlong “American Seasons” cultural program, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) conducted performances in Moscow and St. Petersburg, April 18-21. The concerts received acclaim from both attendees and media outlets. CSO musicians also conducted master classes with students in both cities and students from the Moscow Conservatory were able to attend an open rehearsal, where Maestro Riccardo Muti offered advice to students studying conducting. Through the CSO’s Citizen Musician program, the Embassy offered concerts at a rehabilitation clinic in Moscow for students with disabilities and their families and at a St. Petersburg orphanage. Several corporations joined the U.S. government in sponsoring the tour through public-private partnerships. Under the leadership of Maestro Muti, the CSO is consistently hailed as one of today’s leading orchestras.

 A Cappella Group Delights through Gospel and Motown Music
Date: 04/12/2012 Description: Members of the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood. © U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg PhotoAs part of “American Seasons,” the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood a cappella quintet sang to a full house at the St. Petersburg Jazz Philharmonic Hall on April 12. With their soaring gospel tunes and renditions of Motown favorites, they brought young and old to their feet. The audience received a double treat, since world renowned ballet dancer, choreographer, and founder of the Dance Theater of Harlem Arthur Mitchell also attended the concert. Mitchell danced in Leningrad in 1962, and ballet aficionados in St. Petersburg still pay him homage for his dancing grace, athleticism, and technical prowess. While in Russia, the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood also performed in Kaliningrad, Kirov, and Nizhny Novgorod.

ECSM Working Group Co-Chairs Hold Initial Meeting in Washington
On April 6, Under Secretary Tara Sonenshine welcomed Special Presidential Representative Mikhail Shvydkoy at the State Department to discuss future plans for collaboration in the areas of education, culture, media, and sports exchanges. The two senior officials jointly chair the U.S.-Russia Presidential Commission’s Education, Culture, Sports, and Media (ECSM) Working Group. Over the past three years, more than 100 different groups of American musicians, dancers, artists, and writers have introduced Russians to the depth and diversity of U.S. culture as part of the “American Seasons” in Russia program. U.S. audiences similarly enjoyed the rich heritage of Russian culture through performances and artistic events in the United States. In the coming months, the ECSM Working Group looks forward to working in partnership to increase opportunities for educational exchanges, and holding the next Media Sub-Working Group event in October 2012 in Washington, D.C. To that end, Mikhail Gusman, First Deputy-Director General of ITAR-TASS, also met with Under Secretary Sonenshine on April 30 as well as with Dawn McCall, his counterpart Media Sub-Working Group Co-Chair.

► Read the full press release on the April 6 Sonenshine-Shvydkoy meeting.

Collaboration Between U.S. and Russian Community Colleges Continues
Date: 04/04/2012 Description: Program participants meet with Victor Demin, director of Krasnogorsk State College and president of the Union of Directors of Professional Colleges in Russia. - State Dept ImageFive senior U.S. community college officials visited higher education institutions throughout Russia as part of the Fulbright Community College Administrators Program, April 4-18. They met with Russian counterparts at institutions throughout southwestern Russia to discuss the U.S. community college model and its role in providing access to higher education, workforce training, and professional development. They also identified several opportunities for long-term, collaborative research projects and partnerships with Russian institutions. In the United States, and via the International Visitor Leadership Program, two groups of Russian academics and administrators (one representing research universities and the other vocational schools) are visiting multiple cities to meet U.S. counterparts and learn more about higher education, innovation, industry-university partnerships, and work force development in the U.S. context.

U.S. Dancers Separate Art from Entertainment in Russian Far East
On April 23, Charles Slender and his dance company FACT/SF put on a thought-provoking contemporary dance performance in Vladivostok’s Primorye Regional Philharmonic Hall. This performance launched the Trans-Siberian tour of the U.S. dance company, a part of “American Seasons.” The highlight of the evening was a piece that Charles Slender choreographed for locally-based dance company Kauri. “This was the craziest work I ever took part in and I loved every second of it,” stated one of the Russian dancers. Slender explained to local journalists that the main point of his work is to distinguish art from entertainment.

The Carlos Nakai Jazz Trio’s Performances Wow Russian Crowds
Date: 04/22/2012 Description: Musician R. Carlos Nakai performs with his new whistle. © U.S. Consulate Yekaterinburg PhotoU.S. musician R. Carlos Nakai and his Jazz Trio travelled to St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Yaroslavl, and Moscow as part of “American Seasons,” April 22-28. In St. Petersburg’s Jazz Philharmonia, the audience presented Nakai with a small Russian whistle to add to his extensive collection. Nakai noted he will use his new tangible musical link to Russia in future performances. The guitar player offered a demonstration of the musical possibilities offered by the self-built combination guitar/lute/lyre/synthesizer, and the drummer captured everyone’s imagination with a ceramic “drum” that originated in Africa but which has been adapted for the American southwest. These performances closed out the successful “American Seasons”-Library of Congress series on traditional American folk life that included gospel, bluegrass, Zydeco, and Cajun music.

► See more concert photos on U.S. Consulate Yekaterinburg’s Facebook page.

Friendship Hockey Tournament Brings Together U.S. and Russian First Responders
Date: 04/24/2012 Description: Ambassador McFaul hosts the FDNY guests at Spaso House prior to the hockey games.  © U.S. Embassy Moscow PhotoWith the support of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM), the Russian-American Foundation and Moscow’s Hockey Club Legends continued their tradition of historic matches between the hockey teams of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), EMERCOM, the “Legends of Hockey,” “Grad Club,” and “NHL Veterans Club.” The teams battled it out on the ice April 27 through 29. Hockey legends Ron Dyugey, Mark Dzhanssens, Stephen Wicks, Alexander Yakushev, Yuri Lyapkin, Viktor Shalimov, and Vladimir Lutchenko participated. On the April 24, the FDNY visitors met with famous Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, who created “The Tear Drop,” a monument in the United States in memory of the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and presented him with an honorary fire helmet. Before the games’ start, the New York firefighters and NHL players also attended a reception in their honor held by EMERCOM and toured the EMERCOM facilities.

“Bang on a Can” Draws Russian Crowds
Date: 2012 Description: ''Bang on a Can'' performs at Moscow's International House of Music.  © U.S. Embassy Moscow PhotoAs part of the “American Seasons in Russia,” a year-long series of U.S. cultural events in Russia, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow is sponsoring the four-city tour of the renowned U.S. experimental music group “Bang on a Can All-Stars.” Formed in 1992 in New York, the “Bang on a Can All-Stars” are recognized worldwide for their ultra-dynamic live performances and recordings of today’s most innovative music. Freely crossing the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world and experimental music, this ensemble has consistently forged a distinct category-defying identity. 

Traditional American Music Festival Begins
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow, together with CEC ArtsLink and the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, has organized a concert series called “The Festival of Traditional American Music” as part of “American Seasons.” The series presents the diversity of the U.S. artists and the vitality of contemporary American artistic communities. Christine Balfa and Balfa Toujours Trio (Cajun) and Jeffery Broussard et Ses Amis (Zydeco) represented Creole traditions while performing in Moscow at the cultural center “DOM” on March 9. U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul was among the attendees.

Two U.S. Photo Exhibitions Open in Moscow
For the Ninth Moscow Photo Biennale, U.S. Embassy Moscow co-sponsored an exhibition of the work of U.S. photographer William Klein as well as the exhibition “The Art of Archive-- From the Criminal Archive of the L.A. Police,” both as part of “American Seasons.” The opening of the exhibitions took place at the Moscow Multimedia Museum on March 6. William Klein’s work changed the rules of photographing cities and their inhabitants, while the LAPD photographs have become some of the best examples of 20th century documentary photography. William Klein himself was at the opening to greet the audience, and the Embassy’s Public Affairs Officer Mike Hurley gave remarks.

The Aeolians Gospel Choir Makes a Joyful Noise in Moscow
Date: 01/21/2012 Description: The Aeolians gospel choir performs in Moscow. © U.S. Embassy Moscow PhotoBefore a packed audience, the Aeolians gospel choir performed at Moscow’s International House of Music on January 21 as part of “American Seasons.” Based in Huntsville, Alabama, the Aeolians have served as musical ambassadors across Europe and the Caribbean. While not abandoning their gospel roots, their diverse repertoire of choral music ranges from Baroque to contemporary.

Improving Opportunities for Disabled Youth
Date: 2012 Description: Russian students in an English-language lesson. - State Dept ImageThanks to the support of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, the Association of English Teachers in the Komi Republic of Russia initiated an innovative program for teaching English to blind and visually-impaired students. It includes a website as well as a teacher exchange program for U.S. and Russian English teachers. Russian students in the Access Microscholarship program from several after-school camps also contributed by developing special reading materials. The program has expanded to several other republics throughout Russia and Moscow. The Russian government has given the program’s school in Moscow funding along with special pilot center status. The project promotes mutual understanding and exemplifies equal opportunities in education.

U.S. Higher Ed Delegation Makes First-ever Visit to Novosibirsk
In March, the EducationUSA Center in Novosibirsk hosted the first-ever U.S. higher education delegation at the “UchibSib” Fair, the premier higher education fair in Novosibirsk. Participants included Clinton Community College, Ohio State University, Pace University, Savannah College of Art and Design, and the State University of New York-Plattsburgh. The university representatives will travel next to Vladivostok to participate in another first: the first-ever EducationUSA Fair in the Russian Far East.

American Pianist Joyce Yang Wows Audience with RachmaninoffDate: 02/20/2012 Description: Masur and Yang performing together. © U.S. Embassy Moscow Image
On February 20, American pianist Joyce Yang performed at Tchaikovsky Hall with the Russian National Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Embassy’s “American Seasons” yearlong series of cultural programs. The concert was truly an international evening of music, as Yang played alongside her Russian colleagues under the direction of visiting German conductor Ken-David Masur. The musicians performed as part of Tchaikovsky Hall’s efforts to showcase the next generation of classical music stars. Yang wowed listeners with her virtuoso performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini,” which earned her numerous curtain calls from the rapt audience.

New York and Moscow Actors Team Up for the Play “Gorod. OK”
Date: 02/02/2012 Description: A scene from a performance at the Mossovet Theater in Moscow of ''Gorod. OK.'' © The Chekhov Festival ImageAs part of the “American Seasons” program, the Public Affairs section of Embassy Moscow co-sponsored performances “Gorod. OK” at the stage of Mossovet Theater on February 2 and 3. A joint American-Russian project, the play was based on the “History of New York” by Washington Irving and “The History of a Town” by Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin. The cast of 16 was split down the middle—eight actors from Moscow's “SounDrama Studio” and eight actors from “Studio Six,” a New York company consisting of actors who studied at the Moscow Art Theater School for four years and graduated in 2005. The play was warmly received by Russian audience and both performances were sold out.

MOU Signed on Educational Cooperation
Date: 02/10/2012 Description: Ambassador McFaul (right) and Minister of Education and Science Fursenko sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Educational Cooperation. - State Dept ImageOn February 10, Ambassador McFaul and Minister of Education and Science Fursenko signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Educational Cooperation, which opens the way for unprecedented new possibilities in educational cooperation. As Ambassador McFaul remarked: “This agreement will advance the goals of both Russia and the United States in education, science, and technology, while strengthening our long-term ties through educational exchange. What we have signed today is a very important step towards creating new joint academic initiatives and university partnerships to expand our cooperation.” The MOU can be found here.

Ruth Orkin Exhibit Opens in Moscow
Date: 2012 Description: Former U.S. Ambassador Beyrle speaks to visitors at the Orkin exhibit opening in Moscow. © U.S. Embassy Moscow photoA retrospective of pioneering U.S. photographer and filmmaker Ruth Orkin’s work opened at the Lumiere Brothers Gallery in Moscow in December as part of the “American Seasons in Russia” yearlong series7 of cultural programs. Orkin was an award-winning photojournalist and filmmaker, perhaps best remembered for her iconic 1951 photograph “An American Girl in Italy.” The exhibition includes 50 of her photographs, reflecting different periods of her work, and has attracted thousands of visitors so far

Yekaterinburg Treated to Walter Rosenblum and “Manhattan NonStop” Photo Exhibits
Date: 2012 Description: Visitors view the ''Manhattan Nonstop'' Photo Exhibit. © Consulate General Yekaterinburg photoConsulate General Yekaterinburg, working with the Yekaterinburg Museums of Fine Art and Modern Art, arranged for two photo exhibits during the 2011-2012 holiday season. The Walter Rosenblum exhibit—featuring Rosenblum’s best work of World War II as well as of the New York City area—was visited by an estimated 1,000 Russians daily. “Manhattan Nonstop,” which includes the work of Yekaterinburg’s best known photographer Eldar Ziganshin, was the first major opening of the New Year.

American Shelves Open in the Polar North
Date: 2012 Description: Opening Ceremony of ''American Shelves.'' © Consulate General Yekaterinburg photoThe BPC funded a grant to build “American Shelves” in four widely-used libraries in the polar north. Each packet of books supports ESL teachers through a common set of activities. Consulate General Yekaterinburg coordinated the opening with a traveling photo exhibit sponsored by the “American Seasons in Russia.” To complement local efforts, Consulate General Yekaterinburg purchased new Kindle accounts complete with thousands of free English language e-books. The e-library program will begin early next year in a coordinated campaign with the “American Shelves” sponsors.


Young Diplomat’s Day in Yekaterinburg
Date: 12/2011 Description: Consulate General Mike Reinert discusses the Bilateral Presidential Commission. © Consulate General Yekaterinburg photoThe U.S. Consulate General in Yekaterinburg invited international relations students from Ufa, Chelyabinsk, and Perm in December to participate in a two-day program designed to turn high achieving students into honorary American diplomats. The popular program included a lunch with Consul General Mike Reinert and one-on-one meetings with U.S. diplomats. Participants were briefed on the BPC and charged with supporting U.S.-Russian relations by sharing their experiences with peers and friends at home. A television crew from South Urals State University accompanied the students and broadcasted field reports back to Chelyabinsk.

Americans Captivate Vladivostok International Jazz Festival
Date: 11/09/2011 Description: A Billy Cobham drum solo. © U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok photoConsulate General Vladivostok brought American legendary fusion jazz drummer Billy Cobham and his band to the November 9-13 Vladivostok International Jazz Festival. Jazz bands from Russia, France, Italy, and the United States performed every evening during the festival. The highlight of the festival was the Billy Cobham Band, whose impeccable groove wowed the standing-room-only audience.

U.S. Student Leaders Visit Moscow, Meet Top U.S. and Russian Officials
Date: 2011 Description: Ambassador Beyrle meets with the student body presidents. © U.S. Embassy Moscow photoThe Russian Youth Agency brought over a third group of U.S. student body presidents. The student leaders toured cultural landmarks around Moscow, visited Moscow State University to interact with peers, and attended meetings with various top Russian government officials, including Presidential Advisor Arkadiy Dvorkovich and First Deputy Chief of Staff Vladislav Surkov. The group also visited the U.S. Embassy, where Embassy personnel described life and work in Russia and briefed the students on the key issues on the U.S.-Russia bilateral agenda. This exchange built on the successful visits of two prior groups of U.S. student body presidents in November 2010 and March 2011.

Urals, Western Siberia host United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) Concert Band Date: 10/24/2011 Description: Colonel Gennady Kolosov conducts Russian and American military bands at the Yekaterinburg Philharmonic. © U.S. Consulate General Yekaterinburg
As part of the “American Seasons” year-long cultural program, the USAFE Concert Band performed during October 24-31 to sold-out audiences in the Ural and Western Siberian cities of Perm, Tyumen, Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Tagil, and Kamensk Uralskiy. The USAFE band’s visit garnered the attention of local media outlets and marked the first-ever performance of a joint U.S.-Russian military band in Yekaterinburg.

New Journalist Exchange Program Announced
Date: 10/03/2011 Description: U.S. and Russian delegates at the ITAR-TASS headquarters. © U.S. Embassy Moscow photoWorking Group co-chairs Ambassador Mikhail Shvydkoy and Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Ann Stock opened the second meeting of the Media Sub-Working Group in Moscow on October 3. The following day, they announced a 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. Read more»

Annie Leibovitz Opens Exhibition in 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.

U.S. Filmmaker Visits Vladivostok, Conducts Workshops
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.

Writing Workshops Held in Moscow, Kolomna, Tula, and St. Petersburg
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.

Vladivostok Contest Attracts Participants from Across Region
Date: 10/08/2011 Description: A dance contest participant demonstrates his skills. © U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok photoU.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.

Sixth Annual AmFest American Movie Festival Kicks Off
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.

Online Course Links Russian Students with U.S. Colleges
Consulate General Yekaterinburg partnered with EducationUSA to create a free Internet-based e-course designed to connect Russian students with American colleges through distance learning programs. Participants can access the course and post on a discussion board, upload assignments, take a quiz, and check their grades. The course includes guidelines for applying to U.S. educational institutions and links to homepages of online schools. To promote the program, the Consulate’s Public Affairs Section will visit regional high schools and universities in the next year. To view the course site, please click here.

Native American Musician Visits Russian Far East
Native American composer Brent Michael Davids visited the Russian Far East, stopping in Khabarovsk, Birobidjan, and Vladivostok, September 8-17. He shared his musical legacy with school and university students, professional musicians, and representatives of indigenous people of the Russian Far East.

Film Festival Takes Place in Vladivostok
Consulate General Vladivostok supported the 9th “Pacific Meridian” Festival that took place September 10-16. American filmmakers Evan Glodell and David Blood came to Vladivostok to present their films in the contest program. Legendary American actress and singer Liza Minnelli opened the festival and hosted a question-and-answer session and press conference for hundreds of fans. Consul General Sylvia Curran also hosted a reception in honor of Ms. Minnelli.

U.S.-Russia Battle of the Brawn in Vladivostok
Date: 09/23/2011 Description: The winners of the ''Pacific Strong'' competition celebrate. © U.S. Consulate VladivostokConsulate General Vladivostok hosted a strong-man competition called “Pacific Strong: Russia vs. U.S.A.” In this battle of brawn, powerful men from both “superpowers” competed for the title by taking part in various athletic challenges. The two-man teams demonstrated their super-human abilities before more than 500 spectators.

Russian Actors Perform U.S. Plays
American playwrights Betty Shamieh, Bob Kerr, and Bekah Brunstetter took part in Moscow’s Lubimovka Festival September 8-11. Working with Russian playwrights, they completed translations of their works that Russian actors read at the Festival’s end. These performances were part of U.S. Embassy Moscow’s ongoing effort to introduce young playwrights to American and Russian audiences. This latest round of readings continued a series started earlier in 2011, when Oliver Award-winning author Katori Hall’s play “The Mountaintop” was read at Moscow’s famous Satirikon Theater in March. That event received widespread coverage in the Russian press.

Documentary Film Festival Held in Moscow
Date: 09/23/2011 Description: Ambassador Beyrle (center), producers Jordana Glick-Franzheim (far left) and Mitchell Block (far right), and the winners of the recent Embassy Documentary Contest. © U.S. Embassy MoscowThe second annual “Show US! Documentary Film Festival” took place at the 35mm Theater in Moscow, September 2-6. The festival featured six films; two of the films’ American directors led discussion sessions after the screenings of their films. The Festival is part of the Embassy-sponsored “American Seasons” series of cultural programs.

Chelyabinsk Becomes a Hip Hop Performance Space
Date: 08/10/2011 Description: Dancers break it down in Chelyabinsk. ©  U.S. Consulate Yekaterinburg photoContemporary Russian dancers from the Urals, Siberia, and the Far East gathered in Chelyabinsk in early-August, where American hip hop had center stage in the ten-day International Summer Dance Lab. Visiting American choreographers Corey Action and Barbara Hayley hosted a series of master classes culminating in a live street dance festival on August 10. Even the local train station and zoo were transformed into open-air performance spaces. Mr. Action performed alongside his Dance Lab students and gave interviews with Russian media.

U.S. Jazz Musicians’ Travels Highlighted in New Exhibit
Date: 07/29/2011 Description: The ''Jam Session'' exhibit opened July 29 in Khabarovsk. ©  U.S. Consulate Vladivostok photoThe Far Eastern Arts Museum in Khabarovsk opened a new exhibit on July 29 titled: “Jam Session: America's Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World.” Created by the Meridian International Center and supported by the Department of State, this unique collection of photos shows legendary American jazz musicians’ travels around the world from the 1950s to the 1980s. During the opening ceremony, local students danced as Russian musicians added a special zest to the exhibit by performing their own improvisations of classic jazz tunes. Deputy Minister of Culture Olga Zavyalova, Museum Director Valentina Zaporozhskaya, and U.S. Embassy Moscow staff were on hand to receive guests.

Russian and American Musicians Make Bluegrass Music Together
Americans and Russians gathered on stage for the First International Bluegrass Festival in Yekaterinburg, July 14-15. The event marked the official opening of the Embassy-sponsored “American Seasons” for the Urals and Western Siberia. Headliners of the festival included Donna Ulisse and the Poor Mountain Boys (from Nashville, Tennessee), Izumrud (Yekaterinburg), and Cheerful Diligence (Obninsk). In support of the new project, the U.S. Consulate in Yekaterinburg hosted a Facebook contest whereby local country and bluegrass musicians submitted video performances through the site. Five finalists were invited to play during the festival and the winner received an American banjo.

Vladivostok-U.S. Ties Highlighted in Multimedia Exhibit 
Date: 2011 Description: Photo and Film Exhibit at Premier Museum in Vladivostok. ©  U.S. Consulate Vladivostok photoThrough the end of August, a recently-opened photo exhibit in Vladivostok called “High in the Depth” featuring the lives and works of three well-known Vladivostok artists by an American photographer and Fulbright Professor Victoria Crayhon. This project, encompassing both photography and a documentary film, demonstrates the true essence of people-to-people diplomacy: people from different countries appreciating one another’s artwork and sharing values of love of home and country.

Basketball Exchanges Continue as U.S. Players Visit Russia 
Date: 07/05/2011 Description: U.S. and Russian basketball players train together. - State Dept ImageTwenty American boys and girls, ages 14-17, and four coaches traveled to Russia for a basketball exchange July 5-19. Partnering with USA Basketball and the Russian Basketball Federation, the State Department’s SportsUnited Office initiated the fifth sports exchange under the Commission, during which the group traveled to Moscow and St. Petersburg and met with Russian Minister of Sports Vitaliy Mutko as well as the Russian Men’s National Basketball team. The delegation also met members of the Russian delegation that came to the D.C. area in May 2010 through a previous exchange.

American Musician Performs for the 4th of July 
Date: 07/04/2011 Description: Mary McBride performs at the July 4th reception at Spaso House. ©  U.S. Embassy Moscow photoAcclaimed singer-songwriter Mary McBride dazzled Russian audiences in Tula, Kaluga, Moscow’s Tsaritsino Open Air Festival, Tomsk, and Novosibirsk. She also performed at the July 4th reception at Spaso House, providing over 1,500 guests with a true taste of America.

Modern Dance Troupe Kicks Off “American Seasons”
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, one of the world’s most-celebrated modern dance troupes, wowed Russian audiences with a program centered on its popular dance piece “Revelations,” and kicked off the U.S. government-sponsored “American Seasons” in Russia. After six performances in Moscow’s Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater, the troupe traveled to St. Petersburg. “American Seasons” is designed to bring a wide spectrum of U.S. cultural offerings to the Russian public by introducing contemporary artists from the United States. More details are available at the “American Seasons” website.

Secretary Clinton Interviewed for Russian Documentary
Mikhail Gusman of ITAR-TASS News Agency interviewed Secretary Clinton on June 24 for a documentary on the U.S. government. The project was developed in the Media Sub-Group, and will explain to Russian viewers how the U.S. government and our democracy operate. View the transcript of Mr. Gusman’s interview with Secretary Clinton.

Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology are Summer School Focus 
Date: 06/14/2011 Description: Russian students in Kazan use microscopic technology as part of a laboratory practicum. - State Dept ImageThe first Fulbright International Summer School on Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology took place in Kazan, Russia, June 14-26. The summer school was the result of collaboration between the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan State Technological University, and the Fulbright Program Office in Moscow under the auspices of the BPC. With a focus on nanotechnologies and nanomaterials, the summer school brought together 25 leading graduate students and junior faculty from throughout Russia with leading Russian and U.S. specialists and provided them with two weeks of intensive lectures, discussions, and laboratory tutorials.

Rhythm Road Partnership Tours Russia
Melvin Williams set out on a tour of Russia from June 2 to 11 as part of the State Department’s Rhythm Road Partnership with the Lincoln Center in New York. Williams performances took him to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Chelyabinsk, Bryansk, and Tver’, where word of his popular blues, gospel, and soul music preceded him, leading to packed venues in every city he appeared in. Read more on the Rhythm Road website.

American and Russian Theater Students Collaborate on Play
Nine American theater students from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Los Angeles, led by the noted film and stage actress Mirjana Jokovic, arrived in Moscow on June 1 to continue work on a play with students from the Moscow State Theater Academy. The play, a drama entitled “Old Boyfriends,” premiered in Moscow at the Strasnoy Theater Center on June 13. Earlier this year nine Russian students went to Los Angeles, led by the prominent Russian theater director Yegeniy Kamenkovich, where they began work on the play. Read more on the CalArts website and Blog archive

USA Today Editor Commemorates World Press Freedom Day In Russia’s Far East
From May 2-6, U.S. veteran journalist and founding editor of USA Today Amy Eisman gave a series of lectures and seminars in Russia’s Far East to commemorate World Press Freedom Day. Speaking with students, professors, government representatives, and media professionals, she addressed some of the issues facing citizen journalism, regional media, journalist education standards, and how digital technologies influence modern publishing models.

U.S. and Russian College Administrators Cooperate on Reform
The U.S. Embassy and the Moscow Fulbright Office welcomed senior administrators from five U.S. community colleges to Russia during the first half of April 2011. The delegates visited higher educational institutions in and around Moscow, Yekaterinburg, and in cities throughout the Ural region. They met with their Russian university counterparts and members of vocational associations, local industries, and non-governmental organizations to discuss workforce training, relations between educational institutions and local industry, the benefits of applied bachelor degrees and other professional training programs. This visit coincides with Russia's ongoing educational reform efforts and our growing agenda in academic cooperation.

Investigative Journalism Seminars
Jon Alpert, an award-winning investigative journalist and documentary film-maker, conducted investigative journalism seminars in Russia. Venues included the Moscow Journalists’ Club, which brings together film directors and young journalists; the Journalism Department of the Higher School of Economics in Moscow; and the Russian Union of Journalists, where he spoke with Moscow city authorities and local journalists. Additionally, he conducted journalist master classes virtually to audiences in the Russian Far East.

Russian Youth Hockey Exchange
Date: 2011 Description: Russian and American hockey youth participating in one of several ice hockey clinics. - State Dept Image
A delegation of 18 Russian youth and 3 coaches completed their March 26-April 8 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). More»

Helping Baseball Take Root in Russia
On April 3-15, 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.

Education Sub-Group
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). More»

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. More»

Inaugural Media Sub-Group Meeting
Date: 03/03/2011 Description: Under Secretary McHale and Ambassador Shvydkoy presiding over the inaugural media conference in Boston. - State Dept ImageOn March 3-4, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale and Ambassador Mikhail Shvydkoy, Special Representative of the Russian President for International Cultural Cooperation, presided over the inaugural meeting of the Mass Media Sub-Working Group held in Boston. Learn more»

Second Student Body President Delegation Brought to Russia
Date: 2011 Description: The student body president delegation meeting with Vladislav Surkov of the Presidential Administration. © Open World photoThe Russian Youth Agency, working in conjunction with the Open World Leadership Center, hosted a delegation of 15 American university student body presidents in Moscow and Yaroslavl. Learn more»

Education Delegation Joins Science and Technology Group in Moscow
The Science and Technology Working Group, the Education Sub-Working Group, and the U.S.-Russia Innovation Council on High Technology (ICHT), a public-private sector initiative promoting technology innovation, participated in the first ever "Science and Innovation Week" in Moscow. Learn more»

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

Russian Production at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles
Famed Russian theater director Yevgeniy Kamenkovich and nine students from the Moscow State Theater School are busy rehearsing their performance of a Russian production at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. Before they depart on March 6, the students will further develop a Russian-American co-production to be staged in Moscow later this year. View the CalArts page for more detail and material, or watch a video of the latest performances.

Return of 21 Historical Documents to Russia
Date: 02/25/2011 Description: Ambassador Beyrle (right) joins Russian officials in examining the reclaimed documents in Spaso House.  © U.S. Embassy MoscowAmbassador John Beyrle hosted a ceremony at Spaso House on February 25 celebrating the return of 21 historical documents to Russia, thanks to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The documents, many of them signed by prominent Russian historical figures, were reported stolen from national archives in Moscow and St. Petersburg between 1994 and 2002. Ambassador Beyrle noted in his remarks at the ceremony: “Today we celebrate a success in the battle against the theft and smuggling of cultural and historical artifacts, and a success in our effort to build a closer and more productive relationship between Russia and the United States.”

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

Motown Legend Mary Wilson Tours RussiaDate: 02/02/2011 Description: Mary Wilson concludes her Russia tour with a performance at Spaso House in Moscow. © U.S. Embassy Moscow photo
Mary Wilson, a founding member of Motown’s legendary musical group “The Supremes,” as well as a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, toured Russia and held performances in Nizhniy Novgorod, Volgograd, Krasnodar, Sochi, and concluded her visit at Spaso House in Moscow. See photos»



St. Petersburg’s Final Silent Film + Live Music Showing Thrills Another Overflow Crowd
Description: Always nice and naïve, ''The Glasses Character'' struck a chord with 1920s America to make Harold Lloyd the decade's highest-earning comic. - State Dept ImageOn December 18, St. Petersburg’s year-long Silent Film + Live Music festival came to a successful conclusion with its final monthly showing featuring Harold Lloyd’s first full-length film, Dr. Jack (1922). Read more»

St. Petersburg’s New Brodsky Exhibit Warms Hearts on a Cold Winter’s DayDescription: Russian-American Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky (1940-1995) - State Dept Image
On December 13, U.S. Consul General Sheila Gwaltney opened a new exhibit at the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg dedicated to the drawings of Russian-American poet Joseph Brodsky. Thanks to the financial support of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission as well as to Yale University, which provided additional items for the exhibit, residents of Russia’s “cultural capital” now have a chance to discover a new facet of Brodsky’s talent. Read more»

Holiday Concert at Spaso House Broadcast Nationally
On December 26, Russia’s Radio Orpheus, the Russian national classical music station, broadcast Ambassador Beyrle’s annual holiday concert at Spaso House. The concert featured the Masters of Choral Singing, a Russian choir of 46 members which regularly performs at the Moscow Conservatory, performing a selection of American and Russian music, including pieces by Samuel Barber and Sergey Rachmaninov, as well as traditional American carols and holiday songs such as ‘White Christmas.’

Lisa Karpacheva Awarded Brian Friesen Memorial Banjo Award
Date: 2010 Description: Ambassador Beyrle presents Lisa Karpacheva with a brand new banjo at the Spaso House bluegrass event. © Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy Moscow At a special bluegrass concert held at the Spaso House in Moscow, Ambassador John Beyrle presented the Brian Friesen Memorial Banjo Award to Lisa Karpacheva, a young musician with tremendous talent. Lisa, a young Russian orphan from Obninsk, has been playing in the Russian blue grass band “Cheerful Diligence” with a borrowed banjo, and was nominated for the award by a travelling bluegrass group on a good will tour in Russia. She is the very first person to receive one of these awards outside of America.

Fifteen American Student Body Presidents Brought to Moscow by Russian Youth Agency
Date: 2010 Description: Ambassador Beyrle hosted U.S. students at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.  © Photo courtesy of Embassy MoscowIn a widely publicized trip, the Russian Youth Agency brought 15 student body presidents from some of the top universities in the United States to Russia for consultations with Russian students, senior officials, and business representatives to discuss U.S.-Russia collaboration. The students met with representatives from the Russian Presidential Administration, the State Duma, the Foreign Ministry, the RusNano Corporation, and the the Skolkovo Innovation Center. Upon their return to the United States, the student presidents have remained very engaged, and have been working closely with officials on both the Russian and U.S. sides to continue and significantly expand the program for future exchanges.

Russia’s Oldest Museum Preserves and Promotes Alaska’s Native Heritage
Date: 2010 Description: Russia's Kunstkamera museum's unique North American Alutiiq collection published with the help of the Bilateral Presidential Commission.   © Photo courtesy of Kunstkamera MuseumOn October 27, Peter the Great’s Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography – better known as the Kunstkamera – shared their beautiful new catalog of their unique North American Alutiiq collection with the rest of the world. This catalog was published with the help of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. The Commission also helped bring representatives of the museum to Fairbanks, Anchorage, Washington, D.C., and New York City in September to discuss sharing with their historic collection of Native Alaskan and Native Californian artifacts with audiences in the United States. The University of Alaska Press has also agreed to work on an English-language version of the Kunstkamera’s Alutiiq catalog. 

Acclaimed Author Gary Shteyngart Visits Russia
Date: 2010 Description: Gary Shteyngart signs Russian-language copies of his bestselling Absurdistan at St. Petersburg's iconic Dom Knigi, part of the Bilateral Presidential Commission's expansion of cultural programming in Russia. © U.S. Consulate St. Petersburg photoBest-selling Novelist Gary Shteyngart recently visited Moscow and St. Petersburg, where he read excerpts from his new novel, Super Sad True Love Story and chatted with fans of his past work, Absurdistan. Shteyngart was in Russia from October 11 to 23 thanks to the Bilateral Presidential Commission and the support of the U.S. State Department's contemporary American writers speaker series. Watch Video»

U.S. and Russia Partner To Save California State Park
Date: 2007 Description: Rainbow at Fort Ross.   © State of California Parks Department photoOn October 21, the Renova Fort Ross Foundation agreed to join the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation and Fort Ross Interpretive Association to promote preservation and raise awareness of California’s Fort Ross State Historic Park. This historic effort will foster enhanced relations between the United States and Russia and grow the bond between the two peoples forged at Fort Ross almost two centuries ago. Read More»

Russia Presents Library of Congress With Digital Copies of Lost U.S. Silent Films
On October 21, Russia presented to the U.S. Library of Congress as a gift a collection of copies of 10 previously lost American silent films. The films were digitally preserved by Gosfilmofond, the Russian State film archive, and donated to the Library of Congress via the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library. Read More»

Bilateral Commission Brings American Actress to Vladivostok to Teach Premier Master Class in Theater Techniques
Date: 10/2010 Description: Maude Mitchell teaches a master class in Vladivostok, part of the Bilateral Presidential Commission's expansion of cultural programming in Russia. © U.S. Consulate Vladivostok photoFrom October 2 to 9 the American stage actress Maude Mitchell conducted an acting workshop at the Far Eastern State Academy of Arts in Vladivostok. Mitchell also demonstrated her acting techniques using the Mabou Mines film, “DollHouse.” Over 100 thespians participated in over 30 hours of training.

USA TODAY Director of Interactive Media Teaches Master Classes in the Russian Far EastDate: 10/2010 Description: American media expert Joshua Hatch demonstrates USA TODAY's interactive features to Russian journalism students.  © U.S. Consulate Vladivostok photo
Joshua Hatch, the USA TODAY Director of Interactive Media taught master classes in digital journalism at the Vladivostok Institute of Mass Communication - the largest journalism school in the Russian Far East - and at the Khabarovsk Humanitarian University. He discussed what multimedia technologies can bring to independent media. His classes overflowed with students who wished to learn more about how social networking, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other new media are revolutionizing our world today. Representatives of the largest regional media organizations in both cities also attended his master classes for professional journalists.

Vologda’s Conference on Russian America Prepares the Ground for Fort Ross’ 200th Anniversary CelebrationDate: 2010 Description: California's beautiful Fort Ross, established by enterprising Vologda residents back in 1812.  © California State Parks Department
The Vologda State Pedagogical University hosted an international conference from October 6 to 7 on the role that Russia’s North played in America’s development. St. Petersburg Consul General Sheila Gwaltney, Kansas University Professor Normal Saul (America’s leading authority on early U.S.-Russian relations), and Alaskan scholar Dawn Lea Black joined their Russian colleagues from both government and academia in speaking before a capacity crowd of more than 350 people who were eager to learn more about historical Russian-American connections. Vologda’s merchants – especially Tot’ma native Ivan Kuskov – played a key role in the development of both Russian Alaska and the establishment of California’s Fort Ross back in 1812.

First-Ever NHL-KHL Exhibition Game Helps Break International Ice in St. Petersburg Date: 10/2010 Description: Players from St. Petersburg's SKA and the Carolina Hurricanes congratulate each other after a well-fought match. © U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg photo
St. Petersburg’s SKA hockey team hosted the Carolina Hurricanes for an exhilarating exhibition game at the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg. The heart-pounding, high-scoring game included dazzling play by the ‘Canes Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner (Carolina's game MVP) as well as SKA favorites Alexei Yashin (SKA's game MVP) and Maksim Sushinski. Continuing the “sports diplomacy” after the game, dozens of avid Russian hockey fans waited patiently by the team buses and were elated when ‘Canes Goalie Cam Ward signed autographs and posed for photographs with them. The crowd’s enthusiasm for this match as well as their admiration for the American team were ice-crystal clear from the capacity crowd (the stadium only sells out for championship matches or games against their arch rival Moscow team). Photo»

Virtuoso U.S. Pianist and Respected Russian Fulbrighter Combine Forces to Put America’s 20th Century Classical Music on Russia’s Cultural Map
Date: 09/2010 Description: Sporting a Russian fur hat for the promotional poster, Guy Livingston tickled the ivories - as well as everyone's sense of humor - with his performances of contemporary classical American composers to show that classical music can also be fun. © U.S. Consulate St. Petersburg photoOn September 21, acclaimed U.S. pianist Guy Livingston performed for an overflow audience at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. His performance accompanied the presentation of the first Russian-language reference work on contemporary U.S. composers to appear in over 50 years by providing a series of live musical “illustrations” for Professor Olga Manulkina’s, a Russian Fulbright Alumna, biographical texts. The U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg was able to “harmonize” the publication of this new 700+ page work entitled From Ives to Adams: American Music of the 20th Century together with pianist Guy Livingston’s St. Petersburg tour.

Embassy Sponsored Film Festival Showcases Acclaimed American Documentaries to Packed Audiences in Moscow Date: 09/2010 Description: The Facebook contest winners with Chressanthis and Wilf. © American Embassy Moscow photo
The “Show US!” American documentary film festival took place in Moscow on September 18-22, 2010. This first-ever festival attracted over 1,200 people to six screenings. In conjunction with the festival, the Embassy also hosted two speakers: James Chressanthis, a famous documentary film director and cinematographer, and Stuart Wilf, an Iraq war veteran and the subject of a documentary film. The movies shown during the festival covered an array of issues in contemporary America life (i.e. immigration, war, the environment, etc.). On the eve of the festival, the Embassy’s Facebook page launched a contest for documentary movie lovers and three winners received invitations to the opening ceremony and a private photo op with Chressanthis and Wilf.

U.S. Media Expert Teaches American-Style Internet Journalism At Russia’s Second Largest University
On September 6-18, Kris Vera-Phillips – a multimedia news producer for Sacramento’s ABC-affiliate News 10 – conducted a series of classes and workshops at Russia’s second largest Journalism School at St. Petersburg State University. More than 100 students from three different academic years attended her talks covering a variety of issues. In addition to working with students, Ms. Vera-Phillips led two “train the trainer” seminars for journalism faculty on “Navigating Social Media Networks” and “Global Journalism vs. Hyperlocal Journalism.”

New St. Petersburg Exhibit Shows Russian Audiences How “United We Are Strong”
Date: 2010 Description: The U.S. version of the WWII ''United We Are Strong'' poster. © GPO, Public Use License photo
To celebrate the 65th Anniversary of the end of World War II, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle opened a new exhibit at the Military Medical Museum on September 2nd called “United We Are Strong.” The exhibit documents how Soviet doctors and nurses – often with the help of U.S.-provided medical supplies – saved the lives of at least 208 U.S. servicemen during World War II.

Silent Film + Live Music Festival Rocks St. Petersburg
Date: 1921 Description: Charlie Chaplin shares the stage with The Kid, Jackie Cooper. © Public Domain photoThe U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg’s ongoing “Silent Film + Live Music” monthly film series to celebrate Hollywood’s 100th anniversary of the first Hollywood film has taken on a life of its own thanks to word of mouth and social media networks like V Kontakte! (Russia’s answer to Facebook). As a result, an overflow crowd showed up to watch Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1921) accompanied by local music legend Aleksandr Lygun on September 18.

American Photographer Extols Ural Industry
Date: 08/2010 Description: Gallery goers comment on one of Andrew Garn's pieces at the opening of his exhibit ''Industriality: Bethlehem - Magnitogorsk - Polevskoy,'' in Yekaterinburg.  © U.S. Consulate Yekaterinburg photo
In August and September, Andrew Garn, a photographer from the New York City, shot photos of the industrial giants of the Urals – Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Plant and Severskiy Tubular Plant along with taking photos of local architecture, road adventures, and street life of the big and small Ural cities. His exhibit entitled “Industriality: Bethlehem – Magnitogorsk – Polevskoy,” opened on September 7 at the Yekaterinburg Gallery of Contemporary Art.

Dave Weckl, Ric Fierabracci and George Whitty Wow Audiences in Vladivostok
Date: 08/2010 Description: At the concert: Musicians are thrilled that the audience is so grateful.  © U.S. Consulate Vladivostok photoOn August 27-31, the U.S. Consulate General in Vladivostok, the Primorye Regional Philharmonic, and the recreational center ‘Fabrik’ supported the performances of three American jazz artists in the Russian Far East city of Vladivostok. The event attracted hundreds of young musicians and fans from all over the Russian Far East.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Visits Vladivostok for the First Time
Date: 08/2010 Description: JARVIS crew members join their young colleagues from the children's cancer ward in drawing and painting masterpieces.  © U.S. Consulate Vladivostok photoOn August 25-29, for the first time in the history of U.S.-Russian naval cooperation in the Russian Far East, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter JARVIS joined her counterparts from China, Korea, Russia, and Japan to participate in naval maneuvers in the “Peter the Great” gulf. They also visited with patients of the Children’s Cancer Ward at the Children’s Regional Oncological Center. At the Rehabilitation Center, the Coast Guardsmen listened to the children perform traditional Russian folk songs, toured the center, watched a documentary on the center’s origins, and participated in relay races and games.

Volleyball Champion Misty May-Treanor Participates as Sports Envoy In United States-Russia Sports Exchange
Date: 08/2010 Description: Misty May-Treanor working with Russian volleyball players in Moscow.  © U.S. Embassy Moscow
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor went to Moscow as a Sports Envoy to conduct beach volleyball clinics for Russian and American youth on August 9 and 10. A delegation of 20 American youth volleyball players and 4 coaches also traveled to Russia for a beach volleyball exchange program August 6-21, 2010. The coaches and youth, selected in conjunction with USA Volleyball, were hosted by the Russian Volleyball Federation. Read More» Photos» Video»

The U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Brings Bluegrass Music to Russia
Date: 07/2010 Description: Doctor and Nurse Banjo perform in Semyonka with Justin Hoffenberg on Fiddle and Robert Palomo on bass.  © U.S. Consulate St. PetersburgOn July 20-21, the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission introduced a new American word--and a new musical form--to Vologda, the “Cultural Capital of Northern Russia,” when it sponsored the first-ever Russian Bluegrass Festival headlined by Colorado’s own Dr. Banjo. Then, on July 22, the sound of bluegrass filled St. Petersburg’s airwaves when Dr. Banjo played live on Radio Peterburg--Russia’s oldest radio station with an estimated 600,000 listeners. Event Flyer» Video of Festival» Video of St. Petersburg Events» Photos»

Sports Sub-Group Swimming Exchange
Date: 2010 Description: The Russian Sports Visitors take in their first baseball game -- the Florida Marlins v. the Washington Nationals at Land Shark Stadium in Carol City, FL.  - State Dept ImageFollowing the success of its Russian Basketball Sports Visitor Program, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs SportsUnited Office hosted a delegation of Russian youth in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a swimming program July 16-30, 2010. Press Release» Student Visitors Blog» Sports United Blog»

Sports Sub-Group Basketball Exchange
Date: 2010 Description: President Barack Obama takes a shot alongside Russian youth sports visitors on the White House basketball court. © White House Image
On May 24, the Sports sub-group’s inaugural basketball exchange made a stop at the White House. Watch video of the President shooting hoops with Russian students (at minute 3:27). Photos» Event Page» Student Visitors Blog»

Meeting of the Sub-Group on Culture
Date: 2010 Description: Members of the Culture Sub-Working group delegation pose in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History after a tour of the museum during working group meetings. © Photo courtesy of Brent GlassOn May 19-20, Under Secretary McHale hosted a meeting of the sub-group on culture to discuss recent progress and ways to improve cooperation in the areas of visual arts, performing arts, film, literature, and more. Press Release»

Education Sub-Group Fulbright Community College Seminar
Date: 2010 Description: Attendees of the Fulbright Community College Administrators Program pose for a group photo.  - State Dept ImageFor a two week period in early April 2010, the Fulbright Program in Russia welcomed six senior community college leaders from the United States to Russia, where they met with Russian government representatives, participated in a two-day conference, and visited leading Russian universities and colleges both in Moscow and throughout Russia. Information on the Fulbright Community College Administrator Seminar»


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