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, media, sports and professional exchanges. The two senior officials jointly chair the U.S.-Russia Presidential Commission’s Education, Culture, Sports, and Media (ECSM) Working Group. Presidents Obama and Medvedev established the U.S.-Russia Presidential Commission (BPC) in July 2009 to improve coordination between both countries, to address shared challenges, and to explore new opportunities for partnership in areas of mutual interest. The ECSM Working Group is focused on developing personal connections and innovative collaboration to promote new dialogue and understanding between the people of the United States and Russia.
Under Secretary Sonenshine took this opportunity to congratulate Special Presidential Representative Shvydkoy on his contributions to the success of the 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. Both the United States and Russia have worked together to promote educational exchanges at all levels. In February 2012, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Educational Cooperation that will foster future exchanges.
Under Secretary Sonenshine and Special Presidential Representative Shvydkoy also discussed plans for the Media Sub-Working Group to develop our first young media professionals exchange, operated by the International Center for Journalists and the Moscow Union of Journalists, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. In the coming months, the Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group looks forward to working in partnership to increase opportunities for educational exchanges. The next meeting of the U.S. and Russian Sub-Working Group is scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., in October 2012.
For additional information on the Education, Culture, Sports, and Media Working Group, contact Ray Castillo, U.S. Department of State, 202-647-5993, CastilloRA@state.gov.