About the Author: Michele Peters serves as Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
As we celebrate International Education Week (IEW), I am reminded of Secretary Clinton's remarks during her recent trip to Russia about the U.S. government’s interest in forming more people-to-people partnerships to lay a strong foundation for future cooperation. Each year hundreds of Russians and Americans learn firsthand about each other’s people and cultures though a broad range of U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) exchange programs.
For example, Fulbrighters are studying, teaching and conducting research in each other’s countries. American undergraduate, graduate, and secondary school students are studying Russian in intensive language institutes in Krasnodar and Kazan, or on a study abroad program through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program.
Mid-career Russian professionals are building lasting ties with their professional counterparts through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program. Through the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) and Legislative Educational and Practice (LEAP) programs, young Russians are strengthening their understanding of the U.S. legislative process and the role of civil society in the political process. Russian and American teachers of English, math, science and other subjects are implementing what they’ve learned in the U.S - Russia Language, Technology, Math, and Science (LTMS), Teacher Exchange, Teaching Excellence and Achievement, and E-Teacher distance learning programs.
Russian teens are experiencing life with American host families and attending local high schools. Other young people in Russia are learning English after school though the English Access Microsholarship Program. Through the Department’s 14 EducationUSA centers throughout Russia, students interested in studying in the United States receive guidance on the American educational system and tips on how they can pursue study abroad opportunities. And American artists are performing to Russian audiences, leading workshops and master classes, and jamming with their Russian peers.
These programs allow individuals to exchange ideas and increase mutual understanding. Exchange participants experience the culture, traditions and lifestyles of their host countries. On returning home, they relay their exchange experiences to friends, neighbors and classmates, producing a positive multiplier effect.
Our bilateral exchange relationship continues to grow. In July, President Obama and Russian President Medvedev agreed to create a Bilateral Presidential Commission. This bilateral agreement also established a working group to promote relationships through academic, cultural, youth and sports programs.
Learn more about programs in Russia or hosting a Russian exchange participant at exchanges.state.gov.