Three Russian Universities are Awarded Centers for Advanced Study and Education"

RIGOROUS COMPETITION PRODUCES THREE REGIONAL WINNERS OF UNUSUAL ACADEMIC PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN AMERICAN FOUNDATIONS AND RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF HIGHER EDUCATION

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Three Russian regional universities have been chosen to become sites for a Center For Advanced Study and Education (CASE) that will enable the universities to create academic hubs for scholars in the social sciences and the humanities throughout the region and become vibrant intellectual communities for established and emerging intellectuals. Carnegie Corporation of New York and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation have joined forces with the Russian Ministry of Higher Education to create these centers of excellence which will enhance opportunities for research, education and scholarship in Russia. The centers build on other higher education initiatives in Russia, including the Open Society Institute’s Megaproject, aimed at strengthening the departments in the social sciences and the humanities at Russian regional universities.

The first round of centers was chosen by a governing board, which includes members of the program’s principal sponsors and organizers, and academic advisors from inside and outside Russia. Tomsk State University, Voronezh State University and Ural State University were recognized in this first round of competition for their vision for a CASE, academic strength and regional intellectual leadership.

"During periods of profound change, universities become more central to the intellectual and spiritual soul of a country," says Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, " and yet often the support for these vital institutions suffers while a society rebuilds itself. We want to make an investment in Russia’s human capital and support the work as well as expand the reach of Russia’s regional scholars."

"Higher education is the critical building block in today’s global society," says Blair Ruble, director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Study. "We believe that these centers will offer scholars as well as the communities in which they reside access to the best minds and scholarship the world has to offer. Established scholars will benefit from these intellectual communities and a new generation of scholars will find the support and environment they need."

The Corporation began the development of the CASEs program with a grant of $2.4 million for two years that will fund the establishment of the first three centers. Funding from the MacArthur Foundation, the Russian Ministry of Higher Education, and possibly other American foundations, will allow the creation of approximately five more centers over the next several years.

The Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center of Washington D.C., which prepared a report that became the early blueprint for these Centers of Advance Study and Education, will work with the Moscow Public Science Foundation that will have responsibility for the daily administration of the program. This Moscow-Washington management team - in conjunction with the governing board - ensures a strong, long-term commitment to building and supporting scholarship in Russia.

"We will build on the strengths that each university possesses and emphasize certain intellectual themes at the Centers," says Andrei Kortunov, president of Moscow Public Science Foundation. "In this rigorous competition that has been underway for the past nine months, it was clear to all involved that despite some tattered buildings and difficulties of the past few years creativity and entrepreneurial spirit has taken root in these universities and there is much to build on."

The Centers for Advanced Study and Education will become hubs for academics who will both teach and undertake research through the auspices of the center. Fellowships will permit regional scholars from the University itself or from institutions in the region to pursue their work within Russia or at scholarly meetings outside the country. The mission of this multi-year commitment to establish and support CASEs is to strengthen universities, restore academic communities, foster a new generation of social scientists and integrate scholars from the region into the West.

The next round of CASEs competition will be launched at the end of January 2001with winners expected to be chosen in late Spring. Criteria and information about the competition for this second round is available through Moscow Public Science Foundation.

TOMSK STATE UNIVERSITY

The theme chosen by Tomsk for its center is "Russia’s Integration into World Community" and will focus on historic influences in the formation of identity and culture, federalism and regionalism, and Russia’s relationship to globalization including specifics of European integration.

URAL STATE UNIVERSITY (YEKATERINBURG)

The Center will devote its work to the theme of "Tolerance in a Contemporary Civilization" and focus on practical suggestions for the creation of a civil society in Russia. Specific research themes include the study of pluralistic societies and their relevance to contemporary Russia, the relationship between culture and history, and social tolerance and a free media.

VORONEZH STATE UNIVERSITY

The Center will build on the university’s commitment to strengthening humanities and has chosen as its theme "Culture in a Contemporary Society". Study will include intercultural communication of cultures, socio-cultural roots of conflict and historical underpinnings of culture. There will also be an emphasis on integrating the humanities with social sciences in the Voronezh region.

Carnegie Corporation of New York was begun by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 for the "advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding" and has an endowment of $1.7 billion as of September 30, 1999. The Corporation expects to issue grants of $75 million in the next year in the areas of education, international peace and security, international development and Special Projects: Reinventing U.S. Democracy.