The Monterey Summer Symposium on Russia recently welcomed 12 graduate fellows for an intense 7-week program that introduces them to top American, European, and Russian experts.
This is the third annual Monterey Summer Symposium on Russia, an initiative that strives to bring together the brightest of the future generation of Russia-focused leaders with today’s top experts. The majority of the visiting experts come from Russia and travel to Monterey to deliver lectures in Russian. The 7-week program runs from June 24 to August 9 on the MIIS campus.
The fellows have different academic backgrounds in literary, cultural, and geopolitical studies, but every fellow has advanced proficiency in the Russian language necessary for a nuanced understanding of Russian culture and politics. Together they represent several top universities: Cambridge, Fordham, Georgetown, University of Indiana, Johns Hopkins, New York University, and Oxford.
Participants are attracted to the unique opportunity to work with experts in the field, and for the language component. Riley Ossorgin, a participant this year and the director of the Russian Program at Fordham University, was drawn in by MSSR's list of knowledgeable experts across disciplines. "I was especially intrigued by the idea of meeting and learning from professionals who could help me contextualize contemporary Russia in areas beyond my expertise, all while practicing professional grade Russian," said Ossorgin.
The Symposium is structured to provide fellows unparalleled access to top Russian, American, and European experts, including diplomats, journalists, thought leaders, and scientists, with the goal of developing a holistic understanding of Russia and improving prospects for the normalization of US-Russian and EU-Russian relations. Lectures focus on a wide array of topics: US-Russian diplomacy, Byzantine origins of Russian identity, nuclear nonproliferation, the evolution of Russian journalism since perestroika, the future of cyberspace and smart cities, and the role played by Russian security services in the Russian internet among many others. Beyond lectures, fellows participate in a range of interactive learning and networking opportunities such as summit simulations, negotiation workshops, and informal evening discussions with experts.
The Institute's Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies (GIRS), an umbrella program of MSSR, is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, with the goal to promote advanced, comprehensive study of contemporary Russia.
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At a time when relations between Russia and the United States are at their worst, the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies (GIRS) has identified new pathways for academic cooperation, knowledge-share and expert analysis between MIIS graduate students and Russian scholars and experts.
Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov spoke to Middlebury Institute students and later joined them for an informal lunch and conversation.
Next-generation Russia experts gained invaluable training at an eight-week summer symposium offered by the Middlebury Institute’s Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies, with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York.