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SUNY-MSU Partnership

SUNY | MSU | Board of Directors

History | Mission Statement | Objectives and Goals

The State University of New York/Moscow State University partnership dates back to the mid-1970s and owes its existence to the vision of then MSU Rektor Rem Kokhlov and SUNY Chancellor Ernest L. Boyer. A physicist by training, Dr. Kokhlov had spent a year of study in at Stamford University in 1959-1960, the second year of the U.S.-Soviet Graduate Exchange Program. In 1973, Dr. Kokhlov became Rektor of MSU and began to look at possibilities for direct exchanges with American universities, as Moscow had direct exchange agreements at the time only with East European academic institutions. Moreover, all exchanges with the West were handled through the Ministry of Higher and Specialized Secondary Education. In 1975, at the invitation of the U.S. Department of State, Kokhlov headed an MSU delegation on a three-week coast-to-coast tour to investigate possibilities for a direct interuniversity exchange agreement. He found the most positive response at the newly established State University of New York. One year earlier, SUNY had signed an agreement with the Maurice Thorez State Pedagogical Institute for a direct exchange of undergraduates in Russian and English language studies. The program, the first direct exchange involving Soviet undergraduates, was going very well.

With its sixty-four campuses and 400,000 students, SUNY was (and remains) the largest state university system in the United States but it was not known very well abroad. Dr. Kokhlov convinced the Soviet hierarchy that the exchange was a good idea, especially since it met a new regulation that had just been passed by the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party, the de facto Soviet legislature, that universities expand their education of specialists in American studies. The agreement was signed on October 4, 1976. The first students were exchanged in 1977.

From 1977 to 2000, SUNY has hosted 279 MSU participants, of whom 153 were faculty, 62 graduate students and 64 undergraduates. On its part, MSU has hosted 307 SUNY participants, of whom 138 were faculty, 152 were graduate students, and 80 were undergraduate students.

In 1997, SUNY and MSU celebrated 20 years of partnership with ceremonies in Moscow and Albany, New York. At that time, both university heads expressed an interest in expanding the relationship further to reflect the global technological and educational advances made since 1977. On September 1, 1999. MSU Rektor Viktor Sadovnichy and then Chancellor John Ryan signed a new agreement to expand and enlarge their twenty-three year old partnership. A SUNY Center on Russia and the United States opened its doors in January 2000, and a sister MSU Center on the United States and Russia was set up in Moscow at MSU’s newly built Science Park. The new centers will allow the two institutions to build quickly upon their traditional exchange program, placing them at the cutting edge of how universities related to one another in the new millennium. The new agreement allows the two largest universities in Russia and the U.S. to expand the program to encompass virtually every aspect of university scholarship. Rare as the establishment of such Centers is under present economic circumstances, the initiative has the requisite budgetary support from both SUNY and MSU.

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Mission Statement

The mission of the Center is to prepare our graduates to excel in the highly competitive global marketplace of the 21st Century through the promotion and enhancement of the positive impact our unique relationship has had on Moscow State and the State University, and the broader communities in the United States and Russia which they serve.

  • In the traditional exchange area of cultural communication, faculty from both systems are working together to apply the most advanced teaching methodologies and technologies to how our students learn Russian, English and other foreign languages. A distance learning course in cross-cultural communication is in development and a two-year study program in the Russian language is in preparation to be offered over the SUNY Learning Network.
  • In the area of the hard sciences, the Centers’ International Studies and Technology Program develops partnerships with business and industry in New York State to provide unique training and research opportunities at Moscow State and the State University in the theoretical and applied sciences, computer science, technology and engineering.
  • Russia is well known for its competency in mathematics and in the preparation of mathematics teachers. Moscow State mathematicians and math educators are joining with their counterparts on the State University campuses to produce the highest quality elementary, secondary and college math education programs for both Russia and the United States.
  • Moscow State and the State University are partners in a World Bank proposal to expand and deepen environmental education throughout the world.
  • Moscow State and State University Computer scientists are working together to enable our communications networks to talk to one another, so that State University students may access the extraordinary library collection of Moscow State University and Moscow State University students can access holdings in State University libraries.
  • Moscow State’s Faculty of Economics and Business has requested our assistance in the training of its junior professors in the teaching of market economics and business administration, areas vital to the transition to democracy in Russia.
  • In the not too distant future, journalism students from both university systems will connect with a virtual Internet radio station launched by a State University professor. Together with young journalists from other regions of the world, Russians and Americans will "broadcast" their news and commentary over the station to be "heard" by anyone who signs on from all over the globe.

In today's world the United States is called upon to assume leadership in defining, addressing and finding solutions to daunting global problems. Russian Federation offers immense opportunities in trade and commerce, the arts and culture. The new exchange of Centers will enable us to meet the challenges of globalization and the lightening speed of communication in a world that has now become a global village. Since our relationship began, the State University has hosted 126 Russian students, and Moscow State, 232 American students. The State University/MSU partnership counts among its alumni on the Russian side a former Russian Central Bank governor and the senior official in charge of World Bank programs in Russia. On the American side, the State University has benefited by alumni who have gone on to distinguished careers in academe, business and government.

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Objectives and Goals of the Center

With this vision in mind, the SUNY Center on Russia and the United States will promote the expansion of cooperation among students and faculty of the SUNY and MSU university systems in the following areas:

  1. Expand student and faculty exchanges across all 64 SUNY campuses and the faculties of MSU to promote and encourage joint educational, scientific and scholarly activities between the two universities and to further and deepen the existing friendship between our two countries.
  2. Assist the faculties of Moscow State University in every way possible to develop courses in business, public administration, law and criminal justice that enable MSU to join the global educational mainstream and maintain its leadership as Russia’s premiere university in educating students for the 21st century.
  3. Enhance existing course delivery and expand the number of course offerings in each university by utilizing all available technology, including the SUNY Learning Network for Distance Learning (SLN), videoconferencing, and interactive communication on the Internet. MSU is the Russian portal for Mirnet or Internet 2, an advanced telecommunications system developed under the joint sponsorship of the Russian Ministry for Science and Technology and the US National Science Foundation.
  4. Cooperate in the digitalization of the holdings of the two library systems and to offer to students at both universities free of charge access to the digitalized book service. In the case of joint SUNY/MSU course offerings, with advance notification the two libraries will digitalize required course materials.
  5. Exchange each other’s faculty to team-teach course, hold specialized seminars, or participate in laboratory or research projects.
  6. Develop professional internship programs in New York State for upper level MSU undergraduates and graduate students in disciplines and professional areas related to their career choice in the anticipation of the installation of a reciprocal program by MSU for SUNY students.

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