Fairfield, Russian University sign agreement for exchange of students, faculty


Fairfield University and Herzen University of St. Petersburg, Russia, have signed an agreement for the exchange of faculty and students to begin in the fall of 1997. Dr. Olga Filimonova will come here from Russia to teach English and English literature. Then in January, 1998, Dr. David McFadden, associate professor history at Fairfield, will go to Herzen to teach courses in American history and American-Russian relations and continue his research on Quaker relief in the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1931.

Two Fairfield students, now enrolled in Russian and East European Studies and learning Russian, will also travel to Herzen in January, 1998, and a Herzen student arrived here last month to study business and economics.

To highlight the joint venture, Fairfield will conduct "Russia at Fairfield 1997," a series of events culminating with the PepsiCo International Studies Lecture to be delivered by Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Federation's permanent representative to the United Nations, on April 2 at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Other events scheduled include an art exhibit "Silent Screams from the Russian Underground" at the Walsh Art Gallery, March 7 to April 13; and a program of national folk dances by the Brighton Ballet Theatre on March 26.

Fairfield University's Russian and East European Studies Program, funded in part by the PepsiCo Foundation, is the first American undergraduate program on Russian Studies founded since the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Now in its third year, the Fairfield program enrolls 15 to 20 students each year and currently has 22 studying the Russian language.

The joint agreement was signed by the Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., University President, and Herzen Rector Professor G.A. Bordovsky and will involve the fields of American Studies, including history, politics, literature, fine arts and culture, environmental studies, economics, finance, management, and international business.

The signing will facilitate the exchange of undergraduates and graduate students in business and education; internships with American and Russian corporations; long-term and short-term exchange of professors for teaching and supervising of interns; and starting in June 1998, a new one-month summer program - the Fairfield University Campus in St. Petersburg. This will offer undergraduates, including students from other colleges, Fairfield credit for courses taught in the heart of St. Petersburg. Fairfield has a similar arrangement in Italy where it conducts the Fairfield University Campus in Florence.

Students in Russian and East European Studies enroll in Russian language for three years and may choose from four courses taught in history by Dr. McFadden, director of the program; three courses in visual and performing arts; three in politics; two in comparative literature; finance - investing in the former Soviet Union; and comparative economic systems.

Herzen University, also known as the Russian State Pedagogical University, was founded in 1797. One of Russia's largest and oldest institutions of higher education, it focuses on training secondary school teachers and professors in many disciplines. It is named in honor of Aleksander Herzen, a 19th century Russian philosopher and journalist who emigrated to Paris where he advocated democratic socialism and support of peasant communes.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 1, 1997