RACE: The Russian American Cultural Exchange for Students
One of the first grants to be awarded by USIA was provided to Nassau County, (Long Island) schools to fund a student exchange program with partners in Moscow, Russia. Students and their teachers were invited to participate in travel to Russia and Russians were invited to the United States with the goal of learning, understanding and, together, addressing global problems.
SELECTION: Students submitted recommendations from teachers, demonstrated commitment to the goals of RACE, and designed research projects based on a topic of concern to Russians and Americans alike.
PREPARATION: Three months prior to travel, orientation workshops addressed languages, culture, history, customs, and arts of the host country.
CALENDAR: Americans traveled to Russia in February; Russians traveled to the U.S. in October. All visits lasted three weeks.
IN COUNTRY: Students resided in the home of a partner, and his/her family, with specific involvement by the host school and community. Students attended each other’s schools and participated in local events and activities.
DEBRIEFING: Students were required to participate in discussions to assess the impact of travel experience, suggest improvements and design ways in which communication with partners and their parents can continue.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: 463 high school students and their teachers from 30 U.S. and Russian schools participated.
LONG-TERM IMPACT: Students have made return visits to their host countries, at times taking their parents along to meet host parents; Students have continued their study of the Russian/English language, some into graduate school; Students have continued their study of Russian/U.S. culture, history or arts, some into graduate school; Students have entered foreign service to continue representing their countries world-wide.
The Ambassador Alexandr A. Razvin Trust for Russian American Understanding strives to continue this remarkable man’s legacy.