Monday, April 8, 2013

U.S. diplomat's visit

Jonathon A. Kent, second secretary at the U.S Embassy in Moscow, visited our Institute last Thursday.

He began his visit with a brief tour of Elektrostal--making a circuit around the city that included Lenin, Nikolaev, Soviet (including Oktyabr cultural center), Zakharchenko, Karl Marx (and the cultural center), and Mir (including the Kristall arena and sports complex).

After a visit with Sergei Kazantsev and lunch with Johan, Judy, Larisa Kazantseva, and Sergei Serov, Jonathon Kent met with students of the fifth year. Natalya Razumovskaya and some students from other groups also joined us. Jonathon began with a presentation on U.S.-Russian bilateral trade and investments--including recent developments and potential for growth.

In the following question-and-answer period, he asked students what drew them to study English. Students talked about their studies and their diploma work, and their plans for future careers. Jonathon described his own education--physics as an undergraduate, and economics in his graduate studies. We had a chance to compare the role of the liberal arts in both the USA and Russian higher education.

In the tea following class, we had a chance for a more personal discussion. Jonathon described his preparation for service in the U.S. Foreign Service, and a typical day in the life of a diplomat. Summing up his impressions of the day, he said that he was impressed by the level of English of our students and their thoughtful insights on education in Russia and language learning, broadly. He was happy for the opportunity to spend time in our part of Moscow oblast--his first visit here since arriving in Moscow.

For further reading on the themes of his presentation to 501/502: Jonathon Kent recommends the following articles (in both Russian and English) from ambassador Michael McFaul's LJ blog:

Russia joins the WTO (with chart of Russian-US trade volume)
Sochi Investment Forum 2012
Golden Autumn: U.S.-Russia agricultural ties
The New Normal: U.S., Russia--equal trading partners

Thank you, students and instructors, for making our guest welcome at NGI!

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