Alfa-Bank President Peter Aven today announced the arrival of the first class of Alfa Fellows, who will begin six months of intensive professional work experiences in Russia. The announcement came at a joint press conference with Adviser to President of Russian Federation Andrei Illarionov who is a member of the Alfa Fellows Advisory Board in Russia and who has assisted with job placements for the Fellows.
The Alfa Fellowship Program is a new initiative of Alfa-Bank designed to provide direct, hands-on work experience in Russia for young professionals from the United States. For 2004-2006, three groups of Fellows will spend six months each in Russia — the first arrived in late September 2004, the second class will arrive in April 2005 and the third class will arrive in July 2005.
In announcing the program, Aven noted, “Our experience in the US indicates that too few American professionals have direct exposure to post-Soviet Russia and that too many American private and public sector officials are still locked in a Cold War mentality. The Alfa Fellows Program will help to educate a new generation of American thinkers on the realities of the new Russia. We think it can only be a good thing for Russian — US relations to have more exposure and more understanding of the realities of new Russia.”
The Alfa Fellowship Program is governed by an impressive Advisory Board of prominent Russian business, officials, intellectuals and media experts. The Chairman of the Advisory Board, Alfa-Bank President Peter Aven announced the work placements for the September Fellows. “We are fortunate and grateful to have the excellent cooperation of Institute of Economic Analysis, TNK-BP, Boston Consulting Group (Moscow) Limited and Radio Ekho Moskvy who have all agreed to accept Fellows for work assignments. The professional experience these Fellows will gain will help them to develop a more accurate and realistic view of life and business in Russia. It is our hope that over time, these Fellows, and those that follow them in subsequent years, will move on to senior decision-making positions in the public and private sector, and put their new knowledge of Russia to use for the good of Russian — American relations.”
The Fellows arrived in Moscow on 27 September and spent two weeks in orientation seminars and meetings with government and private sector leaders before moving on to their professional assignments. The first group of Fellows is already fluent in Russian, but future groups will include intensive language training so that Fellows need not be fluent in order to apply.
The Alfa Fellowship Program is run in the US by CDS International, Inc., which handles recruiting, selection and training. The Russian part of the program is managed by the Moscow Center for International Fellowships, an independent institute that sees to all local aspects of the program.