The second group of young professionals from the United States arrived in Moscow on April 5th to participate on the Alfa Fellowship Program and begin six months of intensive professional work experience in Russia.
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 20042006, three groups of Fellows will spend six months each in Russia — the first arrived in late September 2004, the second class just arrived in April 2005 and the third class will arrive in July 2005.
The Alfa Fellowship Program is governed by an impressive Advisory Board of prominent Russian business leaders, officials, intellectuals and media experts, and chaired by Alfa-Bank President Peter Aven. 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.”
Thanks to the excellent cooperation of Institute of Economic Analysis, TNK-BP, Boston Consulting Group (Moscow) Limited, Renaissance Capital, Higher School of Economics, Radio Ekho Moskvi and the Administrations of Samara, Rostov-na-Donu and Novgorod who have all agreed to accept Fellows for work assignments, the first two groups of Alfa Fellows will gain great professional experience. This will help them to develop a more accurate and realistic view of life and business in Russia. 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 spend two weeks in orientation seminars and meetings with government and private sector leaders before moving on to their professional assignments and visiting regions. Alfa Fellows are placed in professional assignments at one of any number of leading Russian organizations in the fields of business, economics, journalism, law, public policy, and government. The first and second groups of Fellows were 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.