Over 50 Alfa Fellowship Program Fellows, alumni, and friends gathered on the evening of May 14 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Alfa Fellowship Program. Distinguished guests and speakers included Mikhail Fridman, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Alfa Group Consortium and Petr Aven, President of Alfa-Bank. Also in attendance were Alexander Darchiev, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Russian Federation to the United States, and Ambassador Richard Burt, McLarty Associates.
During his keynote address, Mr. Fridman stated: “The program launched by Alfa-Bank in 2004 has celebrated today its 5th anniversary and we are proud to consider that the knowing the reality of modern Russia provided by our program to young American specialists has became undoubtedly an improving instrument for building mutual understanding between the Russians and the Americans, helping to overcome old stereotypes. It is important that our partners abroad, including those in the United States, will have an objective view on what path is pursued by Russia, and on how our society is developing in all spheres from the first hand.”
Guests heard a statement read by Counselor Darchiev on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov in which he expressed his hope that the expertise gained by programs participants, knowledge of the actual political and economic situation in Russia will not only help their careers, but will also allow them to contribute to building strategic relations between Russia and the United States in the spirit of mutual respect and consideration for each others interests. «I am pleased to note the interest shown towards the program by specialists from other countries — next year it will bring together representatives of Great Britain. This serves as a clear evidence of its significant potential,» noted the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in his statement.
Also included in the evenings program was a presentation by fellowship alum, Nathan Hodge, who discussed his book, A Nuclear Family Vacation: Travels in the World of Atomic Energy, published in 2008.