200th Anniversary of U.S.-Russia Diplomatic Relations (1807-2007) US Department of State
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America and Russia: Bicentennial Essay Contest Winners

Top winners Named Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows and Visit Star City in Moscow

Space exploration, health care cooperation and people-to-people exchanges were the winning essays in the "Through the Eyes of Youth: 200 Years of US-Russia Relations" bicentennial essay competition for high school students in Russia and the United States. The Russian winners, from Yakutia, Dubna and St. Petersburg, were announced May 10th.

More than 300 high school students from 80 cities, towns and villages in Russia and the United States submitted essays answering the question: "In 1807, the U.S. and Russia agreed to establish official diplomatic relations. In your opinion, what has been the most significant example of U.S. -Russia cooperation in the past 200 years?"

Winners in Russia and the United States include:

1st Place Russia Winner Aleksandr Perepechenov, age 15 from Mirnyy, Sakha (Yakutiya) Republic, who wrote on The First Handshake in Space

2nd place, Russia Yelizaveta Chugunova, age 15, from St. Petersburg, who wrote on Cooperation in Healthcare.

3d place, Russia Yana Ashmanskaya, age 16, from Dubna, Moscow Oblast, who wrote on Heart to Heart Diplomacy on the Sister City partnership between Dubna and La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Honorable Mentions for Russia include: Yekaterina Shmeleva, Tambov; Yelena Lapina, Cherepovets; Viktoriya Ostroukhova, Samara; Dzhirgal Dzhardzhiyeva, Lagan, Kalmyk Republic; Yekaterina Uemlyanina, Arkhangelsk., Lee Ilia, Ulan-Ude, Buryat Republic and Vladimir Kucheryavykh, Moscow

Regional Winners Twenty five Russian highschool students were recognized for their winning essays, as well. The complete list of the winners in eight Russian regions is available here.

In the United States, the winner is Amanda George, a student at the Buckingham, Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge, MA, for her essay on Student Exchanges.

The competition, held in eight regions across Russia's 11 time zones and in Massachusetts, was cosponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, the Fulbright Office for Russia, Moscow State University's Foreign Language Division and the Massachusetts Historical Society of Boston.

Winners Earn Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowships

The top two Russian winners will travel to the United States to take part in the "Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Summer Institute" at Wake Forest University in North Carolina in July. Named for the legendary American statesman Benjamin Franklin, this U.S. exchange initiative fosters friendships between young people in America and their counterparts in Europe and Central Asia.

Franklin, who could be called the transatlantic man of his day, was a contemporary of Ekaterina Dashkova during the reign of Catherine the Great. Franklin invited Dashkova to become the first woman member of the American Philosophical Society. As its director, Dashkova made Franklin the first American member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences and Arts in St. Petersburg. They both exemplified the ideals of the Enlightenment that flourished in Europe and America and still shape our world today.

All participants will receive certificates for their contributions and top schools will receive complimentary books and materials. Winning essays are posted on the U.S. Embassy's web site at www.usembassy.ru.

Most successful essays presented historic events through personal and family experience, and demonstrated fresh and original interpretation of significant moments in the history of bilateral relations. The contest helped develop students' creative thinking and writing skills, stimulated them to study new material and search for information, and promoted the use of information technologies in education.

Student essays covered an array of historic events, including the sale of Alaska, cooperation in health care and science, the anti-fascist coalition of WWII, and the value of people-to-people exchanges. Many students analyzed the role of such prominent political figures as John Quincy Adams, the first U.S. diplomatic envoy to Russia; and leaders such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mikhail Gorbachev. Many students wrote about the "youngest ambassador" Samantha Smith, a teenager who traveled to the USSR at the height of the Cold War.

For more information, please write to "200Anniversary@state.gov" and review the special contest issue of "Hello-Online" magazine at www.hello-online.ru. Further information is available on the US Embassy's Web Site for the 200th Anniversary of US-Russia Relations at http://moscow.usembassy.gov/200th/index.php

Contest Details: Description, Eligibility, Regional Coordinators and other details

Two hundred years of U.S.-Russian diplomatic relations have taught us that Americans and Russians are essential partners in promoting peace and prosperity around the world. Every effort we can make to strengthen that partnership is a wise investment in our common future. -- Ambassador John D. Negroponte, US Deputy Secretary of State at the Eastwest Institute 2007 Annual Awards Dinner on April 25, 2007 in Washington, DC.

  • Connections
  • Health
  • Business
  • Philanthropy
  • Space
  • Nuclear Cooperation
  • Rule of Law, and
  • Sports.

    Exchange in the arts and culture fields will be spotlighted in the Bicentennial Art and Culture series, while the Bicentennial Discussion Forums at Spaso House will provide a platform for innovative thought in global affairs, science, industry and other fields. The new exhibit Closer Than We Think" commemorates 200 Years of U.S. - Russia relations and will travel across Russia beginning March 2007. Look for this dynamic show at American Centers and Corners and at U.S. Consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostock.