From April 18, 2016 to April 25, 2016, the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) hosted a group of nine students and a faculty member from Moscow’s Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies (ISKRAN). This was ISKRAN’s thirteenth annual visit to CISSM. The visit was part of the joint Collaborative Education and Security Project, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, to develop and foster the next generation of Russian and U.S. leaders in security policy and foreign affairs. CISSM and ISKRAN launched the Collaborative Education and Security Project in 2004, with the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Over the past 13 years, more than 110 students have participated in the project and have been given the opportunity to travel to the United States to exchange ideas and establish connections with American students and experts in their fields of study.
Each year during their visit, ISKRAN students receive hands-on policy making experience working with Maryland School of Public Policy (SPP) students on joint policy memoranda, meeting with experts and policy-makers from leading think tanks and institutions in Washington, D.C., and participating in seminars with SPP faculty.
This year, the ISKRAN students were specifically interested in hearing more from their American counterparts about the upcoming U.S. presidential election and its impact on the bilateral relationship. The Russian students were surprised to learn that American experts were on the whole optimistic for the improvement of U.S.-Russian relations in the near future. One student said she was surprised to see this “willingness to seek compromise.” Both the students and the experts acknowledged, however, that the mutual distrust impeding cooperation could not be resolved on its own and that both sides would need to actively engage in broad dialogue to address the challenges in the relationship.