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ECU joins Russia to establish MPA program

(Sept. 25, 2001)   —   Good relations between the United State and Russia have reached the education front and East Carolina University has been given a role to play in a Russian city that was once guarded by the Soviets and off-limits to western eyes.

The Urals Academy of Public Administration (UAPA) in Ekaterinburg, in a partnership with ECU, will become the first school in Russia to establish a master of public administration program. The program will involve visits by faculty from ECU to the Russian campus as well as Russian faculty taking part in teaching projects at ECU.

A $250,000 grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State will support the program over a three-year period.

Dr. Carmine Scavo, an ECU professor in the Department of Political Science, said the program "represents a bold new initiative for ECU's MPA Program, one in which we can lend our expertise to an area of the world that needs it badly."

He said the Russians are not adequately prepared for public administration, policy and human resources management.

"They are very advanced in science, but only some one in 20 professional administrators in Russia have any training in public administration, and virtually none have graduate training," he said. He added that those with advanced training are mostly engineers.

"It's important to get trained people at the local and regional levels," Scavo said.

The project will bring three Russians to ECU on Oct. 20 to work with faculty and participate as team-teachers. The visitors include: Vladimir Loskutoz, the rector (chancellor) of the Urals Academy, Boris Guseletov, an assistant rector, and Yelena Sazonova, a grants administrator and program coordinator.

Sazonova completed a graduate degree in public administration at ECU last May. She attended ECU under the Muskie Freedom Support Act.

ECU faculty including Scavo will travel to the Urals campus in December.

"There is a great deal to do to get this program up and running," said Scavo.

He said that one of the problems encountered so far has been in communication. There is a 10-hour time difference between Ekaterinburg and the eastern U.S. time zone. This means that an e-mail message sent during the workday from Russian arrives late at night in the U.S.

Another problem involves the use of the words "policy" and "politics." They both have the same meaning in the Russian language.

"We've got to find a way to help them distinguish between the two," said Scavo.

The city of Ekaterinburg is east of the Urals mountain range and is at the center of the Urals and Siberia. It was named after Catherine, the wife of Russian Czar Peter the Great. When communism was established early in the 20th century the name was changed to Sverdlovsk.

After World War II the region became the second biggest industrial region in Russia and was closed to foreigners because many of the plants there produced materials for the military.

In 1960, an American spy plane, flying above the city, was shot down. The pilot ejected safety. He was held in a Russian prison and later exchanged for a Russian spy.

In 1979 one of the city's military factories that was working on an antidote for biological weapons had a chemical leak and two hundred people died of anthrax. The government blamed the deaths on "bad meat" and only recently admitted to what really happened.

After Perestroika, in 1992, the original name Ekaterinburg was returned to the city.

Scavo said the Urals Academy campus was


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481