"... the nature of Russia's development at this stage is going to require geometrically larger numbers of trained people, at managerial and leadership levels as well as the next levels down."
James F. Collins
Former US Ambassador to Russia
November 9, 1989! The opening of the Berlin Wall. More than 70 years of Soviet domination preceded by centuries of Czarist autocracy soon left the younger people of the Russian Federation with few relevant role models upon entering the Twenty-first Century. Although "free," the first few years of Russian autonomy were mostly chaotic with an economy that initially faltered and regressed. Young Russian women and men were enthusiastic, intelligent, and eager to join the swiftly emerging global economy. But sadly, much of this first decade often appeared to be smothered by brutal oligarchies and Kafkaesque bureaucracies.
Donald R. Sohn
President and Director
Ten years later, The New Horizons Project, Inc. (NHP) was created "to empower young Russian participants to contribute to the social and economic stabilization of their home communities, and thereby contribute toward Russia's integration into the global society." This program is multi-faceted; e.g., NHP was a joint host of the First Strategic Conference on US-Russian Educational Programs in Washington, DC in November 2002. However, initially NHP may best be understood by jumping to the focal point -- the U.S. Fellowship Program, the centerpiece of the program.
NHP Fellowship Program
A small number of talented young Russians drawn from the regions on the basis of their personal potential are chosen to visit the United States for nine months each year as NHP Fellows. These are the people least burdened by the Soviet mentality and are the key to the building of their nation's future. The Fellowship Program blends professional internships with non-credit academic courses. This primary work also incorporates an in-depth exposure to a broad spectrum of cultural, civic and charitable activities as well as personal and professional ethics. Ethical behavior is at the core of the trusting community; it is the sine qua non for a vibrant economy. Indeed, ethics is the focus of The New Horizons Project; it is an encounter with personal transformation.
The chosen participants have each agreed prior to entry to return to their native communities in Russia upon completion of the Program, to be employed either by a Russian enterprise or by a foreign enterprise already operating in Russia. Thus, their newly-acquired proficiencies and perceptions will be invested in the wellbeing of their home communities. Progressive Russian employers have been identified and involved in the Program; participants are assured of employment in challenging and stimulating positions on mutually agreeable terms upon returning home.
The NHP Fellowship Program is not a degree-granting program. Rather, it is experientially intensive, designed to stimulate each participant to develop those personal and professional qualities that are critical to a future leadership role and will be the underpinning for the participant to make valued contributions to his or her employer and community upon returning to Russia. This program is designed specifically to create competent and ethical professional business leaders for Russia; it is designed specifically not to facilitate or encourage emigration of these outstanding young people to a Western nation upon completion.
William A. King
Executive Vice President
Academically, all participants take a thoughtfully-selected orientation course at the Middlesex Community College (Bedford and Lowell, Massachusetts) titled "The American Dream" -- an extensive overview of American history, government, politics and culture. -- During both the first and second semesters, graduate level classes in their individual fields of interest are selected and attended by the Fellows at various colleges and universities in greater Boston. -- These collaborating institutions (in addition to the Middlesex Community College) have recently included Bentley College, Suffolk University, Northeastern University, Boston College, and the Harvard University Extension Program.
The NHP Fellows secure at least one internship (unpaid) with a US company during their residency. Their Russian employers are actively involved in the choice of this internship, and customarily assign research projects that are relevant to the work with which these women and men are expected to be engaged upon returning home. And their Russian employer can monitor, evaluate, and critique the performance of each Fellow throughout the entire nine months of the Program. Telephone consultations and discussions are increasingly common. The committed involvement of their Russian employers is a critical part of the success of this Program.
What are the measurable benefits of collaborating with and supporting the NHP Fellows Program? The standards and quality of Russian universities are quite high; all of the Fellows have outstanding credentials from these institutions. They can be valued aides in their host company, and can subsequently be effectual links with their sponsoring company upon returning to Russia. Host companies are establishing the best possible future "partners."
And the Fellows, most of whom have had teaching experience, enrich any classroom. They can offer lectures, classroom discussions, and perspective on the complex social, political, and economic issues confronting a vast nation that is undergoing a difficult process of transformation from institutions defined by the culture and methodology of the Soviet era into a free-market democratic society. See 2002-2003 Fellows' Profiles
Funding and Governance
To assure superior performance, selection of the NHP Fellows is need-blind. Not surprisingly, few of the participants or their families can afford the costs of this Program. Therefore, substantial financial aid is a continuing necessity. Participants and their families do contribute to the costs to the best of their abilities. And their Russian employers also contribute to the best of their abilities. But most of the funding has been provided by generous private support. Initial and ongoing funding has been provided by a private foundation. The General Motors Foundation has also contributed a substantial three-year champion grant. And the Daimler-Chrysler Foundation is an important recent benefactor. Understandably, additional foundation and corporate support is needed and will be welcomed.
Day-to-day operations are under the attentive direction of the Officers and Executive Board of NHP. This challenging initiative is especially fortunate to have the conscientious guidance of an eminent Advisory Board including key Russian representatives. The New Horizons Project is being erected on an imposing foundation.
_________________In you would like further information, you are invited to contact:
William A. King
Executive Vice President and Director of Corporate Affairs
The New Horizons Project, Inc.
238 Main Street, Suite 401
Cambridge, MA 02142, USA
Telephone: (617) 868-0621 -- FAX: (617) 868-7329
227 Fuller Street
Revised: April 15, 2003 TAF
© Copyright 2003 Thomas A. Faulhaber / The Business Forum Online®, All Rights Reserved