Ulises Mejias, Prof. of Media Studies | SUNY Oswego
Apart from the opportunity NYI provides to engage intelligent and dedicated students from Russia and elsewhere, I want to emphasize that the fruits of my interactions extend well beyond the classroom. For instance, this year I published a paper I co-wrote with a former Russian student in the journal Media, Culture and Society, a top journal in my field published by SAGE. I have also advised students—not just from Russia, but from other countries as well—on their theses. Additionally, I am in the process of recruiting some of my NYI students to participate, along with my students in the US and other institutions, in a transnational collaborative online lab for the study of social computing algorithms. These are just a few examples of the rich interactions that take place thanks to NYI.
I attended five NYI opening ceremonies in five years, and in each one I have heard functionaries from both the US and Russian side highlight the importance of maintaining cultural and intellectual exchanges, specially during periods of strained relations between the two countries. I couldn’t agree more, and I have been fortunate enough to experience the rewards of such exchanges. To me, NYI embodies the promise that, regardless of the occasional diplomatic impasse between governments, the people of these two great nations can come together and learn from each other. I don’t know of any other US-Russia program that has the same consistent record of success, and I hope there will be continued support this great effort.
Jonathan David Bobaljik, Professor of Linguistics, 2016-2017 Guggenheim Fellow | University ot Connecticut
The wonderful NY-St. Petersburg Institute of Linguistics, Cognition, and Culture has been and remains an extremely stimulating event, of mutual benefit in many ways to all the participants, staff and students alike. Within my own field (theoretical linguistics), NYI has proven to have a rich talent pool of engaged, intelligent, intellectually curious students, many of whom have gone on to international prominence at the junior level.
In addition to the recruiting for our graduate program, the Institute provides an exceptional environment for scholars at all levels, from undergraduates through established faculty, to engage with one another intensively for three weeks in a stimulating setting. Not only do we have the opportunity to dive deeply into intellectual matters, bringing differing perspectives and backgrounds to the discussion, but the close contact over the extended time allows us many opportunities to get to know each other, reaching out and establishing personal bridges across cultures. My classroom lectures may largely be limited to the theoretical material, but meeting new people every year in this format allows for robust, challenging, and stimulating exchanges of ideas on all manner of topics outside of the main classroom environment. This is a wonderful institute, and eminently deserving of continued support. It certainly has mine!
Barbara LeSavoy, Director Center of Women's and Gender Studies | SUNY College at Brockport
NYI is an extraordinary.
I serve as Director of and faculty in Women and Gender Studies at The College at Brockport, State University of New York (SUNY). And I taught three very different seminars at NYI for three consecutive summers beginning from 2014-17. In addition to teaching at NYI, in 2015, I brought one American student, and in 2016, I led nine American students to NYI. Our NYI learning experiences have been life altering.
Unlike the majority of US study abroad options, NYI places students in a global classroom where they learn from top-notch scholars from across Russia and the world. Similarly, NYI allows American students to live and learn with Russian students from across the country, forging diverse and lasting friendships. At NYI students are living and leaning about Russian culture as residents at the University of St Petersburg. They come home as global citizens and with a love for Russian life and the Russian people that stays with them.
NYI has been instrumental in furthering our global teaching and learning connections with Russia. Current political instability between nations makes NYI even more significant, where we must make every effort to protect and nurture our joint international collaborations. NYI is a strategic model of educational diplomacy across nations.
Robert Hoberman, Professor of Linguistics |
Teaching at NYI was one of the most stimulating and rewarding academic experiences I have had in my nearly 40 years of university teaching. My students at the NYI came from various parts of Russia and from many other countries, and were students not only of linguistics (my field) but also psychology, computer science, mathematics, literature, and cultural studies. This variety of backgrounds and training made for a uniquely thrilling interaction for me as well as the students. After each season I stayed in touch with a few students, and I know at least six or seven who have gone on to graduate degree programs in the US. One changed her field of study after the NYI and later wrote to me, "I wanted to thank you again for your class at NYI, which did the most important thing in the long run, namely, made me think in the whole direction of language usage and formed the interest in the field. Thank you for inspiring me!"
There are many international academic institutes and workshops, but to my knowledge the NYI is absolutely unique in the richness, diversity, and depth of the encounters that it fosters between American and Russian scholars and students, as well as those from other countries.
Peter Carravetta, D’Amato Professor of Italian Studies European Languages, Literatures, and Cultures | Stony Brook University
I taught in the Program in the Summer, 2014, a seminar on “Postmodernisms,” and it was a superlative experience. I had graduate students from all over: St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Zagreb, Phoenix, Ankara, Warsaw and other places, including from Siberia (can’t recall name of the city). The program itself is a paragon of organization, intellectual exchange, student interest and success stories. In three weeks in St. Petersburg just about every day I engaged in a cultural activity, listened to talks held at our center, and got to meet faculty also from all over the world. The students, whether Americans, Russians, or from any other part of the globe, loved the program, they appreciated the diversified faculty, the range of courses (from strictly linguistics ones to broad cultural, historical, or on specific themes), the opportunities to grow, and the establishment of future relationships.
I should add that I have had the fortune of teaching in similar programs in Paris, Madrid, and Rome, and I can say without blinking that our Stony Brook in Russia program is the best. No doubt a great deal of merit goes to the organizers, and this on both sides of the ocean. I found the local staff and faculty warm and generous, they helped us navigate a very rich and complex city, invited authorities from city hall and from the department of education, and so on. This program must continue on its successful track and indeed expand further. It is a unique assert to both SUNY and St. Petersburg University, it brings people and ideas together, it fosters dialogue, exchange, common growth, problem solving. It allows students from all over to get to know modern Russia. This program took years to develop to its present international fame, let not some administrative glitch or transient policy matter stunt its growth.
Asma Barlas | Professor of Religious Studies and Politics, Ithaca College
NYI is not just a school with a solid academic reputation, but it is also a model of collaboration between the U.S. and Russia in a range of academic disciplines. As all U.S. Consuls who have spoken at its summer sessions ever year have remarked, such cooperation is especially important at a time of difficult political relations between both countries. Hopefully, they say this not as lip service to an abstract ideal but as an honest recognition of the value of initiatives like NYI. Beyond that, the school has succeeded in attracting many U.S. students to St. Petersburg and facilitating the recruitment of Russian students to programs in the U.S. What better results can one hope for?
If one of the points of international diplomacy is to enable exchanges that promote mutual understanding between peoples and countries, then it seems to me both sides would be well served by continuing to invest in NYI. After all, this is also what its faculty do by teaching there pro bono; we do so because it is a meaningful and enriching way to foster this sense of mutuality.
Barbara Partee | Professor of Linguistics UMass, Amherst
I loved teaching in the NYI in 2003 and 2005, and sitting in on other faculty's great courses. Loved the varied evening programs, including fascinating films and really interesting people giving riveting talks. Loved the mixture of students and young researchers from different backgrounds and their stimulating questions and discussions. Loved the camaraderie among students and faculty. Loved St Petersburg in the summer. And the organizers and their helpers make it all work beautifully!
Rajesh Bhatt | Professor of Linguistics and Department Head UMass, Amherst
The NYI was an intellectually stimulating experience. I learned a lot from my students as well as from the other classes. The research interests of a significant subset of the faculty overlapped in such a way that the students got a true "stereo" experience. But the most exciting thing for me were the students: rarely have I taught students who were so eager. Their enthusiasm allowed my introductory syntax class to be simultaneously about foundational and cutting-edge issues in syntactic theory.
Robyn Stein deLuca | Dept. of Cultural Analysis and Theory, Stony Brook University
NYI was a fantastic experience because of the great camaraderie among students and faculty.
E. K. Tan | Assistant Professor of Film Studies Stony Brook University
NYI-St. Petersburg offered me the opportunity to share my knowledge with and learn from students from diverse backgrounds. This short three-week program was a wonderful experience where I was immersed in a cultural tradition that was wonderfully rich and mesmerizing..
Janet Dean Fodor, Distinguished Professor of Linguistics | CUNY Graduate Center
I found the experience of teaching at the NYI Institute enormously rewarding. I have encouraged my colleagues to consider participating in the future. And I would strongly recommend a summer, or more than one, at the Institute for any graduate student or beginning faculty member who is eager to engage in research on language and cognition and who swishes to gain an international perspective on recent trends in cognitive research methods and finding.
Leonard H. Babby, Professor of Slavic Linguistics | Princeton University
The NYI program is, from my point of view, a work of art.
Christopher Potts, Professor of Linguistics | Stanford University
My teaching experiences at the 2004 and 2005 New York Institute were among the most satisfying of my career so far. The institute's organizers worked hard to establish a serious yet welcoming atmosphere, and my students were knowledgeable and highly engaged. Their comments were fresh and enlightening, as were the faculty lectures and symposia. I came home intellectually enriched. The NYI achieved an impressively high level of substantive cross-cultural and multidisciplinary communication. I feel fortunate to have taken part in it.
Patrice Brodeur, Canada Research Professor on Islam, Pluralism and Globalization | University of Montreal
In my opinion, the most important aspect of this program is the cross-cultural encounter that fosters multiple dimensions at once, thus leading to a truly transformative learning experience for all those involved, students, faculty and staff alike.
Darcie Vandegrift | Associate Professor of Sociology, Drake University
I believe the strength of the program was the opportunity for students and faculty to experientially learn about many things: the structure and content of U.S. university courses, the impact of social location on knowledge construction, and the heterogeneity of groups often lumped into homogenous categories (e.g., “Russians,” “Americans,” “academics.”) I was in the minority in terms of academic discipline (the only sociologist/anthropologist), but I felt that the students gained insight into qualitative research methodology and U.S. perspectives on globalization. We discussed in depth issues of identity in the 21st century, negotiating gender, family, and work in a post-fordist era, competing conceptualizations of globalization. The students developed an open-ended interview which most then completed with a respondent outside of the course. The methodological discussions were, for me, as rewarding as the conversations about globalization. In short, I found the Institute a delight and appreciate the organizers’ efforts in bringing me to participate.
T. Gregory Garvey | Associate Professor of History, SUNY, Brockport
The NY-St. Petersburg Institute integrates a diversity of disciplines into a single, cohesive learning environment that offers both sustained study of topics that are unusual in the Russian academy, and the opportunity for students to explore parallel fields. I have taught on the Cultural Studies side of the curriculum—courses in American traditions of social reform and environmentalism and have found the experience invaluable. One important characteristic of the learning environment that this Institute creates is that it occurs in an intimate setting. Although it enrolls a significant number of students—I think over 100—there is constant mingling and discussion in a courtyard that allows for threads of thought and discussion to be developed over several weeks. The organizers capitalize on this plenary environment by scheduling a series of special lectures that brings the whole Institute together with the goal of integrating the various threads developed in individual seminars. This combination of intellectual standards in the construction of curricula and the intensiveness of the environment makes this institute ideal for fostering cross-boundary teaching methods for junior faculty from Russian universities.