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US-Russia Peer-To-Peer Project

Several days after the 2017 spring graduation, a coalition of students and professors from the International Studies department travelled to Russia to participate in the US-Russia Peer-to-Peer Project. This was the second part of the government funded program, which began in the winter of 2017 with a Russian delegation that visited the University of Oregon. The group was made up of department head Kathie Carpenter, professor Elena Bogolyubova, and students Józe Morenopelayo, Maria Purvova, Jacob Armas, Alexis Busso, Lacey Whitwer, and Duncan Moore.

The two week trip got off to a somewhat stressful start, with a 36 hour journey that started in Eugene and ended in the southern city of Stavropol. In Stavropol the group stayed with local Russian students and visited several NGOs. After a couple of days the coalition took buses to the North Caucasus region of Karachay-Cherkessia, and eventually made it to the mountain village of Arhyz near the Georgian border. Over the course of a week the group had the ability to hike in the Caucasus Mountains, ride horses, and go river rafting. However the main purpose of the trip was to participate in a forum on NGO and civil service development in the North Caucasus region and Russia as a whole. University of Oregon students gave presentations about their experiences and on how nonprofits worked in the United States, while meeting with local leaders who had implemented programs in their own communities.

The trip wrapped up with a visit to Moscow. There the group visited highlights such as the Red Square, and celebrated the 4th of July with a tour of the Kremlin before going their separate ways.

Lacey Whitwer answers questions for Russian state television at a news conference held for the group in Stavropol.

The students at Lenin Square in Stavropol.

Answering questions inside a local Stavropol NGO started by a former Soviet olympic athlete.

The students and professors stayed at a mountain lodge in the village of Arhyz, where traditional Russian meals were served three times a day. Pictured are dumplings, known as pelmeni, and borscht soup.

Listening to a presentation during the weeklong forum on NGO and civil service development in the North Caucasus region.

International Studies alumnus Duncan Moore gives a presentation on a local Eugene based nonprofit.

The village of Arhyz in the Caucasus Mountains, where the weeklong forum took place.

International Studies alumni Józe Morenopelayo and Duncan Moore pose next to a mural of the flag of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic. The republic, while part of Russia, has a distinct culture made up of a mix of ethnic groups and five official languages.

A view of the Caucasus Mountains near the Georgian border.

Members of the group pose with a local shopkeeper and restaurant owner.