University of South Florida

College of Arts & Sciences



For the past three years, the Institute on Russia has focused on advancing global education at the University of South Florida (USF). In 2019-2020, the Institute held many events for students, faculty, and the Tampa Bay community. The Institute is grateful to the Florida Orchestra for granting free tickets to Russian studies students, so they could experience a concert of Tchaikovsky's music, and to USSOCOM whose international partners spoke to students about East European security and the collapse of communism.

The Institute worked with Russian Heritage, a community organization in Tampa Bay, to co-sponsor the screening of Women of the Gulag, a film shortlisted for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Short category. Director Marianna Yarovskaya answered audience questions on how she traveled across Russia to interview women for the film. It was a unique and exceptional experience for all in attendance.

speaker presenting to audience at screening

The Institute has used events such as these to focus on and build partnerships within the community and with scholars and professionals in the United States and abroad. During the year, it also partnered with the Tampa Bay Committee on Foreign Relations to bring international law scholar, Dr. William Burke-White, who gave a talk on global leadership, and worked with the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies and the Greek community in Tampa Bay to bring scholar and professor, Harry Papasotiriou, who gave a talk on the European Union.

The Institute also invited Daniel Black, the associate conductor of the Florida Orchestra, who spoke to students and faculty about the role of classical music in Russia and reflected on his experiences as a graduate student at St. Petersburg State Conservatory. Former US government officials, David and Beverly Herrington spoke to students about their experience in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Students also enjoyed a performance by thirteen exceptionally talented students from Russia's Kaluga College of Arts, who came to USF as part of the Golden Gates cultural exchange project funded by Rotary International.

In addition, Russian investigative journalists, bestselling authors, and experts on the Russian/Soviet security services, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, were invited to campus for an event. Professors Valerie Sperling and Lisa Sundstrom spoke about their recent book on gender discrimination cases from Russia and Turkey in the European Court of Human Rights. Each event attracted an audience of over one hundred students from various departments and programs.

audience at IOR screening

These special events enhance students' education and make them more aware of global issues and opportunities. Currently, the Institute is working on a research project concerning Russia and public health disinformation, and transitioning to online programs until it is safe again to hold in-person events.

Return to article listing

About CAS

The College of Arts and Sciences is the intellectual heart of the University of South Florida. We are a community of teachers and scholars united in the belief that broadly educated people are the basis of a just, free, and prosperous society. By focusing on the big questions facing all of humanity, we prepare students for successful, socially responsible personal and professional lives. By conducting innovative, interdisciplinary research and scholarship, we advance knowledge in ways that prepare us to address complex social and scientific problems and enhance the quality of life for people and communities.