Alcorn, Russian University sign five-year agreement

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 23, 2007

NATCHEZ — A global economy and the need to work in a shrinking world prompted a delegation from a Russian university to the Natchez campus of Alcorn State University this week.

The president and vice president of Voronezh State Agricultural University — in southwest Russia — and their families, along with two faculty members, spent a week in the states.

They toured Jackson, Vicksburg, Lorman and Natchez and planned to visit New Orleans.

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Largest on their to-do list was to sign a memorandum of understanding between Alcorn and VSAU. In the five-year joint effort, the schools will exchange faculty and students as well as cooperating on research projects.

In Natchez, the group visited the Alcorn campus before touring antebellum house Longwood.

ASU International Student Recruiter Elena Dobrynina accompanied the group and served as interpreter.

The group’s first stop in Natchez was to visit the Alcorn business school and talk with MBA program Director Vivek Bhargava.

Traditionally, Dobrynina said, exchange students would earn their bachelor’s degree from the Lorman campus and then come to the business school. Now, those students can go directly to Alcorn’s MBA program.

Dobrynina translated for VSAU President Alexander Vostroilov.

“He thinks there will be more Russian students here,” she said.

Through Dobrynina, Vostroilov said this was his first visit to the United States.

“He was very impressed, especially with the educational programs and the business community,” Dobrynina said. “And they received a very hospitable reception. He was impressed with that, too.”

The group’s trip follows a trip by a group from Alcorn’s agriculture school to VSAU.

Studying and working abroad gives people the opportunity to expand their education in a rapidly shrinking global economy, Dobrynina said. That’s especially important when it comes to business, she said.

“The world is going global so fast,” she said. “This gives students the opportunity to experience different cultures. Today, students are going to have to be prepared to work with different countries and their ways and cultures.”

Dobrynina’s father, Nikolay Dobrynin, a professor at VSAU, was one of those who came up with the cooperation idea while attending a conference in Mississippi.

Leaders of both universities signed the agreement Tuesday, Dobrynina said. The basic idea was laid out, but the finer points were still being discussed, she said.

“They’ve started working out the details — the who, how and when,” she said.

Dobrynina said she hoped the agreement would be completed within the month.