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Russian delegates visit BPC, work to bring cultural, educational exchange

MOUNT VERNON—Two Russian education exchange delegates attempted to bridge a social understanding between two cultures—Russia and the United States—last week at Brewton-Parker College.

Olga Kuzmina and Liliya Sheina with BPC Education Division

Olga Kuzmina and Liliya Sheina, two Russian education exchange coordinators, met with several professors in Brewton-Parker College’s Department of Education August 15. Standing from left, in the back row, are Barbara Reid, Sheina, Dr. Nancy Harper, Dr. Bowman Barr (division chair), Kuzmina, Skye Jordan, Dr. Melba Claxton and Dr. Noel Carroll. Dr. David Smith, president of Brewton-Parker College, is shown in the front row.

Olga Kuzmina and Liliya Sheina, both sponsored by their government, toured Brewton-Parker College’s facilities and departments, and Montgomery County Elementary School, Monday, August 15 as part of a new joint educational exchange fostered by the College and fellow Christian college, Anderson University (S.C.). Kuzmina is the headmistress at a K-12 school, and Sheina is the curator at a prestigious art gallery. Both are from Ekaterinburg, a city of 1.2 million people on the Asian side of Russia in the Ural Federal District.

“Olga Kuzmina and Liliya Sheina are excellent examples of the kind of energetic, productive and world-conscious leaders that are emerging out of post-Soviet Russia,” said Dr. David Smith, president of Brewton-Parker College. “They are people who are hungry for American exchange, and our Southern lifestyle could contribute significantly to central Russia’s future.”

The visit stems from an earlier visit to Ekaterinburg by Dr. Smith and Dr. Evans Whitaker, president of Anderson University, during the college ’s spring break in March. The presidents and the Russian delegates are working together to create an academic exchange of Russian and American educators and student art between their two institutions in November.
 While the universities in Ekaterinburg have developed partnerships with European and Asian institutions, Brewton-Parker and Anderson are the first American colleges to attempt to develop a working exchange partnership with the institutions there.

Olga Kuzmina and Liliya Sheina with Dr. Smith

Dr. David Smith, president of Brewton-Parker College, shows Olga Kuzmina (center) and Liliya Sheina (left), two visitors from Russia, the Mount Vernon campus store.

“I was very impressed with the quality and talent exhibited by the young Russian students whose art I was privileged to review while visiting Ekaterinburg,” Dr. Smith said. “When we exchange art from our local schools with art from their institutions, we will be cognizant of the fact that children largely see the world from similar vantage points—whether they live in southern America or in central Russia.”

During their week-long trip, Kuzmina and Sheina visited Anderson University for three days, and then visited Brewton-Parker College for three days. Dr. Smith and his wife, Jackie, hosted the women in their home during their stay in Mount Vernon.

While at Montgomery County Elementary School, they group met with the school ’s instruction coordinator and toured the recently remodeled facility. The Russian delegates were interested to see the type of instruction taking place in the classroom, whether with pre-kindergarten students, the older ages in English, literature and foreign languages or with the new students in the English as a Second Language classes.

Olga Kuzmina and Liliya Sheina

Later, the president introduced the ladies to BPC’s education faculty and staff.
The presidents’ trip to Ekaterinburg in March was funded by a grant from the Consortium for Global Education, a group of 44 Baptist colleges representing about 60,000 students.

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The mission of Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist college, is to develop the whole student through the application of Biblically-centered truth to a liberal arts curriculum in a community of shared Christian values.
Brewton-Parker College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Brewton-Parker College.
Updated on: April 15, 2010 8:26 PM