First US conference on preserving Russian culture

The first conference on preserving Russian language and Russian culture is to open in Gaithersburg, Maryland today. The forum, due to last until June 12, involves more than 100 representatives of Russian-diaspora organizations from ten US states, as well as German, Canadian and Russian delegations, "Russian View" producer Victoria Bonelli said.

No one tried to unite the Russian diaspora's hitherto scattered organizations, associations and clubs before. The development of Russian language and the preservation of Russian culture is a common idea, Bonelli added.

Conference workshops are to discuss the Russian-language mass media's problems on US territory and its role in preserving Russian language and culture, as well as private-school teaching methods, the preservation of Russian at family level and the creation of private Russian-language daycare centers, schools and studios.

"The conference is the first attempt to help children of Russian-speaking families in the US," Svetlana Sokolova, director of Washington's Alye Parusa education center and organizing-committee member, said.

"The United States has over 120 private Russian schools, education centers and studios," Sokolova said. "Many of them have to pay their way. Experience exchanges could facilitate their work," she added.

Sokolova mentioned the successful Eurolog association of youth societies of Russian culture and education in Germany. Eurolog is active in 12 Western European countries.

The association held the first international seminar "Russian Outside Russia" in Germany a year ago. Eurolog chairperson Nadezhda Nelipa will come to Washington.

"Eurolog has now asserted itself. National governments are listening to its schools. Unlike Europe, America's Russian-language schools are disunited," Sokolova noted.

"This is why the conference is to set up a similar association for dealing with US authorities at a new level," she stressed.

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