Over fifty Alfa Fellowship Program (AFP) alumni and current fellows gathered in Washington, D.C., on November 30 and December 1 to celebrate fifteen classes of fellows and reconnect over discussions about Russia and the region.

The alumni event kicked off with a dinner and reception at the W Hotel on November 30, featuring a keynote address by Mr. Mikhail Fridman, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Alfa Group Consortium, who emphasized the importance of the Alfa Fellowship Program as a key international exchange initiative for young professionals to learn first-hand about business and culture in Russia. Mr. Fridman was introduced by Ambassador Richard Burt, who highlighted the program’s success in developing future leaders in Russian affairs.

On December 1, the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute partnered with AFP to host a lively dialogue about Russia and its important role in international politics, business, and cultural activities. The event offered program alumni and current fellows a chance to participate in breakout sessions and panel discussions on various topics: Kennan Institute experts, such as Dr. William Pomeranz, Deputy Director, and Dr. Valerie Anishchenkova, Kennan Scholar, and other outside experts, led AFP alumni and current fellows in discussions on areas of collaboration in the arts and education, Russian foreign policy in the Middle East, as well as the Russian political economy, and using experience in Russia during one’s career.

We were pleased to celebrate with AFP alumni from the very first cohort of the program, which began for US citizens in 2004, to fellows who are currently participating in the program in Moscow. In 2009, AFP expanded to include British fellows and in 2014, the program added German fellows. It was wonderful to have participants from all three countries present at the event.

We look forward to future opportunities to foster a dialogue and mutual understanding between Russia, the US, UK, and Germany.

To learn more about the Alfa Fellowship Program, please visit: alfafellowship.org

By: Maria Mammina, AFP#11; President, Alfa Fellowship Alumni Association