Washington, DC-- Three Russian regional universities have been chosen to become sites for a Center For Advanced Study and Education (CASE) that will enable the universities to create academic hubs for scholars in the social sciences and the humanities throughout the region and become vibrant intellectual communities for established and emerging intellectuals.

Carnegie Corporation of New York and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation have joined forces with the Russian Ministry of Higher Education to create these centers of excellence which will enhance opportunities for research, education, and scholarship in Russia. The centers build on other higher education initiatives in Russia, including the Open Society Institute's Megaproject, aimed at strengthening the departments in the social sciences and the humanities at Russian regional universities.

The Wilson Center's Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies prepared a report that became the early blueprint for these Centers of Advance Study and Education. The Kennan Institute will work with the Moscow Public Science Foundation to provide the daily administration of the program. This Moscow-Washington management team -- in conjunction with the governing board -- ensures a strong, long-term commitment to building and supporting scholarship in Russia.

"Higher education is the critical building block in today's global society," says Blair Ruble, director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies. "We believe that these centers will offer scholars as well as the communities in which they reside access to the best minds and scholarship the world has to offer. Established scholars will benefit from these intellectual communities and a new generation of scholars will find the support and environment they need."

The first round of centers was chosen by a governing board, which includes members of the program's principal sponsors and organizers, and academic advisors from inside and outside Russia. Tomsk State University, Voronezh State University and Ural State University were recognized in this first round of competition for their vision for a CASE, academic strength, and regional intellectual leadership.

TOMSK STATE UNIVERSITY The theme chosen by Tomsk for its center is "Russia's Integration into World Community" and will focus on historic influences in the formation of identity and culture, federalism and regionalism, and Russia's relationship to globalization including specifics of European integration.

URAL STATE UNIVERSITY (Yekaterinburg) The center will devote its work to the theme of "Tolerance in a Contemporary Civilization" and focus on practical suggestions for the creation of a civil society in Russia. Specific research themes include the study of pluralistic societies and their relevance to contemporary Russia, the relationship between culture and history, and social tolerance and a free media.

VORONEZH STATE UNIVERSITY The center will build on the university's commitment to strengthening humanities and has chosen as its theme "Culture in a Contemporary Society." Study will include intercultural communication of cultures, socio-cultural roots of conflict and historical underpinnings of culture. There will also be an emphasis on integrating the humanities with social sciences in the Voronezh region.

The Centers for Advanced Study and Education will become hubs for academics who will both teach and undertake research through the auspices of the center. Fellowships will permit regional scholars from the university itself or from institutions in the region to pursue their work within Russia or at scholarly meetings outside the country. The mission of this multi-year commitment to establish and support CASEs is to strengthen universities, restore academic communities, foster a new generation of social scientists, and integrate scholars from the region into the West.