The Kennan Institute, NCEEER, and the ISE Center hosted a two-day conference that brought together members of the U.S. academic and policy communities and Russian scholars representing regional state universities throughout the country. The conference highlighted the early results of the Russian Centers for Advanced Study and Education (CASE) program. The CASE program, funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Russian Federation Ministry of Education and administered by the Kennan Institute and the ISE Center, has established thematic research centers at nine regional state universities in Russia. The goals of the program are to support high-quality research in the social sciences and humanities and to promote the establishment of active academic communities in Russia's regions.

The first day of the conference featured presentations by representatives of the nine CASE centers on topics pertinent to the CASE themes, including Russian regional politics, intercultural and interethnic relations, and Russian relations with the West. Speakers addressed both the theoretical foundations of these areas of study and the practical political issues facing Russia at home and in the international arena. In addition, representatives of several CASEs explained how their Centers are addressing these important issues through research and scholarship.

On the second day of the conference, representatives of the U.S. academic community, the Russian Ministry of Education, and several funding organizations discussed the future of education and scholarship in Russia and possibilities for integration into global education space. They identified a large number of problems that Russia's system of higher education must face, including: the demographic situation in Russia, the lack of system of accreditation, outdated teaching methods, and incompatibility with the educational systems of other countries. Several speakers argued that although it is unlikely that the amount of money spent on higher education in Russia will increase in the near term, it will be possible to address these problems by more effectively and creatively using the resources that are available.

A luncheon on October 1 featured keynote remarks from Lee H. Hamilton, President and Director of the Woodrow Wilson Center, Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Mikhail Strikhanov, Deputy Minister of Education of the Russian Federation. All three speakers agreed that a vibrant system of higher education is crucial to Russia's future social, political and economic development, and that promoting educational development is one of the most important forms of aid that the United States can offer to Russia. They praised the CASE program for its fostering of both international academic cooperation and the creation of active academic communities within Russia.