Bard College has been committed to Disseminate liberal arts education globally, Has been designated by the Russian government as an “unpopular” organization, and all activities and operations in the country are prohibited.
The Russian Attorney General’s Office announced on Monday that it was blacklisted, saying that Bard’s work “threats Russia’s constitutional order and security.” Anyone affiliated with the college in the country could face fines or imprisonment.
In cooperation with St. Petersburg State University, Bard founded the Smolny College of Arts and Sciences, which began enrolling students in 1999. Graduates received two degrees, one from Bard and the other from its Russian partner. The college usually enrolls 600 to 650 bachelor and master students and has become a template for other joint Bard projects around the world such as Kyrgyzstan and the Palestinian Territory.
In Russia, Bard also conducts student exchanges and Russian training.
Bard’s model of working closely with overseas partners to develop courses and provide degrees is unique, but its experience in Russia underscores how geopolitical tensions are Complicates the university’s international participation. Bud could also be a target, because it’s related to George Soros, A progressive philanthropist and his open society foundation.
chronicle On Tuesday, he spoke with Leon Botstein, Bard’s long-time president, about the appointment. “I’m very sad,” he said. The interview was edited for clarity and length.
What is your response to the Russian government’s prohibition of Bard from working there?
This is shocking and very wrong. We have been there for 25 years. The plan was evaluated by observers from Russia and the United States. We hope that the Russian government will reconsider. This is a terrible blow to the cultural and cultural exchanges between our two peoples.
What happened next?
I do not know. Our communication with our Russian colleague was interrupted. This law puts individuals at risk of imprisonment simply because of contact with us. We have notified the Secretary of State that we hope to include it in the dialogue with Russia to help put this flagship Russian-US cooperation plan back on the agenda.
To clarify: you have no contact with your colleague in Russia?
We did not communicate. We have nothing to hide, but we don’t want to put anyone in danger. We are a dual degree program. I just signed the diploma, and we sent them to Russia in time to prepare for graduation at the end of June and the beginning of July. I don’t know if the students can get the diploma.
Why do you think Bud was singled out?
Why now? The program has not changed. We just received good news about our planned expansion in February. We have students studying academic courses, and we hope it can continue.
It seems that we are collateral damage of international politics. This is reminiscent of the Cold War-at least then, people worked hard to maintain cultural and educational exchanges. It is wrong to think that we are subversive or anti-constitutional. Obviously, in the Anglo-American tradition, there is a connection between university academic freedom and political systems. When we enter different cultures and societies, we must adapt flexibly without sacrificing our principles.
Bard is one of hundreds of organizations benefiting from the Open Society Foundation, and George Soros has a conspiracy. Among the top-ranked universities in the United States, 33 have received support from the Open Society Foundation.It’s not enough by itself [to explain the Russian action], I don’t know why. I sit, I sit on the board of the Open Society Foundation, but they knew about it 20 years ago. It’s not like I changed a new identity.Since 2015, the funds of the Open Society Foundation have not flowed to Smolny [when the foundation was classified as “undesirable” under the same Russian law]Smolny is self-sufficient.
Why do you think it is becoming more and more difficult for universities to participate internationally?
The last bastion of universal cooperation is learning, but an exclusive nationalism is emerging, not just in the United States. People are very worried about “foreign influence.” There is an anti-world feeling.
You clarified the special vision of international participation, that is, to use the liberal arts to go to difficult places to become a force for free expression and democracy. Did what happened in Russia prompt you to re-evaluate this approach?
It will not shake my faith. It does make this all more important. The whole purpose of college education is to make people speak and think for themselves. So is Russia’s impressive intellectual tradition. We see ourselves continuing this tradition.
It’s like dying in the family. No, I don’t think this is death. This is more like a coma, and we want the patient to wake up.