Our past collaboration has been very important to both our Russian and Alaskan institutions. Over the years, we have had successful student and faculty exchanges, joint projects and conferences. This cooperation has built trust and good will between us. Within a year of the opening between Russia and Alaska in June of 1988, President Kokorev, Dr. Roman Chaikovski and many others came to Alaska. Our ties with our friends and colleagues at NESU continue to the present.
I have savored the many times I have visited Magadan. I am always impressed with the superb education you provide. It is quite remarkable that you have been able to maintain the high quality of education at your university in spite of huge financial challenges and political changes. Each time I have visited Magadan, your philological students have interpreted for me. Their expertise in interpreting has been excellent. Because I do not speak Russian, our good communication depends upon their skill. I have been very grateful for their assistance. I have been impressed by their ability to interpret both directions in any conversation. I have admired their confidence in providing interpretation before large audiences.
On most of my visits I worked closely with your philological faculty in the English Kaffedra. I enjoyed being invited to be a guest professor in their classes, which allowed me to work directly with them and their students. In this way, I was able to see first hand the good teaching your faculty provides. I admired their innovative teaching practices. I know from my language colleagues such as Dr. Margritt Engel that the quality of your language instruction is excellent.
For decades I have also worked closely with Professor Dr. Roman R. Chaikovski and his graduate students. I have been especially impressed with the quality of his students' research, which has been exceptional. He and they have become world renowned through their work.
For eighteen years, I had the pleasure of honoring an outstanding professor of the year, so I met professors from many different departments. It was wonderful to learn about their outstanding academic research, service to their community and region, and their excellent teaching.
This year Alaskans are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the purchase of Alaska by the U.S. Our Russian background is part of our own Alaska history. To me, maintaining our Russian ties is very important. Magadan and Anchorage continue to be Sister Cities.
While travel between our universities has become more difficult in recent times, technology in the past two decades has opened many new doors. This should give us a chance for optimism. As technology unfolds, it brings new opportunities for working together. We can envision continuing our partnerships between Russian and Alaskan faculty and students, perhaps joint conferences and some new projects. I look forward to continuing our longstanding friendship and collaboration.