To foster better international understanding and tolerance of differences through stimulating educational activities in Tula and the Capital Region. To provide opportunities for pupils, college students, and adults to educate themselves about the Russian and American values and cultures. To share the best of educational practices in Tula and the Capital Region. To encourage the teaching of the Russian language in Capital Regions schools. To promote cultural exchange between schools, art organizations, performers and the wider public with the aim of fostering greater cultural understanding by the one city of the other.
BI-ANNUAL ESSAY CONTESTS
One of the most important outreach programs to the ATA is our bi-annual Capital Region Essay Contest. The contest helps to foster cultural understanding between young people in Russia and the U.S. by sending two winners of the Essay Contest to Russia for seven days. High school and home schooled students between the ages of 16-18 are encouraged to enter. Topics vary every year. Judging is based on careful research and thoughtful analysis. Essay questions are posed in the Spring, winners are announced in the Summer and the trip usually commences in the Fall or Winter that same year. Be sure to check out social media for updates.
AMERICAN STUDIES OLYMPIAD
Not only does the ATA send Capital Region students to Tula, we invite students from Tula to visit Albany. The idea for a contest known as the American Studies Olympiad came in 2009 when a delegation of teachers and librarians from Tula visited Tula’s sister city, Albany. The contest includes a selection round in which students pass an online test with a limited time for completion. The results are evaluated by representatives of the Tula Regional Association of English Language Teachers. If students pass, they go onto a second round concerning the history and culture of Albany. These answers are evaluated by the sister-city jury members of Albany. The tasks for the final round include an oral report and a presentation about a “Cultural Icon in the U.S.” – a person or event that has played a significant role in the history of American society. Ten runner-ups receive a participation certificate and cash award of $25. Two winners receive a trip to Albany and overnights with host family.
The ATA also hosts young adults from Tula who participate in Open World. The Open World Leadership Center, an agency of the U.S. Congress, is one of the most effective U.S. exchange programs for countries of the post-Soviet era. Open World’s original focus country, Russia, has been sending emerging leaders to the United States since July 1999. Russia’s nearly 13,000 participants have come from all of the country’s 83 regions (in relative proportion to the populations of Russia’s seven large political entities), with heavy representation from national leaders, regional and local governments, the judiciary and legal professions, and the health, education, and social services sector. The Russia program currently operates exchanges on the themes of accountable governance, rule of law, and social issues. Congress in 2003 established a separate Open World program for Russian cultural leaders. Open World visits are designed to promote professional or community partnerships that continue beyond the actual visit.
Our Educational Partners in Tula
Tula State Lev Tolstoy’ Pedagogical University (TSPU) has been an active partner with the Albany-Tula Alliance for many years. The University was founded in 1938 as a teacher-training institute. In 1958 it was renamed after famous Russian writer Lev Tolstoy who spent most of his life in his estate, Yasnaya Polyana, not far from Tula. In 1994 the institute was transformed into a university.
Tula State University (TSU) is the biggest state university in Central Russia. Under the leadership of rector Mikhail Vasilievich Gryazev, professor and doctor of technical sciences, more than 20,000 students, 680 postgraduates and doctoral candidates, more than 1,200 foreign students from 40 countries study at Tula State University. Learn more>>>