West Virginia University Student Government Association President Jason Bailey has been chosen as one of 15 young leaders across the country to become a delegate of the Kremlin Fellows.

Bailey, a senior finishing dual-degrees in international studies and political science from Ripley, will represent WVU in Moscow, Russia from Nov. 14-20 as a guest of the Federal Agency on Youth Affairs.

“I’m honored and humbled to be selected in such an elite pool of students for this program,” Bailey said. “It speaks highly of the academics here at the University, and I feel very well prepared from what my professors have taught me over the years.”

Bailey and the other American student leaders from Columbia University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Indiana University, Michigan State University, MIT, Oklahoma State University, Stanford University and the University of California-Berkeley among others will work alongside Russian leaders to develop new initiatives or modify existing programs at each represented university.

“In terms of networking, I’ll be spending seven days with the nation’s top young leaders – people who will be leading this country in the future,” Bailey said. “I’m excited to meet my colleagues as we strive to make practical contributions to US-Russia relations.”

Bailey will be posting frequent updates to his blog on SGA’s website, as well as tweeting updates and pictures. To read his blog, visit http://sga.wvu.edu/sga_blogs/pres. To follow him on Twitter, visit http://twitter.com/WVUtoRussia.

Bailey will have the opportunity to teach these student leaders how truly competitive, nationally and globally, WVU is becoming.

“WVU’s strategic plan is very internationally focused, and I think I can represent us in that light while making efforts to help the University carry out its own goals,” Bailey said.

As a Kremlin Fellow, Bailey will have an opportunity to incorporate WVU and its student body into the larger network of US-Russia collaboration through the leadership of the Center for American-Russian Engagement of Emerging Leaders, a nonprofit organization which was founded by several alumni of the Kremlin Fellow Program in order to sustain a cooperative rapport and trusted network between the next generation of American and Russian leadership.

“I hope to work with professors at WVU toward getting more study abroad opportunities across the University for programs that wouldn’t normally get the chance,” Bailey said. “There are opportunities in fields such as energy that would allow students who would not normally have the chance to collaborate with universities in Russia. I share President James P. Clements’ focus on internationalization and globalization, and I think this trip is instrumental in helping us carry that out.”

Bailey has prepared for the trip with a five-week crash course in the Russian language and culture, with the help of Lisa DiBartolomeo, a professor who specializes in Russian and Slavic languages, literatures and cultures.

“I’m very excited to experience a new culture, and hope to make a practical contribution to this program,” Bailey said. “As young leaders, we can have an impact on foreign policy and where the US stands as a global power in 10 to 20 years.

“I’m anxious to get over there and experience as much as I can, so I can come back and work on breaking down cultural barriers and fixing any misperceptions that people might have.”

The trip is funded completely through the Russian government.

“To have a global experience is important, but what is more important is that Jason will be able to share his knowledge and experiences with others, as well,” said Ron Justice, director of Student Organizations Services. “As much as Jason will learn and gain a great deal on his trip, the ones that come in contact with Jason will also learn from Jason’s leadership ability.”

-WVU-

mm/11/14/11

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