Sep 17, 2012
The visit to Spaso House wasn't lengthy, but it definitely was fruitful - and very informal. Off-record talk with minimum of politics and maximum of student initiatives.
Igor Tomashov, one of the elder SURF officers, shared his thoughts about the meeting:
"The visit to Spaso House was another remarkable event in the history of SURF. Michael McFaul knew about the project since its establishment because he was an academic advisor to one of SURF co-founders, Sam Stone, but he has not previously attended SURF conferences. So meeting with him was a unique opportunity granted to SURF officers and alumni. I liked the open and friendly atmosphere of our meeting. We told McFaul about the history of SURF and our experience of working in the sphere of US-Russia relations. We have also discussed the prospects of their development. McFaul appeared to be well-wishing and easily reachable person. I hope that this was just a start of our collaboration with him and we will have him among the guests of the SURF Moscow conference next October".
"The meeting was held in a friendly atmosphere, the Ambassador remembered his teaching practice at Stanford University, talked about his students and various student initiatives", - recalls SURF officer Patya Murtazalieva. "He appreciated the activities of SURF, noted the importance of such exchage programs between the two countries. McFaul specifically noted that SURF is a student initiative, in management of which no one from the outside can interfere. According to the Ambassador, an organization created by students for students from different countries is a great achievement that we should be proud of".
I asked some of those who attended the meeting to put down five words that best, in their opinion, describe Ambassador McFaul. And what is most interesting - all of them pointed out different things.
Intelligent, outgoing, best image of university professor, breezy, live wire -
Bogdina Buvaeva, SURF officer
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Free-for-all, charismatic, interesting, optimistic, witty -
Patya Murtazalieva, SURF officer
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Open-minded, candid, talkative, polite, idealistic -
Igor Tomashov, SURF officer
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Well-rounded, flexible, communicative, frank and open-hearted -
Elena Sidorova, SURF delegate 2011/12
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Self-critical, enthusiastic, open-minded, well-informed, friendly -
Pavel Koshkin, SURF delegate 2011/12
Text by Kira Tverskaya
Pictures by Kira Tverskaya & Julia Khalikova