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Russian politics and business to be focus of U. of I. conference in Chicago

Mark Reutter, Business & Law Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The business of politics and the politics of business in Russia will be the focus of a conference sponsored by Richard Herman, the chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, on Oct. 12 and 13 (Thursday and Friday) at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, Chicago.

The Chancellor’s Conference on Russia: Business/Politics, Challenges and Opportunities will bring together scholars, policy analysts, business leaders and others to assess a range of issues in Russia from a global perspective.

“The relationship between the U.S. and Russia remains a critical piece of our nation’s global strategy,” Herman said. “The University of Illinois has long been a leader in the field of Russian studies, which have contributed significantly to the dialogue on that relationship. This conference will bring together Illinois faculty with distinguished keynote speakers, business leaders and other internationally renowned specialists who have helped shape economic and political policies to discuss the current state of affairs and to explore what is possible through creative thinking.”

The keynote speakers will be William Browder, founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management; James F. Collins, U.S. ambassador to Russia from 1997 to 2001; and David Satter, former Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times of London.

Other participants at the break-out sessions and plenary roundtable include Kelly Duffin-Maxwell, vice president for global technology and quality of confections at Kraft Foods; Robert Ebel, an energy expect at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Arthur George, a lawyer at Baker & McKenzie; Burkhard Schrage, professor of management at Singapore Management University; John Slocum, co-chair of the Russia Higher Education Initiative at the MacArthur Foundation; Michael Tokarz, chairman of MVC Capital.

Paulius Vilemas, CEO of Baltic Coatings; and Vadim Volkov, professor of political science at the European University in St. Petersburg, Russia, also are scheduled to take part in discussions.

Among participants from Illinois are William Davey, professor of law; Peter Maggs, professor of law; Mark Steinberg, professor of Russian history; Robert Thompson, professor of agricultural policy; Paul Vaaler, professor of international business; and Ronald Yates, dean of the College of Communications.

The conference will feature panel discussions, roundtables and informal break-out sessions. The panelists will address the implications of Russia’s transition from a centralized command to market economy; the investment and trade opportunities presented by Russia; and the nation’s security, energy and governance policies.

The conference has been organized by the Russian, East European and Eurasian Center at Illinois and is co-sponsored by the Illinois Center for International Business Education and Research; Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership; the colleges of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Business; Law; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; departments of political science and Slavic languages and literature; and the Illinois International Trade Center.

Registration is $200 until Sept. 28 when a late fee will be added. A $75 rate is available for college students. The fee for the Oct. 12 session is $120; the Oct. 13 session is $100.

Visit the Web site for more information, including schedule of events, registration and full list of participants.