GUSA President Calen Angert (MSB ’11), along with 14 other student body presidents from across the country, recently participated in a cultural exchange with their counterparts in Russia.
As a part of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’s Education, Culture and Sports Working Group, the group met with student leaders in Russia as well as members of the Russian government.
“We met with the majority leaders of both houses […], individuals from the Russian State Department, a Russian think tank, and several students,” Angert wrote in an email.
Chang Suh, director of the Open World Leadership Center, an organizer of the trip, stated that the mission of the trip was to “identify the future leaders of America and acquaint them with Russian culture.” Suh also claimed that there is good reason for selecting these students because former U.S. presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton (SFS ’68) were student body presidents. (However, any GUSA historian would know that Clinton lost his race for student body president.)
“I did not expect our Russian contacts to field our questions so directly. The acknowledgment and candid discourse during these meetings helped transform my view of Russia from a Cold War carryover to a developing democracy,” Angert told America.gov.
This is not the first time a GUSA president has participated in a cultural exchange program. Pat Dowd (SFS ’09) traveled to Finland in a similar trip in 2009.
The exchange lasted for eight days, and was paid for by the Russian government.