Thank you for your interest in the Russian-American Institute (RAI) in Moscow! Beginning in the summer of 1995 and then with the formal opening of its four-year undergraduate program in the fall of 1996, the Russian-American Institute (formerly the Russian-American Christian University) was a unique higher education institution in the Russian Federation.
From its inception, the Russian-American Institute was developed as a bi-national institution, formed by a partnership of Russian and American educators and established in response to an invitation from the Russian government in October 1990 to found a faith-based liberal arts college in Moscow.
You can read more about the mission statement and educational goals of RAI, as well as a brief history of the Institute, in the “About RAI” section of this web site. Unfortunately, the receptivity and cooperation of Russian government authorities in the 1990s gave way to increasing opposition and obstacles by the middle of the next decade.
In November 2010, the Board of Trustees decided to suspend the Institute’s academic programs, after Russian government policies were changed that made it very difficult to continue. A substantial increase in taxation, which resulted when tax-exemptions were removed for small private schools, and changes in re-accreditation standards that were impossible to meet for small schools, forced the Board to make major changes.
After careful deliberation, it was agreed that the Institute would continue its work in Christian higher education, but this work would be done through Russian organizations – no longer as a bi-national enterprise. For more information about the new focus of RAI, read this letter to supporters and friends dated January 14, 2015.
If you are interested in learning more about what we learned from our 20+ years of work in Russia, see my “Reflections on Russia.” There are more than 120 short essays on all aspects of Russian society included in these “Reflections” – history, literature, politics, culture, education and international diplomacy.
Someday, I may write the story of my work in Russia from 1990 to 2014 – it was an incredible experience and, for an historian, an opportunity to witness the birth pangs of a new Russia. Russians are such gifted people, and I think there is a new future in store for them and a new positive relationship between our two countries – countries that have been “distant friends” for a long time.
-Dr. John A. Bernbaum, President