Immediately after The Wall came down in the early 1990’s, CC’s founder, Michael Kaiser, was in Russia organizing the first joint degree program for the prestigious Moscow State University (MGU). Several American partner universities were considered, including one of Kaiser’s own alma maters, but it was The American University in Washington, DC, under the leadership of then President, Dr. Joseph Duffey, who enthusiastically embraced Kaiser’s vision for a joint-degree program to bridge the gap between the former Soviet Block countries and the West. At the time, Soviet universities wanted to establish business schools and departments of political science and public affairs, and President Duffey was keen on bringing his AU faculty together with MGU faculty to create the first joint degree program of its kind. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Duffey left The American University to become Director of the United States Information Agency (USIA) when Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States.
Arranging a Presidential Visit
Serving as a Registered Foreign Agent for Moscow State University in Washington, DC, Kaiser helped to arrange the first Presidential Visit to MGU’s campus when President Clinton made his second official State visit to Russia…
“When President Clinton accepted the invitation and agreed to come to campus, everyone started scrambling. MGU’s Rector asked what he should say to the President… “What questions do we ask him…? Who should be in the room…? Where should we receive him…?” Since none of the faculty ever believed President Clinton would even consider MGU’s invitation, his acceptance created quite a stir on campus. I recommended the President speak to the entire campus rather than just a select few faculty and students as the faculty had suggested. I also recommended we open the speech up to foreign media to get greater exposure for MGU, worldwide. However, the idea of inviting outside media onto campus and having an open mic was still quite foreign in the USSR, especially for MGU faculty who were required to be members of the Communist Party. Nevertheless, the Rector agreed and the White House advance team saw this openness or “Glasnost” on campus as the perfect opportunity and the perfect venue for President Clinton to give his nationwide address to the former Soviet Union. His speech was an enormous success and is still talked about to this day…”
…Excerpts from Michael Kaiser’s interview at MGU