Of all the sights Jamaldin Buranov took in at the University yesterday afternoon, the Astroturf at Franklin Field may have intrigued him the most. Buranov, president of the Institute of Foreign Languages in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, stared at the football field, then took a short walk on it to examine it more closely. "It's so green," said colleague Gennady Ryabov, president of the Nizhniy Novgorod State Institute of Foreign Languages, before he and two other Soviet presidents joined Buranov in touring the field. While one president joked that he would build a Franklin Field-style stadium of his own, fascination with American-style football did not bring the presidents to campus. The four-hour visit by four presidents of Soviet foreign-language institutes yesterday was part of a seven-day visit to American colleges to learn more about U.S. education and to create ties with U.S. universities. The group, which Ryabov describes as an American-style consortium, wants to set up student and faculty exchanges with American institutions and to maintain ties with each other. The presidents had visited Bryn Mawr College earlier yesterday, and will visit Columbia University today. They will also meet with representatives of the American Council on Education. During their visit, the presidents asked about the academic, financial and social aspects of the University, and learned about the University's language facilities. They also visited Provost Michael Aiken and Vice President for Finance Selimo Rael at their offices. Buranov said he admired American colleges and universities because of the "excellent" students attending the schools and because of the high quality of the library and laboratory facilities. But he also said he was impressed with administrators' cooperation. "American [administrators] are as frank as we are," Buranov said. "They don't hide things." Aiken said the presidents asked him questions about how the University worked and "how the system thinks." He added the questions were not surprising -- they just "wanted to know what the provost did." The presidents, whose command of the English language ranged from shaky proficiency to fluency, toured the campus with Kite and Key Vice President Jonathan Bing. During the tour, which Bing said was shorter than standard Kite and Key tours, the presidents and their interpreter saw Locust Walk, Houston Hall, Williams Hall, the Engineering School and the outside of the Quadrangle. Buranov and Ryabov peppered students with questions as varied as how much influence students held at the University to whether the University required physical education. Bing also said they were more attentive to the University's sculpture and architecture than most, even pointing out that the Furness Building looked similar to the Lenin Museum in Moscow. The presidents also lunched with Director for the Center for Soviet Studies Elliott Mossman and Peter Steiner, chair of the Slavic Languages Department, and visited the English Language program, which helps students who speak English as a second language.Comments powered by Disqus
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