On December 7, the UMBC Russian Club presented an evening of Russian song, cuisine, and fashion to promote cross-cultural understanding and to look beyond recent news headlines of strained diplomacy between the United States and Russia. The event was held in the University Center Ballroom, with support from the Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication (MLLI) department, the Russian Embassy, and the Russian Center for Science and Culture.
The event received news coverage from Russia Beyond the Headlines and Voice of America (article in Russian). Russian instructor Vira Zhdanovych and Elena Volosina ’15, MLLI, brought the event to UMBC to bring awareness to Russian culture and were featured in the news coverage along with MLLI Associate Professor Steven Young.
“I believe that the real culture of a nation, you can’t learn by watching the news or only paying attention to politics, but by talking to real people, eating food, listening to music,” said Volosina, president of the UMBC Russian Club. “From this conversation comes a deeper cultural understanding. This is how you introduce your culture to outsiders.”
In Voice of America, Zhdanovych and Volosina expressed the hope that “they have been able to initiate a new tradition to strengthen the mutual understanding of peoples through culture and beauty(translation).”
Fashion designer Evgenia Luzhina-Salazar headlined the evening and presented a collection of her work. The event featured musical interludes from the UMBC Russian Chorus, the Lada Children’s Theater, singer Victoria Sukhareva and Russian composer and virtuoso guitarist Sergey Kirichenko.
The ballroom was filled with UMBC students, faculty, and staff, as well as many people from off-campus, including representatives from the Russian Embassy and Russian Center for Science and Culture.
Note: Randianne Leyshon, the author of the Russia Beyond the Headlines article, graduated from UMBC in 2009 with a B.A. in MLLI, magna cum laude.