Note: the "Friends and Partners" services can be viewed on the Internet
at the following two addresses:
Introduction to "Friends and Partners"
Through a variety of information and communications service distributed
across Russia and the U.S.,, "Friends and Partners" demonstrates how the
rapidly growing Internet, itself rooted in the Cold War separating our
nations, can be used by and between our countries to promote education,
economic development, joint research initiatives, new exchange programs,
and new partnerships. Its framework of services link together
information on our nations' histories; our art, music, literature and
religion; educational and scientific resources; business and economic
services and opportunities; geography and natural resources; and our
languages - as well as opportunities for communicating, traveling and
working together. The result is a dynamic, evolving information resource
that promotes active exchange between individuals and organizations in our
countries, and provides a common 'meeting place' for communications.
Although still relatively new - established in January, 1994 - its
activities have been well received and heavily used. Its information
services now comprise one of the more active Internet servers today with
the number of accesses doubling every 4-6 months and with current activity
exceeding one million accesses monthly. It has received a number of
awards and honors including a recent rating as one of the top 30 sites on
the Internet. It has received funding from NATO, the US State Department,
the International Science Foundation, Sun Microsystems, and other
organizations. The Friends and Partners initiative has been featured in
several international conferences including a recent Gore/Chernomyrdin
meeting held in January 1996 in Washington, DC.
Because Friends and Partners provides a framework of information and
communication services, the project has tried to enable others - with
specific areas of interest and expertise - to function as providers of
information and communication services to more focused constituencies.
This has led to a number of affiliated WWW servers and email servers by
which these groups share information and communicate.
Examples of these include the Center for Civil Society (supporting a
community of non-governmental organizations (NGOs)), Friends and Partners
in Space (devoted to joint space activities), the FP Legal Server, "Healthy
Partners" (devoted to medical/health issues collaboration), Russian Life
Magazine, GlasNews, The Global University, Project Harmony (including
programs involving children's exchange), Alliance of Universities for
Democracy, and many others. It is precisely by distributing
responsibility to such organizations (and supporting them in their efforts)
that the project can meet the needs of the various constituencies
comprising the overall Friends and Partners community.
The over 1.2 gigabytes of information on F&P now includes such items as a
six year full-text-searchable archive of Radio Free Europe/OMRI postings;
daily news updates from a variety of media resources on Russia/NIS
activities; a large funding information base, information on art, music,
history, telecommunications and many other information resources and
searchable databases. More central to the F&P mission, however, are the
several communications services - including several email listservers
(with a total of more than 5,000 subscribers), the "Coffee House" bulletin
board, and the F&P Chat Room.
Friends and Partners brings a number of important organizational and
experiential resources to this project. These are briefly described
Organizational and Personnel Resources
The project has a unique organizational base in that all activities are
coordinated by two offices located 5,000 miles apart Ñ one in Pushchino,
Russia - the other in Knoxville, Tennessee. The two staffs now have 3+
years of experience working together - providing a proven track record,
knowledge and experience working on joint U.S.-Russian initiatives.
The Friends and Partners Support Center in Pushchino, created by a grant
from the U.S. State Department, is housed within the Office of Grants and
Research Development within the Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology
of Microorganisms (Russian Academy of Science). The staff, directed by
F&P co-creator Natasha Bulashova includes a programmer, engineer, and
Friends and Partners is supported in Knoxville from the Center for
International Networking Initiatives - established in 1995 as a direct
outgrowth of the F&P project. The staff, directed by F&P co-creator Greg
Cole, includes an administrative assistant, programmer, network engineer,
translator, and student assistant. This staff also has three years
experience creating and supporting the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Regional
Network (KORRNet) - a large and successful civic network involving several
hundred organizations and many more users. The knowledge and experience
working with this initiative is proving useful in planning civic
networking in Russia.
The F&P Center in Pushchino has been provided with a Sun SPARC 5 computer
(by grant from Sun Microsystems, Inc.) and a Sun SPARC 2 workstation (by
grant from International Science Foundation). The F&P Center in Knoxville
uses a Sun SPARC 10 workstation (upgraded via grant from Sun Microsystems)
and a Linux workstation (by grant from Esper Systems, Inc.).
Our most helpful resource is the community of individuals and
organizations who function as information providers and managers of
various communications services on Friends and Partners. There are over
100 such within the overall F&P community. Also, the over 5,000
subscribers to various email listservers and the many thousands of
occasional users of F&P provide an incredibly large, extensive, and
invaluable human network which we will draw upon for the civic networking
The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human, and therefore, brothers. - Martin Luther King, Jr.