The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde

Productive and profound international collaborative endeavor is built upon human relationships which are based first on mutual understanding and respect and second on the ability to communicate. For U.S.-Russian activities, there remain many barriers to both understanding and communications. The proven track record of Friends and Partners in U.S.-Russian networking gives a decided advantage in initiating and sustaining activities related to scientific/educational exchange generally and to the HPIIS project specifically.

The original project and parent of other international collaborative efforts, Friends and Partners originated as a goodwill gesture between two friends—one in the U.S. and one in Russia—determined to use the emerging Internet as a means of introducing people in their countries to each other. Using technologies developed from the Cold War separating the two nations, this project aims to use modern Internet-based services as a means of bridging the many barriers—language, cultural, political, commercial—between U.S. and Russian individuals and organizations. During the project's first 4 years, Friends and Partners has become one of the larger services on the global Internet, receiving over 2 million gross accesses each month; attracting over 9,000 individuals in 60 countries as subscribers to its various communications services; handling many millions of email exchanges; and supporting a friendly, cooperative environment for a growing community which now regularly uses its services.

Friends & Partners has spawned over 100 U.S.-Russian information services—partnering with individuals throughout Russian and the US and supported—with information and with funding—by such organizations as the Ford Foundation, the International Science Foundation, NATO, Radio Free Europe, the U.S. State Department, Sun Microsystems, RELARN, and many others. Several of the interest-based communities incubated by Friends and Partners have grown into large and active communities themselves. Friends and Partners has received numerous top Internet awards and honors, and has been listed among the top sites on the Internet by various rating agencies. It has been featured in several international conferences and events including the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission meeting of January 1996 in Washington, DC. where it was used to demonstrate the capability of the Internet for facilitating scientific dialog and exchange between Russian and American scientific communities. The project now maintains Internet sites in the U.S., Russia, and Central/Eastern Europe.

The name "Friends and Partners" hints at the spirit of human networking which underlies this initiative begun nearly 4 years ago and developed and managed entirely as a U.S.-Russian partnership. While its focus of exploring new information and communications technologies as a means of improving cross-cultural human networking has given it stature within the technical Internet community, its real aim and success has been on improving cultural education and understanding, on introducing new relationships, and on building human and organizational infrastructure which makes both possible and productive new U.S.-Russian initiative.

Rooted in the scientific and educational communities of its two host countries, it has broadened to include work within the civil society, health care, commerce and industry, and government sectors. It is this broad organizational infrastructure which makes possible this HPIIS application and which provides a solid foundation on which to build information and communications infrastructure and to ensure a broad base of users and developers who will provide and utilize innovative high-speed networking applications. The real goal of this project is not to merely engineer telecommunications connections—but rather to engineer and support new communities of active, productive collaboration comprised of U.S. and Russian scientists, educators and researchers.

In addition to continuing to support general academic/scientific exchange through high speed networking applications, NaukaNet must ensure that U.S. and Russian scientists jointly address and resolve the limitations of the current Internet protocols and services. By helping seed the development of high speed networking in Russia, the NaukaNet initiative will ensure this possibility.

Visit the Friends and Partners Foundation, Russia website at http://www.friends-partners.ru/friends/.


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Funding for NaukaNet provided by the US National Science Foundation and the Ministry for Industry, Science and Technology of the Russian Federation. Telecommunications services are provided by Telia, Inc.

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Updated: 1999-09-

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©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole


NaukaNet Project Activities

Various NaukaNet information resources such as progress reports, performance statistics, information about meetings, working groups and others directly involved in the project, applications being used, specific engineering information, etc. are to be posted here.

Please visit the Activities page for more information.