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 Russian/American Banking Internship Program (RABIP)
Dickinson State University, USA & Inter-branch Regional Entrepreneurship Institute, Russia

      University Mission

Dickinson State University (DSU) is a regional four-year institution within the North Dakota University System, whose primary role is to contribute to intellectual, social, economic, and cultural development, especially to the West River Region of North Dakota. The University's mission is to provide high-quality, accessible programs; to promote excellence in teaching and learning; to support scholarly and creative activities; and to provide service relevant to the economy, health, and quality of life the citizens of the State of North Dakota.

University Global Awareness Mission and Objectives

In the fall of 2000, Dickinson State University launched its Global Awareness Initiative that has become the conduit for connecting students, citizens, businesses and institutions in a collaborative effort to understand global issues. The University is preparing our graduates, and the citizens of southwestern North Dakota, to successfully participate in a multicultural society and global economy. The Universitys endeavor to facilitate economic development and promote global awareness is congruent with the North Dakota University System Strategic Plan which calls for institutions to expand and diversify the economy and to be competitive nationally and internationally.

Networking with colleagues and educational associations, Dickinson State has established new relationships with universities abroad. We now have partnerships in China, England, Russia, Japan, Mexico and Kazakhstan. Two of the partnerships are particularly noteworthy. In 2002, a North Dakota University System of Higher Education delegation, organized by Dickinson State University, visited China. As a result, we developed a dual degree program with 15 Chinese universities. 

Colleges and universities are in a unique position to foster understanding, tolerance and informed dialogue regarding globalization. Indeed, the complex 21st century geo-political environment and global economy require a new paradigm for American colleges and universities. The model for todays universities must be one that educates students to be competent in their discipline and intentionally prepares them to successfully participate as world citizens in the global economy. The need to prepare students for a global economy and multicultural society through curricular changes, the recruitment and retention of foreign students and study abroad is clearly reflected in a recent States Institute Report which indicates that, Today, one in six U.S. jobs is tied to international trade and investment and over the past decade exports accounted for 25 percent of U.S. economic growth. This need is even more compelling for rural institutions like Dickinson State University because of the isolation and parochial environment inherent to their location. North Dakota has a strong interest in global markets for its products, yet it is currently ranked 43rd in the area of globalization.

With the infusion of international students into campus life, students are given the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with their counterparts from other countries and cultures. This interaction facilitates dialog which leads to greater understanding of global issues, whether political, cultural or economic, as well as shared interests in peace and cooperation. A sense of involvement that extends beyond the borders of the campus, community and state stimulates student learning and enriches the local culture.

Dickinson State Universitys Global Awareness Initiative Objectives:

  • To create a more diverse and invigorating learning environment by recruiting and retaining international students and faculty;

  • To increase student and faculty involvement in foreign exchange programs;

  • To engage students and area citizens in activities which foster a greater understanding of the economic issues and opportunities related to globalization; and

  • To foster the idea that individuals can contribute to world peace through education, understanding, tolerance and interaction with people from other cultures.

RABIP Program Description

As a part of the universitys global initiative, in 2003, a University delegation led by a Dickinson State University Russian-born professor visited Russian universities, including Nizhny Novgorod State Agriculture Academy (NNSAA), Timiriazev State Agricultural Academy (TSAA), government officials and business leaders. Russian business leaders and entrepreneurs expressed a strong desire to connect with businesses in North Dakota to explore cooperative business ventures. Furthermore, Russian scholars and government officials engaged in agri-security research want to collaborate with Dickinson State Universitys bio-security project. Limited two-way student/faculty exchanges are being planned for this summer. The Russian partnerships have great potential on many fronts including our proposed Russian/American Banking Internship Program RABIP.

While in Russia they were successful in building a working relationship with several Russian leaders and secured agreements (see appendix) for future cooperation for the development of RABIP. The mission of RABIP project is to provide an international exchange opportunity for business students from both countries to live, learn and lead from participation in an academic and practical life changing experience. Primary focuses of both universities missions are to better train and serve their students by raising the level of global awareness. The banking industry in both countries has been and will continue to be in a phase of transformation. Through this RABIP program, future bankers will gain a better understanding and appreciation of the challenges facing tomorrows global financial industry. The Russian officials have told us that their greatest need in rural communities is for their young people to have an opportunity to receive practical agricultural banking training in the use of modern technology to increase their countrys ability to raise the population standard of living. In North Dakota, we have identified that our students of agriculture, banking and finance are very limited in their understanding of what it means when they are told that in the future their world of agriculture will be a Global Industry.

Through the support of Euro-Asia Foundation our RABIP program will be of significant importance to the future agricultural bankers of both countries. In addition to the exchange participants, host families and the entire agriculture communities in both countries will benefit through an enhanced understanding of the similarities/differences and possible collaborative strategies between two of the largest food producing nations in the world. We have designed the RABIP program to be truly an equal partnership between the Inter-branch Regional Entrepreneurship Institute (IREI) and Dickinson State University (DSU). We have gone to great pains to make sure the wishes and needs of both institutions are addressed for this unique exchange internship program.

 RABIP Program Details

Starting as soon as official approval is received from the Euro-Asia Foundation we will begin the publicity of the opportunity to expand our exchange efforts. Recruitment efforts will intensify both in Russia and on our campus to generate highly qualified and motivated participants. Our goal is to increase the number of agricultural banking and finance students participating in our exchange effort by 24 students. With sufficient funding, twelve exchange students per year from each university will be selected to participant in this one of a kind program for the next three years. The expectations are that at the end of this three year period enough interest will have been generated to gain other financial support for the continuation of this RABIP project. The selected students will spend the fall semester in their home country participating in orientation activities. This orientation would including cultural and language training to improve the exchange experiences. These activities will be designed to involve other students along with the participants to broaden the scope and benefits of the exchange. In addition students in both counties will be in contact via e-mail communication to exchange information about themselves and get to know each other.

The RABIP program fulfills the Euro-Asia Foundations GLOBAL EDUCATION mission by providing the opportunity for international studies, global understanding and student/faculty exchanges. The state of North Dakota and the Voronezh region of Russia have several similarities that allow this to be a successful long term exchange program. Generally the same major crops are grown, our climates are very similar and both institutions have already made a commitment to work together. Individuals at both universities are working hard to make this a successful exchange program.

Goals and purposes. The goal and purpose of Russian/American Banking Internship Program (RABIP) program is to:

  1. develop and strengthen the capability of Inter-branch Regional Entrepreneurship Institute and Dickinson State University to provide sustainable educational programs in global awareness;

  2. Focus training directory on democratization process and business development in Agricultural Banking Sector of the Economy 

Objectives. The specific objectives of this program are:

  1.  to provide practical academic training in agriculture to Russian and American students in the United States and in Russia respectively;

  2.  to build international understanding and friendship among the participants and their communities;

  3. to help future agriculture leaders better understand that agriculture is more than Plows-Cows-and Sows in a global world.

Objectives will be measured by applying formative and summative evaluation models.
Agriculture in both Russia and United States has undergone major changes in the last ten years. Agriculture and the future agriculturalist of each country are important to the growth of both partners. Due to the strong need and lack of existing exchange programs, RABIP will focus on agricultural students with the major in banking and finance. Over half of all North Dakota workers depend directly on agriculture for their livelihood. By exchanging agriculture students, young people in both regions will have a better understanding of the global marketplace and similarities among people of the world. Future agriculturalists will also need to be knowledgeable about international agriculture, agribusiness, agri-security and trade in addition to local production issues.

Russian students will enroll as full time DSU students in a wide range of courses at Dickinson State depending upon their specific interest. Through the assistance of the Euro-Asia Foundation, Russia students could begin their studies at DSU as early as the spring semester of 2005. The Dickinson State students will travel to Russia to participate in a summer school program. Students will be required to take a wide variety of classes, for university credit, to expose themselves to various curricula. Both IREI and DSU are known and accredited for their strong academic programs. Participants will be in regular university classes, where appropriate, with peers from their host country.

During the break between spring and summer semesters, Russian/American students will be placed on host family farms with agriculture students. This will allow them to obtain first hand agricultural experiences in production, marketing and decision making. Russian students will be able to observe the rural cooperative system, extension service, research stations and local agriculture youth organizations and a market oriented economy. American students will gain first hand experience in Russia, developing a more complete understanding of Russia in this period of transition including its agriculture system.

The summer semesters will allow the RABIP students to put their formal learning into practice. The Russian students will have the opportunity to take credit classes at the university or a series of intensive applied workshop classes offered by Dickinson State Universitys off-campus credit program. It is desirable that the students experience the different types of academic learning systems offered in the United States.

If the students arrive in the United States/Russia without sufficient language skills to participate in formal classes, every effort will be made to provide tutoring to help the students in the class or suitable alternative credit course work will be made available. These may include small workshops, seminars, individual projects under a professors supervision, escorted field trips, and one-on-one instruction. The goal of the cooperating universities is to provide useful and practical instruction for all students in a wide range of subjects at a university level of instruction and difficulty.

The foreign exchange partner for this program is the Inter-branch Regional Entrepreneurship Institute in Russia. This University of Entrepreneurship was selected as an exchange partner due to their enthusiasm toward exchange programs, strong academic program in agriculture, banking and finance, willingness to cooperate, similar agriculture to North Dakota, and past history of successful exchange program cooperation with TASIS, Soros Foundation and other foundations. The IREI signed a letter of agreement with Dickinson State University on September 23, 2003. In addition, Ministry of Agriculture has signed a letter specifically endorsing this program and giving their full support to this exchange. List of letters of support are enclosed. Copies can be found in the appendix. Our partners in Nizhny Novgorod are:

  • Inter-branch Regional Entrepreneurship Institute 

  • Voronezh State University

  • Initiative Technological Center

  • Voronezh Regional Government

  • Administration of the President of the Russian Federation

  • Federal Training Center for Agricultural Extension

  • Russian Federal Academy for Personnel Development

Dickinson State University has a full complement of staff and services to help accomplish the objectives of this exchange program. The project management team will consist of the Chair of Department of Agriculture and Technical Studies, and international program assistants. These primary staff members will be responsible for the coordination of the program orientation, academic program, and evaluation components of the project. In addition to the primary staff members, each visiting student will have an academic advisor to assist in selecting classes. They will make the students feel at home by taking an active role in the student academic progress.
The following persons will comprise the key staff members who will conduct the program in North Dakota. In addition, the Russian counterparts will provide similar monitoring and coordination functions in Russia.

Dr. Gary A. White
Chair, Department of Agriculture & Technical Studies


Dr. White is responsible for the overall project management and financial matters. His extensive experiences in administration, teaching, and directing of international programs qualify him as the administrative director for this exchange.

Dr. Andrew Novotorov
Assistant Professor of Agriculture


Dr. Novotorov is responsible for conducting the orientation, monitoring activities, evaluation and coordination of activities. He is a former faculty member of Nizhniy Novgorod State Agricultural Academy and a Russian citizen who makes him uniquely qualified to work with exchange students. He has several years of experiences working on exchange programs.

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