The Russian American Foundation was founded in 1997 to encourage interest in and understanding of Russian heritage among all communities in the US, as well as to promote reciprocal interest in and understanding of American heritage among global Russian-speaking communities.
Over the years, RAF's mission has expanded to incorporate national programs aimed at:
For additional information about our programs, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Marina Kovalyov is highly regarded in the Russian-speaking communities worldwide as both a business and a cultural leader. After years of serving as Senior Curator at the St. Petersburg Museum of Ethnography in Russia, Marina immigrated to the United States in 1979 and soon thereafter accepted a position with the Costumes and Textiles department at the Brooklyn Museum of New York. After being dismissed due to budgetary cuts, Marina decided to pursue entrepreneurism and founded a travel company that specialized in serving the Russian-speaking community. The company quickly expanded and became the leading agency for the Russian-speaking community with offices in New York, Moscow, and Tel-Aviv. In the 1990s, Marina saw an opportunity to bring Russian artists and entertainers to the United States, which launched her successful career as a producer. Marina has also hosted a highly popular program on Russian television and was a co-creator and a coeditor of the magazine New York Seasons, the first Russian-language magazine about cultural life in New York.
After selling her business in 1997, Marina founded the Russian American Arts Foundation with the goal of building a bridge between Russia and the United States through culture and people. Marina’s expertise and global connections are in constant demand and she serves as a consultant for many American and Russian corporations, as well as private individuals. With her active lifestyle, Marina still finds time for charitable causes and is a member of the boards of numerous community organizations such as United Jewish Appeal–Russian Division, Shorefront YM-YWHA, COJECO, RAJE, and the Jewish Week.
Marina has been awarded numerous Honors and Awards for her contributions, including:
2010 - Award for "Outstanding Contributions To The Jewish Community", Queens Jewish Community Council, Inc.
2008 - Award for "Contributions to the Successful Development of Cultural Life of New York”, The Office of the Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes
2007 - Honored by William C. Thompson, Jr. for her Outstanding contributions to the Cultural Life of New York City
2006 - Honored by The Council of the City of New York for her Outstanding contributions to the Cultural Life of the City
2005 - Honored by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for her Outstanding Contributions to New York City
2004 - Honored in a program by Channel 13 “Immigrant Women Pursuing The American Dream”
2000 and 1996 - Woman of the Year, United Jewish Appeal
1994 - Woman of the Year, Long Island Business Association
Rina Kirshner received her undergraduate education in international relations, finance and management at Wharton School of Business and University of Pennsylvania and received her MBA in finance at NYU Stern School of Business, graduating with honors in all degrees. In her early years, she had a successful career in international business with a focus on Russia. However, after a number of years in the private sector where she experienced the complexity of US-Russian relations, Rina decided to dedicate herself to promoting Russian-American dialogue through non-profit initiatives in the fields of culture, education, sports, and health.