Congratulations to RAF's 2020 Virtual NSLI-Y & BBASI participants, representing numerous regions of the United States and countries around the world, for a successful summer of Russian language, culture studies, and acclaimed ballet training! RAF thanks its long-term partners; the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, American Councils for International Education, and Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet Academy for collaboration to provide impactful and valuable virtual programs, free of charge, to our families.  

In 2020, for the 11th year in a row, RAF has been selected as an implementing organization for the prestigious NSLI for Youth Program, a program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. RAF’s NSLI-Y Program empowers American youth to be future global ambassadors through a unique opportunity which combines Russian language instruction, cultural immersion, pre-professional and career related experiences.   

The Russian American Foundation (RAF) was founded in 1997 as a non-partisan organization 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.  At its inception, RAF's programming centered on the arts as a common bond to promote mutual understanding and engagement.  With time, RAF's programming also expanded to the fields of education and sports.


Today, RAF serves national and international communities while continuing to be a strong supporter and active member of the Russian-American community of New York.  At the core of RAF's mission is an ongoing commitment to:

  • Promoting a positive dialogue between the people and cultures of the United States and Russia.

  • Promoting economic and social development, progress, and well-being within the Russian-speaking community of the New York area and the greater United States.

  • Promoting a better understanding and acceptance of the Russian-speaking community among the various other communities of New York and the greater United States.

  • Assisting the Russian-speaking community of New York and the greater United States in preserving its heritage, culture, and language.

RAF Programs

Annual Russian Heritage Month®


The Annual Russian Heritage Month® celebrates and honors the rich diversity of cultural traditions brought to the U.S. from the many countries of the former Soviet Union. Every year throughout the month of June, RAF presents a variety of public cultural events, such as contemporary and folk music concerts, dance performances, art exhibitions, film screenings, roundtable discussions, festivals, community health and sports fairs, and more.

Bolshoi Ballet Academy Programs

June - August

Through RAF's long-term partnership with Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet Academy, its highly acclaimed Programs bring to the American ballet community the rich history, culture, and pedagogy of authentic Russian classical ballet.  RAF/Academy joint Programs include;  Summer Youth Intensive Programs, Teacher Certification Program, and NSLI-Y Russian Language and Culture RAF & Bolshoi Way in Moscow. 

NSLI for Youth Scholarship Programs

June - August

The NSLI for Youth Scholarship to Study Language Abroad is a program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Implemented by RAF in collaboration with the American Councils for International Education, RAF's program offers eligible high school students, merit-based scholarships to develop Russian language skills and understanding of Russian culture through a summer immersion program.

SportsUnited:  Basketball Ambassadors of Today & Tomorrow

A U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program, implemented by RAF, enabling Russian and American youth and coaches to engage with overseas peers through a common bond of basketball.  Participants learn about each other’s culture and country, while developing individual skills for becoming open-minded citizens in today’s global world.

Battles on Ice®
Friendship Hockey Games

Established  by RAF in partnership with Legends of USSR Hockey Club, the Battles on Ice® are friendship games between the teams of the New York Fire Department and Russia’s EMERCOM. The games honor the sacrifices all first responders make to safeguard the lives of everyday citizens and commemorate the victims of terrorist acts in New York and Moscow.

Other Programs &

Learn more about RAF's numerous cultural programs and initiatives throughout the years.