“Help is there when you need it”

“Perm is the best option for American students,” says Michael Losavio from Louisville University in an interview about collaboration and common concerns.

The American is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Justice Administration and the Department of Computer Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Louisville (USA) and he has been visiting Perm.  He came to Perm State University previously in 2013 and gave lectures on computer law and cybercrime. His teaching focus includes legal regulation in information technology and information assurance.

You’ve come Perm to take part in a conference on human rights at Perm State University. What’s the event about?

The 7th Summer School on Human Rights at Perm State University is an inter-disciplinary program with a practical emphasis aimed at broadening students’ knowledge of sustainable development goals, and is looking at cooperation between governments, civil society and commercial enterprises in achieving these goals and at the question of human rights in collaborating with commercial enterprises.

Why is the University of Louisville interested in our city?

I believe that Perm is the best option for American students for intensive study of Russian Language and culture. Moscow and St. Petersburg are very interesting, but we want students to take a step back and think about what they are studying.  One of the great things about Perm is that people here will help you if you need it. At the Conference several Russian students came up to me and all of them said that what they liked best about Louisville is that our people talk! In New York and Washington people say what the government wants to hear – how everything in America is “perfect”, but in Louisville people aren’t shy about telling the truth. I think Perm has a similar mentality. The Perm people are very proud of their country and their city, but they are honest too about what is really going on. This is what connects us.

There are other things we have in common too: Perm and Louisville are cities with a population of about a million,  both are located on rivers – the Ohio and Kama. Living on a river changes one’s perspective, and I think the Kama is wonderful. In Louisville we are only just beginning to develop an embankment, something which you already have.

Will you be continuing student exchanges between Perm and Louisville?

Yes, we are trying to find a way for more of our students to come here to study and return with new skills, and this applies to Perm students as well. The biggest challenge is the cost of American education. We want the very best students, not the richest – unless, of course, the two happen to coincide.

Another issue is that students from Perm can study at our Law School, but the University of Louisville cannot formally credit their studies.  We are looking into Perm University crediting students for their study in America. The University invites and sponsors students from Perm, but the American system differs significantly from the Russian one, which causes difficulties as far as formalities are concerned. Nevertheless, the exchange programme can be very useful. A couple of Perm University students were successful in securing positions in Moscow after taking part in the exchange programme. Their knowledge of the American judicial system was a huge help in the interview. This is why it is so important to learn how things work in our different countries.

I have been very surprised by how little information there is about Russian technologies in American journals. Technologies in Russia are very complex and advanced, and I think it is important that people realise this as we could help each other move forward. I think that at some point relations between Russia and the rest of the world will get better.