Mathematics major and premedical student Charlie Jose never expected he'd be invited to travel to Russia when he ran for president of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, Reno last year.
Now, through a nomination from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Jose will join a delegation of 14 other university student-body presidents and one student newspaper editor from across the United States to travel to Russia, March 8-14, at the invitation of the International Relations Department of the Federal Agency on Youth Affairs of the Russian Federation.
"I am most excited about being exposed to a different culture and meeting with their student leaders," Jose said. "I hope to bring back several strategies on how we can get our student body more involved with community, government and politics."
Nearly all of the students were nominated by their members of Congress in a process facilitated by the Open World Leadership Center, a congressional agency with a mission to partner emerging leaders from the countries of Eurasia with their counterparts in the United States.
In order to extend diplomacy through young leaders across the United States, part of the Center's mission, the students will meet with youth issues leaders as well as senior officials in the legislative, executive and judicial branches of power. This is the second group of U.S. students invited by the Russians. In December 2010, 15 student-body presidents made the inaugural trip.
Jose will chronicle his trip with photos, videos, tweets, blogs and Facebook posts, sharing much about the people he meets, including Russian philanthropist and owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team Mikhail Prokhorov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and First Deputy Chief of Staff to the President and Aide to Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov, among others. Places he will visit include the Federation Council (upper chamber of the Russian parliament), the Moscow Kremlin (considered the historical heart of the country with Kremlin palaces and cathedrals), and the site of the 44th Biathlon World Championships.
After graduation this May, Jose will begin applying for medical schools and plans to continue research work at the Nevada School of Medicine.