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Forum focuses on international biz in changing world

By Lisa Rich
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, October 25, 2004
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Students interested in international business can now register for the 11th annual Commonwealth of Independent States and Eastern Europe Business Forum, scheduled for Nov. 4 through Nov. 6.

Located in the Hilton Tucson East hotel at 7600 E. Broadway Blvd., the forum brings together agencies from around the world as a resource for people interested in the changing economic, cultural and political world of business in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, said Roza Simkhovickh, associate professor of Russian studies and forum organizer.

More than 13 former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries will be represented at the forum by 30 spokespeople, who will discuss topics such as implementing economic reform, legal practices, outsourcing and language barriers, Simkhovickh said.

In addition to international attendees, a panel of U.S. government representatives will discuss programs of commerce, U.S. trade and development and the Department of Energy's Nuclear Cities Initiative.

"In the past, some UA students have gotten jobs with the government or private sector as a result of attending and making connections," said George Gutsche, Russian and Slavic studies department head.

Discussions will focus on internships that offer training programs abroad, managing commercial relations both economically and culturally and creating sustainable business in former weapon complexes, Simkhovickh said.

The representatives will also provide information about successful business practices within diverse cultures and offer ample networking opportunities for possible employment, Simkhovickh said.

"The distinctive quality (of the forum) has been bringing together different groups including students, and not only providing an opportunity to get information but also to network," Gutsche said.

"Finding the right partner and people to talk to when organizing a business is truly paramount," Simkhovickh said.

Simkhovickh said the UA is the only university in the nation to hold this type of forum, focusing on financial, cultural and educational aspects of the business world.

"When people from around the world come to speak and participate, it brings a lot of prestige to our university," Simkhovickh said. "Our students need to know about it and get involved. ... It's great for them and is fascinating work that involves a lot of travel and exciting opportunities."

Although other institutions such as Harvard University offer a similar international business forum, their focus deals solely with finance, Simkhovickh said.

"Our focus is educating and helping people in the real sense of business by bringing together diverse professionals from different avenues," Simkhovickh said. "Business is more than just finance."

In addition to helping the success of American business, Simkhovickh said agencies in other countries could improve their own practices by working with Americans in a legal business environment.

Simkhovickh said that corrupt businesses in the Commonwealth of Independent States (the former Soviet Union), and Eastern European region get away with illegal practices in trade and finance too often.

By working with Americans, these companies can learn different business approaches and improve their own quality of life, Simkhovickh said.

The forum is sponsored by the UA department of Russian and Slavic studies, with funding partially provided by seven co-sponsors such as the UA office of International Affairs, Foodpro International and Fair Winds Trading Company.

Simkhovickh said the event is financially self-supporting and has cost thousands of dollars. The exact cost of the event will be determined after the Nov. 1 registration deadline.

The registration fee for students is $25, which covers entrance fee and meals during the forum.

Non-students are required to pay $135, which includes their entry fee, meals and two-night room reservation at the Hilton.

Students can register for the weekend event in the Russian department, on the third floor of the Learning Services building. Registration forms can also be completed online with a credit card.

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