This was a conference based on recent tendencies in the field of sociology and sociocultural studies, particularly focusing upon the life and work of Pitirim Sorokin on the 110th anniversary of his birth. Sorokin was born near Syktyvkar, taught in St. Petersburg, but soon after the 1917 Russian Revolution was forced to emigrate to the US due to his political views. He became an internationally renowned scholar in the developing field of sociology, teaching for the rest of his life at Harvard University. As a result of the political situation of the 20th century, Sorokin's work is very well known in most countries other than Russia, and only about 15% of his works are currently translated into Russian. As a result, only a small pool of elite Russian scholars have had access to his work.
This conference brought together almost 100 scholars interested in P. Sorokin and the international field of sociocultural studies. It was organized primarily by the International Kondratieff Foundation, but coorganized and cosponsored by USIA/IREX, the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow State University, St. Petersburg University, and over 10 other institutions of higher education both within and outside Russia. IREX did not support the entire cost of the event, as it took place in both Moscow and St. Petersburg, Feb. 4-6, and brought ten specialists from various countries (five from America, including the son of Pitirim Sorokin) to present and participate in smaller sessions. Twenty-one alumni of USIA programs attended the event, and in addition many of the primary organizers, including Yadov of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Natalia Rimashevskaya, Director of the Institute of Socioeconomic Problems of Population, are alumni of IREX programs from decades past.
USIS representatives attended the event in both locations, with Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer Ilya Levin presenting in Moscow and Branch Public Affairs Officer Janet Demiray presenting in St. Petersburg. Local media was present for the openings in both cities. One journal of contributed articles was distributed during the conference, and a second follow-up journal will be published this spring.