Noa Gur-Arie is a rising senior at Barnard, double majoring in Middle Eastern and Russian Regional studies. She has lived and worked in Rabat, Morocco and Vladimir, Russia with the US State Department's Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study and Critical Language Scholarship programs.
This summer, she will be returning to Morocco to conduct field research on the topic of Russian cultural diplomacy in the Arab world. Her work will specifically focus on the activities of the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Rabat, which was founded in 1967 as the Soviet Center. Soviet Centers for Science and Culture began opening around the world only a few years after the Bolshevik Revolution, in 1925. They are emblematic of Russia’s particular brand of soft power in the Arab world, and open a larger discussion about how the Soviet Union presented itself as an ally to various post-colonial Arab regimes and how that idea has evolved in the regional foreign policy of post-communist Russia.