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“The Princess & the Patriot” Exhibit Highlights Russian-American Cooperation and Technological Development Through the Lives of
Ekaterina Dashkova and Benjamin Franklin

The Mid-Atlantic Russia Business Council (MARBC) is pleased to support the “The Princess & the Patriot” exhibit, currently being held at the Museum of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. The exhibit has been chosen to be part of various MARBC events and conferences during 2006, including hosting visiting delegations from Russia, because it illustrates the long history of Russian-American cooperation and technological development. MARBC encourages those interested in Russian history and the Age of Enlightenment to view the exhibit.

“The Princess and the Patriot” exhibit is being held from February 17 – December 31, 2006 as part of the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin. The exhibit presents Franklin’s life in a novel way, emphasizing his role as an Enlightenment thinker and placing him alongside Ekaterina Dashkova, an important figure in 18th century Russia. Though the two came from very different backgrounds, both Franklin and Dashkova were profoundly influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment that had been developed in Western Europe. Franklin made his mark as a scientist, a printer, and a politician, playing an important role in the development of American democracy. In 1743 he founded the American Philosophical Society, an internationally respected organization dedicated to scholarly pursuits.

During the same era, Princess Ekaterina Dashkova was making a name for herself in her native Russia. In 1762, at the age of only 18, she helped her friend Catherine Alexeyevna (Catherine the Great) take the Russian throne in a coup d’etat. Ekaterina was an intellectual who studied literature and mathematics. She traveled extensively in Europe and became a friend of major literary figures including Voltaire and Diderot. Dashkova achieved further prominence as an intellectual when she was appointed as director of the Academy of Russian Language and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Franklin and Dashkova met face to face only once – in 1781 in Paris – but each developed a strong respect for the intellect and achievements of the other. In 1789 Franklin nominated Dashkova to become a member of the American Philosophical Society, making her the only female member of the group. In the same year, Franklin was nominated by Dashkova to join the Russian Academy of Sciences, making him its first American member.

In April, as a part of the 4th Semi-Annual Russian-American Innovation Technology Week (RANIT) from April 6-12, 2006, the program included a visit to the exhibit and a Russian musical performance at Benjamin Franklin Hall, which complemented the exhibit. The Russian musical performance featured the group “Talisman,” which specializes in performing pieces by female Russian composers who were at the court of Catherine the Great. In the future, MARBC will include the exhibit as a part of the Russian Mayors Delegation’s visit to Philadelphia on July 12, 2006, when mayors and local government officials from the Russian Federation will visit the United States. On October 5, 2006, Russian participants of the Russian-American Venture Industry Cooperation Program, who will be attending the Mid-Atlantic Venture Conference, will visit the exhibit. MARBC also plans to include “The Princess and the Patriot” exhibit as a part of the program of the 5th Semi-Annual Russian-American Innovation Technology Week, which will be held from November 13-17, 2006. The 5th Semi-Annual RANIT will include a panel discussion on Franklin and Dashkova and will be followed by a viewing of the exhibit. MARBC would also be pleased to support more Russian musical performances in the future.

The Museum of the American Philosophical Society is located at 104 South Fifth Street in Philadelphia. For further information about the exhibit, visit http://www.amphilsoc.org/exhibitions.

For further information about “The Princess and the Patriot” exhibit, contact Val Kogan, Mid-Atlantic-Russia Business Council, by phone: (215) 708-2628, or email: val@ma-rbc.org, or visit the MARBC website at: http://www.ma-rbc.org


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