The Pushkin Summer Institute is an empowering and transformative educational experience for American high school students from secondary schools with majority Latino and/or African-American populations. Underlying the program is a multi-pronged strategy that combines the latest knowledge about best practices in world language acquisition with an integrated subject curriculum focused around Alexander Pushkin, Russia’s national poet (“Russia’s Shakespeare”), whose African heritage was instrumental in his sense of identity and in crucial aspects of his life and works. The example of Pushkin has never been used this way with an American student audience, and we believe his life story, his extraordinary ancestry, his supreme ability to turn the adverse circumstances dealt to him by life into creative behavior and a legacy that has touched millions, can be harnessed so as to inspire young people who may have their own challenging circumstances to overcome.
The Pushkin Summer Institute at UW-Madison is administered by the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA), in cooperation with the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic, and the Language Institute. Financial support for PSI in Madison comes from the partner schools, the College of Letters & Science, and the Brittingham Foundation. From 2014-2019, PSI in Madison received support from STARTALK. The Pushkin Summer Institute Abroad is a program of the U.S. Department of State’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y).