Russian President Vladimir Putin conferred the Order of Friendship to a group of foreign nationals. Among them was Professor Edward Crawley, the Founding President of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech). The presidential decree states that Edward Crawley is awarded “for his great contribution and fruitful activity in the field of science and education.”
The Order of Friendship (Russian: Орден Дружбы – Orden Druzhby) is a state decoration of the Russian Federation, awarded to Russian and foreign nationals for special merit in strengthening peace, friendship, cooperation and understanding between nations, for fruitful work on the convergence and mutual enrichment of cultures of nations and peoples; for the active conservation, development and promotion of the cultural and historical heritage of Russia; for great contribution to the implementation of joint ventures with the Russian Federation, major economic projects and attracting investments into the economy of the Russian Federation; for broad charitable activities.
We asked Professor Crawley what this award means to him, and to share his thoughts with us:
Q: What does it mean for you to receive the friendship award?
A: Of course this is a tremendous honor, but I would say that the honor should really be shared with all of those who have participated in developing Skolkovo and Skoltech, with the professors, the staff and even the students. This a tremendous accomplishment, that all have participated in, to build this new university and the network in Russia.
Q: How did you get the news about this award?
A: I got it from vice president Sitnikov, over the phone. I had no expectations today that I will receive these news, so it’s even a greater surprise.
Q: You were determined from a young age to try to help the Soviets and the Americans work together in space. Do you think that this award is an official recognition of your efforts in this direction?
A: I think that such awards are always given for lifetime accomplishments and this one is particularly gratifying, because since the age of 15 I have had the intentions to try and bring together the Russian and the American efforts in science and in space in particular. This is a great recognition of my work there.
Q: The award is given to you for your contribution to education and fruitful activity in the field of science. In your opinion, what can and should Russia learn from foreign countries in this aspect?
A: it’s generally understood that in science and in education it’s important that we have open exchange of information and that we have international collaboration and cooperation. It is in this way that we’re both able to address the problems of society and economy, but also ensure a more stable world, where people have better understanding of other nations.