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Release: Immediate

Business opportunities in former Soviet bloc is focus of April 10 conference at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A high-ranking economic advisor to Czech President Vaclav Havel, the vice chairman of Gallup Inc., and representatives of American businesses operating in the former Soviet Union and its republics, will gather Friday, April 10 at the University of Iowa College of Business Administration to discuss the climate for business in Russia and Eastern Europe.

The conference, "The New Frontier: Business in Russia and Eastern Europe," will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Room W401 of the Pappajohn Business Administration.

The day-long session is designed for business people as well as for faculty and students with an interest in the former Soviet bloc and in business opportunities there.

The conference's first session will be a presentation by Jan Svejnar, executive director of the William Davidson Institute and the Everett E. Berg Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan. Svejnar, the economic advisor to Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel, will discuss "Transition to the Market in Central and Eastern Europe: Accomplishments and Challenges for the Future" at 9:05 a.m.

Other speakers include:

-- Jim Krieger, vice chairman and chief financial officer of Gallup Inc., speaking on "The Experience of Gallup Inc. in Eastern Europe," at 10 a.m.

-- Sarah Helmstadter, senior associate, Carana Corp., speaking on "Changes in the Agribusiness Environment in the Former Soviet Union: Eyewitness Testimony," at 11:20 a.m.

-- Nick Strange, freelance consultant and arbitrator, speaking on "The Business Environment in the Russian Provinces," at 1:15 p.m.

-- Irina Kratko, visiting Fulbright scholar and assistant director of the Department of Entrepreneurship at the State Academy of Management in Moscow, speaking on "Entrepreneurship in Russia," at 2 p.m.

-- A panel discussion on "Perspectives on Conducting Business in Russia and Eastern Europe" will be at 2:30 p.m., featuring Eugene C. Machacek, director of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Programming and Marketing for Rockwell Collins, Inc.; Anna Pouliaevskaya, former television journalist and managing editor of the Russian media journal Sreda; Jeffrey Walters, president of Walters Walnut Inc.; and Todd Woods, market development manager for Europe, CIS and Canada for Farmland Foods Inc. The session will be moderated by Steven Dickinson, an attorney with the law firm of Dorsey and Whitney.

The session, sponsored by the UI Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES), is open to the public but requires a $100 registration fee. Lunch is included.

The conference is the first in a series funded in part from a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish a resource center for CREEES. The center provides international academic opportunities for students and faculty and outreach activities, such as the conference.

For more information, or to register, contact Jane Van Voorhis, co-director, International Programs, the University of Iowa College of Business Administration, (319) 335-1379; or by email at