News & Stories
September 12, 2023

Berry Professor Selected by U.S. Department of State


WASHINGTON D.C. -- The U.S. Department of State has selected Berry College’s Peter Friedrich for a project focusing on English language instructors in Russia. 

The virtual three-month project provides instructors with techniques and tools how to teach English to students through music, drama, films and literature, and introduces balanced perspectives on the United States and current events. 

“Using theatre to connect with teachers and scholars inside of Russia in 2023 is a special art and a special honor,” said Friedrich, who is associate professor of theatre.

“It definitely speaks to how theatre can make a difference in the world. And if you talk to other visual and performing artists at Berry, you’ll find a range of inspiring work in unexpected places.”

Friedrich is part of a select group, as his project is one of approximately 240 that the English Language Specialist Program supports each year. A 2022 Seeking Solutions to Global Challenges Fulbright Scholar, Friedrich has used theater over the past 10 years in partnership with a range of underserved communities in the U.S. and overseas, including asylum seekers from Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

“The United States believes that continued direct engagement with the Russian people is especially important at this time.  We do not hold the people of Russia responsible for Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine.  

"To this end, the United States continues to pursue people-to-people exchanges and programs that welcome individual Russian students, scholars, and emerging civil society and business leaders to our academic institutions and our country to learn about the American people, values, and institutions,” according to the U.S. State Department.

The English Language Specialist Program is the premier opportunity for leaders in the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) to enact meaningful and sustainable changes in the way that English is taught abroad. Through projects developed by U.S. Embassies in more than 80 countries, English Language Specialists work directly with local teacher trainers, educational leaders, and ministry of education officials to exchange knowledge, build capacity, and establish partnerships benefiting participants, institutions, and communities in the United States and overseas. 

Since 1991, the English Language Specialist Program has supported in-country, virtual, and mixed projects in which hundreds of TESOL scholars and educators promote English language learning, enhance English teaching capacity, and foster mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries through cultural exchange. 

During their projects, English Language Specialists may conduct intensive teacher training, advise ministries of education or participate in high-level educational consultations, and offer plenary presentations at regional, national or international TESOL conferences. These projects are challenging and those selected represent the best of the U.S. TESOL community. In return, the program provides professional development opportunities to help participants experience different cultures and build skills that can greatly enhance their TESOL careers at home. 

English Language Specialists are counted among the more than 50,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. The Specialist Program is administered by the Center for Intercultural Education and Development at Georgetown University. For further information about the English Language Specialist Program or the U.S. Department of State, please visit, contact us by telephone at 202-632-6452, or e-mail


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