Romano, who in the early 2000s served as Fulbright Professor of Philosophy at St. Petersburg State University as well as a Russia-based correspondent and literary critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer, will go to St. Petersburg in May. During his fellowship, Romano, the author of America the Philosophical (2012), will conduct conversations with leading Russian intellectuals and writers about philosophy and literature in Russia today, and the dangerous state of relations between the U.S. and Russia.
This year’s 11 Likhachev Fellows, who are prominent figures in the world of arts and culture, were selected from more than 170 candidates from 45 countries. Former Fellows from the United States include Philip Kennicott, Chief Art Critic of The Washington Post; Michael Kahn, Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C.; and the poet Mary Jo Salter.
The Likhachev Foundation honors Dmitry Likhachev (1906-1999), at the time of his death the world’s foremost scholar of Old Russian language and literature. A survivor of the Soviet Union’s Solovki Prison Camp, which Alexander Solzhenitsyn called “the mother of the Gulag,” Likhachev also endured the World-War-II Siege of Leningrad and a subsequent exile to Kazan. He ultimately gained a position at the Institute of Russian Literature, where he worked until the end of his life and helped to found the Dostoevsky, Pushkin and Pasternak Museums.
In 1975, Likhachev was one of the few members of the Russian Academy of Sciences who refused to sign a letter demanding the expulsion of the scientist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov from the Academy because of Sakharov’s criticism of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Likhachev also defended Sakharov, Solzhenitsyn and other dissidents during their persecution by the Soviet Union. The Likhachev Foundation was established by George Soros and Likhachev’s daughter in 2001.