Albany, Tula -- Tula, Albany

Tula, Russia.

Uspenskaya Church, Tula, Russia.

Know any teens with a yearning to travel? Here's a chance for them to write their own ticket.

The Albany-Tula Alliance, the Capital Region's sister-city exchange program with Tula, Russia, is sponsoring an essay contest for local students ages 16 to 18. Two winners will receive a two-week trip to Tula this summer. (And yes, there's also an essay contest being held in Tula, that will allow two Russian teens to come here.)

The topic: "Describe your vision for a cooperative international program for future space exploration, and how it could affect U.S.-Russian relations." A Tula-born cosmonaut, Sergei Zalyotin, will come to Albany to greet the winners in May (via airplane, not rocketship -- probably).

This is the essay contest's second year. Last year's contest sent students from Bethlehem and Shenendehowa high schools to Tula.

This year marks the Albany-Tula Alliance's 20th anniversary. The program promotes business development and cultural exchange with the city of Tula, 125 miles south of Moscow (similar, you'll note, to Albany's distance from New York City).

Contest submission deadline is March 1. Here's more information.

Photo: Flikr user Vokabre

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Tula, Russia


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