How important is next week's Soviet Awareness Week at Southern Utah State College? What relevance does it have to the lives of Utahns?

Quite important and relevant, really, according to Lynne Finton, the director of the college's multicultural center and the woman who planned the week's activities.Important? Well, the main speaker, Arthur Macy Cox, has just written a book about which Pultizer-Prize-winning historian Harrison Salisbury said, "There is no more important book to the world."

Relevant? Cox "presents a blueprint for survival and practical evidence that the Soviets will work with us to save humanity from the nuclear abyss," according to Salisbury.

Cox, whose book is entitled "Russian Roulette: The Superpower Game," has 38 years of experience with the Soviet system. He was in the Secret Intelligence Branch of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II.

From 1952 to 1961 he worked in clandestine operations for the CIA. He has advised such leaders as Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Henry Kissinger, Nelson Rockefeller, and Hubert Humphrey on strategies as diverse as waging the Cold War, to implementing the Marshall Plan, to observing cease-fire agreements, to ending the Vietnam War, to Salt II.

For seven years, as Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, he directed a program of international studies and was a consultant to the United Nations. Cox also wrote "Prospects for Peacekeeping."

He will give the convocation address ("U.S. and USSR: The Requirements for Stable Coexistence") on November 10 at 11 a.m.

As for the other presentations during Soviet Awareness Week, Finton says, "At least half of our speakers are of Slavic descent. They'll bring those attitudes and a flavor of their culture to their topics."

Dr. Gene Fitzgerald, professor of arts and language at the University of Utah, leads the week's events with a lecture at 11 a.m. and a language workshop at 12:30 on November 7. He'll explore the topic of Russian history as seen through the eyes of Russians.

Monday evening he joins with fellow University of Utah professor Dr. Slava Lubomudrov for a slide show on "Soviet Citizenry."

On Tuesday at noon, political scientist Lubomudrov will speak on Russian political thought. He says, "I'll explore the current Soviet attempt to break out of a fairly substantial isolation - self-imposed and also imposed from the West after the 1917 revolution."

BYU professor Dr. Gary Browning is lecturing on Nov.9 at 11 a.m. He'll challenge our ideas of freedom, as defined by the Statue of Liberty and the Berlin Wall, our symbols of the way the United States and the Soviet Union allow and don't allow people to live where they want to.

"I am not trying to argue that we are being unfair," says Browning. "Nor am I saying they are better than we are - as some people in my audience always assume. I'm not saying we don't have a lot to be proud of.

"What I hope to show is that there is a fundamental human right at issue: the right to live wherever one chooses. The U.S., a country of immigration, has severely criticized Soviet Union for restricting emigration. Reagan called for Soviets to completely do away with arbitrary quotas.

"However, we have very stringent immigration quotas and have had them since 1924. And our main motivation for quotas is socio-economic. We just can't assimilate all the millions of people who want to live in this country."

Things have changed for us, Browning says. "We can't welcome all `your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . . the wretched refuse of your teeming shores . . . your homeless.'

"We have our own homeless."

Browning will talk about how we have had to modify what the symbol of the Statue of Liberty means to us. The Soviet Union is slowly modifying it's stand on emigration, as well, he says. Increasingly, they oppose emigration for socio-economic reasons, he says. Browning will challenge us to rethink the Berlin Wall as it stands for our symbol of Soviet emigration policies.

"We need to be a little less arrogant," he says,"a little less sweeping in our condemnation."

Mongolian-born Vladimir Ussachevsky - composer and pioneer of electronic music - will lecture and perform Wednesday in the Thorley Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. Ussachevsky has often been composer-in-residence at the University of Utah.

Friday's noon lecturer is Dr. Adam Hetnal. The Polish-born SUSC history professor will speak on "Soviet Union/Eastern Europe: Communism in Transition."

Through the week's events, Finton hopes the people of Southern Utah will gain a better understanding of the people of the Soviet Union.

Each year, Finton says, International Week focuses on a different area of the world. "Last year we were funded by the Utah Endowment for the Humanities and got a merit award for our Latin American week." Those who attended were glad to learn more about Central America, she says, because that part of the world has the potential for becoming the next Vietnam. Next year the staff, faculty and students who help her decide what country to study have chosen China.

For more information on Soviet Awareness Week, call 586-7770.