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Wenhua Ma brought an interesting article to our attention from the Notices of the AMS:

Math Circles and Olympiads, MSRI Asks:  Is the U.S. Coming of Age?

The Math Circle Experience

Extracurricular circles in a variety of subjects began in Hungary in the 1800s, all with the goal of providing young students opportunities to pursue personal interests to the fullest. Today they are considered a standard part of the Eastern-Europeanstudent experience, and participation in them is regarded as just as natural as participation in sports activities is viewed in the U.S. Although there is no set protocol to a math circle experience, all circles have the same goal of sharing the intellectual appeal and beauty of mathematics with as large an audience as possible. They engage faculty from both secondary and post-secondary institutions in their operation and successfully welcome students of all backgrounds to the mathematical experience.

Circles now exist in many countries, including the U.S. (see also [1], for instance), and follow multiple styles and approaches. Given the success of the Eastern European model it is natural to ask then whether some version(s) of the math circle experience could be incorporated into the U.S. cultural norm. Could even more be accomplished?

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