Letter from the Director
by Jim Augerot
Reflection and transition are in the air this fall as we think back to the dramatic events in the Soviet Union in the second half of 1991, and look forward to what is to come in the next 20 years in the field of Russian, East European and Central Asian studies. I encourage you to read Dan Waugh’s article “The Train Car on the Siding: Central Asia and the 1991 Coup” as well as a collection of memories from faculty and alumni who provided us with glimpses of where they were and how they reacted to news of the attempted coup of 1991. We also want to draw attention to the remarkable contributions of Stephen Hanson, Bob Huber and Carol Vipperman to our field and to relations with the REECAS region. Finally, we are proud to say that despite the 46.53% cut to Title VI funds for the 2011-2012 academic year, our commitment to the region remains strong and we are continuing to provide new courses, less commonly taught languages and FLAS fellowships as well as to host community events and educator workshops.
We are pleased to welcome three new faculty to REECAS: Drs. Julie Gralow, Devin Naar and Adam Kozuchowski. Dr. Julie Gralow is head of medical oncology at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and on faculty at the UW Medical School. She has been working in our region since 1997, and since 2003 has held biennial Breast Cancer Advocacy Programs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to help foster and support the breast cancer outreach movement throughout the region. Devin Naar just joined the UW this fall as the Marsha & Jay Glazer Assistant Professor in Jewish Studies. Professor Naar’s research interests include the Balkans and Ottoman Empire. Adam Kozuchowski is this year’s visiting Fulbright Lecturer from Poland and you can read more about him in this newsletter.
REECAS faculty continue to publish fascinating manuscripts. We would like to congratulate Glennys Young (The Communist Experience in the Twentieth Century: A Global History Through Sources), Barbara Henry (Rewriting Russia: Jacob Gordin's Yiddish Drama) and Galya Diment (A Russian Jew of Bloomsbury: The Life and Times of Samuel Koteliansky) for their hard work. Despite the cuts, the Ellison Center continues to host events and workshops for educators. This fall we have been fortunate to have talks by the US Ambassador to Mongolia Jonathan Addleton, Czech economist Tomas Sedlacek and a book talk by Glennys Young. We have co-organized the two-part Master Teacher Workshop “Europe’s Muslim Populations: Historical Contexts and Contemporary Challenges from East to West” with the Center for West European Studies. We look forward to upcoming visits by Marian Rubchak from Valparaiso University and Deputy Chief of Mission Maciej Pisarski from the Polish Embassy. Finally, please mark your calendars for the 18th Northwest Conference for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies on Saturday, April 21 at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
As many of you know, after more than 20 years of teaching and service at UW, Stephen Hanson left Seattle this summer to take a new position as vice provost for international affairs and director of the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. His legacy at UW will live on through his contributions to building and endowing the Ellison Center.
We would also like to recognize the contributions and dedication of Carol Vipperman, founder and president the Foundation for Russian and American Economic Cooperation (FRAEC). For 22 years, FRAEC advanced US-Russian relations through building community and economic ties between citizens of both countries. Through working with citizens, governments, businesses and other organizations, FRAEC brought people together, fostered productive new relationships, inspired new ideas and narrowed the gap between the US and Russia. We wish Carol the very best in her future endeavors.
It is with great sorrow that we write of the passing of Robert Huber on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 following a brief battle with cancer. Bob was a wonderful friend and partner of the Ellison Center. He was a dedicated advocate of advancing scholarship on our region and his presence will be missed by students in the classroom and colleagues around the world. His contributions to the field are numerous and it was an honor to have him as member of REECAS faculty for the past five years.
In addition to his teaching, Bob served as President of NCEER for thirteen years, supporting post-doctoral research on the social, political, economic, environmental and historical development of Eurasia and Central and Eastern Europe. He also served as a Senior Consultant for Social Science Programs to the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and Editor of the policy research journal, Problems of Post-Communism. His own publications included Soviet Perceptions of the U.S. Congress: Impact on Superpower Relations, and (co-edited with Donald R. Kelley) Perestroika-Era Politics: The New Soviet Legislature and Gorbachev's Political Reforms, as well as several articles and special studies on Soviet foreign policy and the Russian national security establishment and on the post-Soviet Russian parliament. In recent years, he had been involved in a multi-year research effort to write the institutional histories of the major national research organizations in the field of Eurasian and East European studies.
A memorial reception for Bob Huber has been scheduled for Friday, November 18 at 7:30pm, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in conjunction with the ASEEES conference in Washington, DC. The event has been graciously co-sponsored by NCEER and IREX. Dr. Dan Davidson of American Councils and Dr. Stephen Hanson of William and Mary will speak at the event.
We hope you will join us in recognizing the contributions of these individuals who have all left an impressive legacy of knowledge, advocacy and inspiration. Their tireless work inspires us to build on their efforts by continuing to strengthen the Ellison Center and the place of REECAS in scholarship and policy-making. And while we are recognizing such service, I want to especially recognize the work of our Staff, Associate Director Marta Mikkelsen, Assistant Director for Outreach Allison Dvaladze, and Program Coordinator Mark Di Virgilio, without whose personal commitment and diligent labors we would be lost.
And finally, we would like to extend a warm welcome to our new class of incoming REECAS students and our visiting scholars from Ukraine, Belarus and Azerbaijan (see newsletter interviews to learn more about these interesting guests). We are looking forward to a new year filled with exciting lectures and public events.