The Ellison Center Welcomes New Faculty and Visiting Scholars
Gregor Thum arrived at UW in the fall of 2010 as the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Visiting Associate Professor in the Jackson School of International Studies. Originally from a small town near Munich, Thum received his Master of Arts from Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany and his PhD from Europa Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt. His research centers around modern German and East Central European history (1800 to the present) with a specialization on Germany, Poland, and their entangled histories. Thum is specifically interested in the aftermath of ethnic cleansing of Germans from Poland, a topic that he began to research while teaching at Europa Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt in the late 1990s.
His book on the postwar history of Wrocław explores the process of how Poles made this formerly German city their own. An English translation from German entitled Uprooted. How Breslau Became Wrocław in the Century of Expulsions will be published by Princeton University Press in the fall.
This year, Thum is teaching courses in German and East European history, East Europe in the 20th century, modern German history, and ethnic cleansing and its aftermath with a focus on Central and Eastern Europe. He is at the beginning of a five-year appointment at UW, but. prior to coming to UW, Thum taught at the University of Pittsburgh on another DAAD visiting professorship from 2003-2008 and at Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies in Freiburg, Germany from 2008-2010. He has also taught at Europa Universität Viadrina and conducted research at Zentrum fuer Zeithistorische Forschung in Potsdam, Germany. Thum enjoys working in both Germany and the US and that likes the international outlook of American universities. He called them “great places to study the world.” He appreciates how engages the students are and he said, “I am surprised that people living so far from Central Europe are so interested in it.”
Seattle has also made a favorable impression. Thum is struck by the beauty of the city’s natural surroundings and has found it easy to adjust the gray, damp winter since it recalls the climate of Berlin, where he has spent a large part of his life. As a hiker, mountaineer and sailor, he has found a good fit in Seattle.
Kristine Motivane joined UW in the fall of 2010 as a Visiting Lecturer in Latvian. She received her master’s degree in Humanities from the University of Latvia in Riga, where her research focused on how language affects migration policy in the Baltic states and Norway. Motivane will begin her PhD through the University of Latvia in the fall and will study language and migration policy in Latvia. Her most recent publications in Latvia include articles entitled, “Use of Language in Diaspora: Evaluation of Latvia’s Action Policy and Experience of Other Countries” and ”Influence of Migration on the Language Environment in Latvia.” Before arriving at UW, Motivane conducted sociolinguistic research of Latvian language and implementation of state language policy for the Latvian Language Agency and taught Latvian language and literature to students in Latvia.
Here at UW, Motivane is teaching three levels of Latvian language throughout the academic year and is looking forward to teaching a course in Latvian literary history and culture in the fall. She has always had a passion for literature and knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher, so she has been living out a dream by teaching Latvian in Latvia and now here at UW. The challenge of teaching Latvian in the US inspired Motivane to come here and specifically UW, the only university in the country where Latvian is taught.
Motivane is enjoying her experience here thus far. She said, “I love it. I never thought it would be so great. I was nervous to come here. When I first arrived in Seattle, I was amazed because I didn’t have this feeling like I was an alien. All the people here ask you how you are and they expect an answer. I love the nature. The air is fresh, like in Latvia. I also like this department. It’s a really multicultural environment. All the Nordic countries are represented and we have a great relationship with people in Russian studies. We talk a lot about multiculturalism in the EU, but here multiculturalism really works.” Motivane’s passion for teaching her native language has even led her to devote her free time to this pursuit. She spends every Saturday at the Seattle Latvian Center in Pinehurst teaching Latvian language to American children of Latvian heritage. Motivane also loves to travel and had the chance to visit Malibu for a conference. She and her husband are hoping to see more of the US when Motivane has more free time in the summer. New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are on top of their list and Motivane’s husband’s dream as a finance professional is to see Silicone Valley while Motivane would like to go to Texas to hear a genuine southern drawl. For now though, Motivane is happy right here in Seattle and at UW. She says, “Going to my job gives me such pleasure. I leave class every day with a smile.”
Emin Aliyev joins us as a Carnegie Research Fellow studying knowledge management in business. Aliyev is originally from Terter in the Karabagh region of Azerbaijan, but has been living in France for the past nine years. He received his undergraduate degree from the State University of Baku and is currently in his third year of a PhD program studying economics and management with a specialization in knowledge management at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolice. Aliyev describes knowledge management as the system by which knowledge of such things as processes, technology and people, are shared throughout public and private organizations. Much of his work revolves around the knowledge-based economy and competence building, focusing on the transfer of “good national practices” to other national systems.
Aliyev is pursuing his research here under the mentorship of Professor Sonali Shah at the Foster School of Business. His primary goal for his time at UW is to learn the American method of knowledge management. His secondary goal is to learn more about American culture and the way of life here. Aliyev says, “It’s all about experience.” In his field, understanding knowledge management in the United States as “best practice” new economy is critical as North America is the powerhouse of innovation. Additionally, the US is strong in private sector knowledge management, which should supplement Aliyev’s experience in knowledge management at the firm level.
Professor Shah has been supporting Aliyev’s research here by providing guidelines for his research and course suggestions. Aliyev is also looking forward to the opportunity to present a paper at the REECAS NW conference at UW on April 16. While here, he also plans to spend some time getting to know the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Foster School. Aliyev would also like to visit Boeing and Microsoft. He is thankful to NCEEER and REECAS staff who have been very helpful thus far in setting up appointments.
Aliev’s goal, when he set off for France nine years ago, was to make it to the United States. He is very happy to have finally achieved this goal and is enjoying getting to know Seattle. Aliyev remarked, “It’s very interesting and amazing how you have integrated urban, natural and human life here. I am also very interested in the urban nature projects. You have a downtown area for business and then other areas that are very environmentally friendly. I feel good here. It’s a beautiful area with the lakes and the Puget Sound. When you are up on the hills, you have very beautiful views. [It’s a] very beautiful city and I’d like to call it ‘nature in the city’.” Some of Aliyev’s favorite spots in the city thus far are the Seattle museums, Pike Place Market and the lake shores.
Aliyev is hoping his experience at UW will serve him well in his future endeavors. Down the road, he would like to participate in knowledge-based projects in Azerbaijan. Aliyev specifically hopes to work with Azerbaijan’s National Science Foundation and contribute to his home country’s economic development. He believes that his experience at UW will help him excel as a specialist in knowledge management.
Tatyana Bialiayeva comes to the University of Washington as a George Russell Fellow studying legal mediation. Bialiayeva is a lawyer in her home town of Minsk, Belarus, where she organizes legal conferences for a firm specializing in corporate law. She has a master’s degree in European and International Law and is currently pursuing a PhD looking at alternative dispute resolution at European Humanitarian University in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Bialiayeva’s research includes comparing American and Belarussian legal mediation procedures. She believes it is important to study American mediation procedure because “the United States is the motherland of alternative resolutions for disputes. The procedure here is older than in Europe. It is also not as innovative in Europe. The United States is the leader in this field.”
Consequently, Bialiayeva has been very busy at UW learning American legal mediation procedure. She is taking a class in negotiations, participating in a mediation clinic at the School of Law. She has met with a mediator from the State Court of Appeals and another from a private mediation center, as well as a Washington State Supreme Court Justice. Bialiayeva also took part in a moot/mediation role play seminar, which she found helpful for learning US procedure. Her mentor at UW is Professor Julia Gold and she also works with Professor Alan Kirtley.
This is Bialiayeva’s second visit to the United States. She was previously in Bayfield, Wisconsin on a law school student exchange. Bialiayeva has enjoyed her stay in Seattle thus far. She has found the weather here warmer than she expected for winter. Bialiayeva said, “It’s kind of strange because in Belarus it’s snowy and cold at this time of year. It’s unusual for me to have such weather in the winter.” The Seattle skyline has also made an impression on her. “It’s a very nice city. I like downtown and the skyscrapers. We have just a few in Minsk. Here, they’re all together and it makes a nice view,” she commented. Bialiayeva has also found time to ride the ferry to Bainbridge Island.
When she completes her PhD, Bialiayeva hopes to apply her experience here to her work in Belarus and create a mediation training program for law students. Bialiayeva said that the US has very original trainings and clinics that cannot be found in Belarus and she would like the program she creates there to be influenced by the American trainings she is participating in and observing during her time at UW. Bialiayeva would also like invite one of her professors and mediators from the US to a future conference in Belarus. She is appreciative of the opportunity that this fellowship has provided her.