The Ellison Center Welcomes New Faculty and Visiting Scholars
Vitaly Nishanov joined UW in 2006 as a lecturer in the Foster School of Business. Nishanov received his Master’s degree from Novosibirsk State University and his PhD from Ural State University, where his research involved computer simulations of communication processes (including a model of how rumors spread). Upon return to his native Kyrgyzstan, he taught logic at Kyrgyz State University before starting a business consulting company during perestroika in 1990, eventually winning contracts with Soviet industry giants such as Uralmash, as well as international organizations including USAID, ADB, EBRD and IOM. Nishanov later joined American University of Central Asia, where he served as Professor of Management as well as Director of the Department of Business Administration, and was a visiting professor at L’Institute d’Administracion des Enterprises in Aix-en-Provence, France. He has authored several books on business, cognition, management and management education.
At UW, Nishanov teaches courses on organizational behavior, strategic management and the business-government-society relationship. Now that he has settled into life as a professor at an American university, he looks forward to continuting his research on government-business relations; human rights, human trafficking and migration; or cognitive processes of understanding. Since coming to the United States in 2004, Nishanov has traveled extensively in the US, including trips to New York, Florida, Kentucky, California, Idaho and Wyoming. He has also visited Yellowstone Park and the lakes of Idaho – but he particularly likes the natural surroundings of the Pacific Northwest: “I feel comfortable here, because there are many lakes and you can see mountains in all directions, just like in Kyrgyzstan.”
Bolot Bazarbaev joins UW for the 2009-10 academic year as a Humphrey Fellow from Kyrgyzstan. Bazarbaev has a background in management and marketing and works in the telecommunications sector in Central Asia as a regional director for the Colibri Company. He holds a BA in International Economic Relations from the International Ataturk-Alatoo University and an MBA from the Kyrgyz Republic Japan Center.
During his 9 months at UW, Bazarbaev is focusing on gaining practical skills in information and communication technologies through courses in the Foster School of Business, the Evans School of Public Affairs and the Information School. He hopes to develop professional affiliations with companies in the US - such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Sun, Sisco and others – as well as learn skills in crisis management and other approaches to running a business under adverse conditions. As part of his Humphrey Fellow experience, he has also participated in networking events and field trips to Washington, DC, the University of California-Davis, San Francisco, and Olympia. “It is a great opportunity to share experiences with other professionals from diverse backgrounds,” he noted.
Bazarbaev has traveled around Central Asia and Europe, but this is his first visit to the US. While in Seattle, he decided to forgo the convenience of living close to campus and found an apartment for himself, his wife and his young daughter on First Hill: “I wanted us to be close to the dynamics of downtown and have easy access to the headquarters of some organizations,” he explains. He also enjoys visiting the Central Library for its modern design and the ease of accessing information, as well as the Highway 99 blues bar to listen to live music.
Of his plans for the future, Bazarbaev said, “I have audacious goals.” In the next five years, he sees himself taking a leadership position in the ICT industry in Kyrgyzstan, focusing on “e-economy, e-government and e-education” to promote social welfare and socioeconomic progress in the country. He would like to work on projects such as bringing high-speed internet to Kyrgyz schools, as well as collaborate with US companies to improve the business and investment environment in Kyrgyzstan, increase value-chain and sector competitiveness, upgrade workforce education and support national-level programs. In his free time, Bazarbaev also serves as an international observer for election monitoring in other CIS countries; he has already participated in monitoring efforts in Albania, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
Volha Chakmarova comes to UW as a Russell Fellow from Minsk, Belarus, where she received her PhD in Business Law from Belarusian State University in 2009. Her current research focuses on approaches that Belarus and other post-Soviet countries take to overcome economic difficulties during the current financial crisis. Specifically, Chakmarova is examining mechanisms for supporting small businesses, among them the creation of entrepreneurial law clinics, which allow business owners access to legal advice and assistance. This would be an innovation for Belarus, Chakmarova noted, as currently the only law clinics that exist are involved with family and labor law, not assistance for entrepreneurs.
While at UW, Chakmarova is mentored by Professor Richard Kummert of the UW School of Law; she is also working with Vitaly Nishanov of the Foster School of Business and Professor Sean O’Connor, director of the UW Entrepreneurial Law Clinic. She hopes to create programs and courses at her home institution from the knowledge she gains here, including an introductory course in US law: “To analyze our own legislation, we should know the experiences and laws of other countries, especially those that our future specialists will be doing business with,” she says.
This is Chakmarova’s first visit to the US, and she has spent much of her free time exploring Seattle’s sites. The libraries and facilities for students at UW have impressed her, as well as the student-professor interactions she has observed: “Here there is more of a dialogue, whereas in Belarus we have more of a monologue.” She hopes to bring some of the methods and teaching approaches to the courses she will teach in Belarus.
Tamar Makharadze joins UW this spring as a Russell Fellow from Tbilisi, Georgia, researching the effects of the economic crisis on employment policy around disability issues. Makharadze has been an assistant professor at Tbilisi State University since 1994 and holds a PhD in Public Policy. She became interested in disability issues in 2003, when she began collaborating with the Association of People with Need of Special Care (APNSC), an NGO working on these issues. “Georgia faces a great challenge in this area,” she says: the country signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2009, but there continues to be very little research on disabilities issues in Georgia. Makharadze hopes to encourage more evidence-based research on disability issues in Georgia, an approach that is more cost-effective for a country with limited financial resources.
Kurt L. Johnson, Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the UW School of Medicine, is serving as Makharadze’s adviser as she conducts her research at UW. During her time here, she is also looking at individual experiences of disability in Seattle. Makharadze commented, “It is possible for a person with special needs to have access to education and employment, to have a dignified life. I want to see this in Georgia as well.”
This is her fourth visit to the United States. Makharadze was a visiting scholar at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis during 2006-08 as part of OSI’s Social Work Faculty Development Fellowship. She noted that her time in Seattle is not only an opportunity to further her research, but also to enable her daughter, who accompanied her, to understand diverse human experiences. Makharadze also said that exchange programs are useful for her as a professor, not just as a researcher: “It allows you to develop syllabi and reevaluate your approach to teaching and evaluation, as well as make interpersonal contacts.” After returning to Georgia, she hopes to make her data available to the international community and civil society in Georgia, and to publish a brochure for employers with information on best practices around disability issues.
Olesea Melnicenco is a Russell Fellow from the Academy of Economic Studies in Chisinau, Moldova, where she is currently a PhD student completing her dissertation research on the international investment market and its impact on sustainable development. Melnicenco previously did research at Jagiellonian University as a Lane Kirkland Scholar from 2006-07, and at Erasmus University in Rotterdam in 2008-09. Her current project concerns the impact of global processes, such as globalization and global integration, on processes of development within countries, using Moldova as a case study.
Melnicenco is working with Professor Kathryn Dewenter at the Foster School of Business, and is planning meetings with scholars in Washington DC and New York to further her research. Despite the fact that this is her first visit to the US, she says she has felt very at home in Seattle. Besides building connections with scholars and with other Russian-speaking students, Melnicenco spent a week living with a host family, who introduced her to the “really very American” tradition of the Super Bowl party.
Upon her return to Moldova, Melnicenco will work as a lecturer at her home institution as well as serve as an economist at the Center for Economic Development and Public Affairs, and will defend her dissertation in early summer.
Interviews conducted by Julia Hon.