It was a great pleasure to see so many of you on September 4 at our annual fall semester kickoff lecture and reception! Your involvement and active participation in REEEC are the critical factor that keeps our academic community vibrant and productive. Prof. Carol Leff of Political Science kicked off our New Directions in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies lecture series with a provocative, if necessarily incomplete reply, as she herself noted, to the question “Is There Still an ‘Eastern’ Europe?” We also welcomed several new faculty members and REEEC MA students who are joining us. Watch for profiles of the new faculty in upcoming Center E-News editions.
I would like to thank the faculty for their support and input in the past year as we prepared for and eventually wrote the application for Department of Education Title VI grant support for the next four years of our operations as a National Resource Center and for FLAS Fellowships. The competition was even more delayed than four years ago, with the request for proposals only appearing on May 30 (a lovely birthday present for me!), and with a deadline for submission of just four weeks after that. As a result of those delays, we have begun this academic year without having yet been notified of the results of the competition. A special thanks to departments and administrators who assisted me in making sure critical student support was in place in time for the beginning of the academic year to bridge to hoped-for federal funding. We expect to hear the results of the competition very soon, and for sure by the end of September.
Our flagship summer programming, the Summer Research Laboratory, marked another successful year, in spite of the discontinuation of Department of State Title VIII funding, thanks to the support of the University Library and assistance from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and International Programs and Studies. Nearly 40 scholars came to our campus to conduct research as a part of the Summer Lab and to participate in the Workshop on Literary and Scholarly Translation from Slavic Languages. In addition, the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies hosted their first ever Summer Research Lab, in collaboration with REEEC, and brought more than a dozen scholars to campus for research and two one-day workshops.
I invite you to look at our lineup of lectures for our speaker series this fall. We have been fortunate not to have been as affected by the spreading boycott of our campus as some other units, although one lecture is currently scheduled tentatively, pending further developments on campus in response to the boycott. REEEC is also a sponsor of the cross campus initiative “The Great War: Experiences, Representations, Effects” which offers a rich calendar of events for the semester. You are encouraged to attend.
While returning to examine WWI more closely, we hope also to avoid WWIII and will keep our close attention on developments in our region. In the past semester REEEC helped to produce two events dedicated to current developments in Ukraine, and with the situation still quite dynamic, we expect to continue the conversation this fall, offering the expert analysis and perspectives of our affiliates to the larger community.
I look forward to continuing to work with you and for you in the coming year!