Director's Notes

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

It is hard to believe that a full academic year has passed since I began my term as director of the Slavic Center—and it has been a highly rewarding experience. I am more keenly aware than ever of the Slavic Center’s significant impact on the advancement of knowledge about the East European, Russian and Eurasian region in Ohio, the Midwest and beyond. With a small staff and many affiliated Ohio State faculty, the center reaches hundreds of students, teachers and community members, as well as constituents of numerous other institutions of higher learning in the United States and abroad. This year alone we hosted scholars from Slovenia, Hungary and Russia; conducted workshops for K-12 Ohio teachers; provided a course on East European culture at Columbus North International School; worked with several minority-serving institutions to support their programing on the region; organized speakers and events for our two initiatives—Polish Studies and Slovene Research; all while continuing our ongoing work of advising current MA students, recruiting new students, awarding Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships and collaborating with other areas studies centers at Ohio State.

Together with the Midwest Slavic Association, in early April we hosted the Midwest Slavic Conference, which has become an annual feature at Ohio State. This year’s keynote speaker was Anne Garrels who spoke about her book, Putin’s Country: A Journey into the Real Russia. The book is based on Garrels’ 20 years of fieldwork in Chelyabinsk, Russia, where she experienced and noted firsthand the political, economic and social changes in Russia. In her talk, Garrels also highlighted the challenges journalists face reporting on Russia. The conference included numerous sessions and panels where faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from Ohio State and other higher education institutions in the Midwest, the U.S. and abroad presented their work. We also held a commemorative luncheon panel in honor of Charles Gribble (1936-2016) who was a professor of Slavic linguistics in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at Ohio State.

Finally, you may know that the Center for Slavic and East European Studies at Ohio State and others like it across the country are supported by U.S. Department of Education Title VI grants. These grants provide significant funding for undergraduate, graduate and professional students in the form of Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships that currently support 15-20 students per year at Ohio State in departments across campus. In addition to FLAS, Title VI National Resource Center (NRC) funds support all of the vital programs we offer such as lecture series, conferences, performances, curriculum development projects, less commonly taught language course offerings, teacher training and outreach programs, as well as Center staff salaries. Unfortunately, President Trump’s Budget Blueprint for FY2018 calls for the elimination of funding for international education programs in the U.S. Department of Education (Title VI & Fulbright-Hays). I ask that you consider joining the Coalition for International Education and the National Humanities Alliance in opposing these cuts. To do so, simply follow the link below to send a message to your elected official. As a message is pre-populated, it should only take a minute of your time to participate. Please do so at the following link:

 Thank you in advance for your support.

With best spring wishes,  

Jill Bystydzienski