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August 23, 2010

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Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies marks 50th anniversary

The Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies this month will celebrate its 50th anniversary as a nationally recognized center offering degrees in area studies.

The center is planning several events to mark the milestone, including a welcome event for graduates, a gala dinner with Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, a Slavic music concert, a thematic conference, a luncheon with Director Emerita Maria Carlson and an informal cookout. All faculty, students, friends and alumni of the center and their families are invited to participate in the two-day celebration, Aug. 27 and 28.

On Aug. 27, the center will welcome alumni back to campus with an afternoon reception in Bailey Hall, an evening dinner at the Lied Center and a concert of Slavic music at Bales Recital Hall.

On Aug. 28, the center will host a conference titled “KU CREES: 50 Years of Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies in the American Heartland.” Conference attendees will enjoy a cookout at a private home in the evening.

Over the course of the two-day celebration, faculty and program alumni will give keynote addresses on various facets of area studies, center history and cutting-edge research in the Russian, East European and Eurasian area.

Alumni invited to give presentations include Brig. Gen. John C. Reppert, dean of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (who will join by video conference from Garmisch, Germany); Karen Uplinger, city judge, Syracuse, N.Y.; Glen Howard, president of the Jamestown Foundation, Washington, D.C.; and Col. Thomas Wilhelm, director of the Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth.

“This weekend will be a great big birthday party to celebrate CREES and all the important things that area studies has given to Kansas and the country as a whole — government, business and academic professionals well-trained in foreign language skills and cultural understanding; enriched curricula for our school students; a military community that better understands the societies and cultures with which it is interacting,” said Edith W. Clowes, director of the center.

Complete information on the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies and its activities can be found online at crees.ku.edu. Those interested in attending the 50th anniversary activities are asked to register online.

The Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies has offered credentials in Slavic or Soviet and East European studies since 1959 and a master’s degree since 1968. In 1965, the center first received funding to become a U.S. Department of Education Title VI Comprehensive National Resource Center. Since then, the center has offered federally funded scholarships to top students to specialize in foreign languages and area studies. The KU program has been a favorite of the U.S. Army’s Foreign Area Officers program and has graduated more Foreign Area Officers than any other National Resource Center. It continues to draw significant numbers of officers for area studies training.

The center continues to meet the national need for government, academic and business specialists with advanced language skills and area studies training in the region. The center provides research and study abroad opportunities for faculty and students; organizes lectures, seminars and conferences; and provides outreach, support services and information to KU and other universities, schools, businesses, media, government, military and community groups.


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