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Letter from the Director

Letter from the Director

Fall 2013

I am delighted to welcome you to our 2013-2014 series of lectures, book talks, panel discussions, conferences, films and cultural events. Each year CEES hosts and cosponsors more events than we can mention here, so we invite you to check the calendar section of our website for details and updates.

Highlights from our fall program include the opening, on October 8, of a UCLA Library book exhibit organized in collaboration with the Young Research Library and the Czech Consulate to celebrate the legacy of Václav Havel, the internationally acclaimed dissident and playwright who, after the collapse of communism, became President of the Czech Republic; and the European Jazz Festival, October 10-13, organized in collaboration with the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and the Consulates of Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Switzerland. 

As always, our annual program will include talks by CEES-affiliated faculty. Our Faculty Lecture Series begins on October 31 with a talk by Professor Thomas Harrison (Italian) and will continue in the winter quarter with discussions of recent books by Professors Arch Getty and Ivan Berend (History).

We will also continue to cover the ongoing major developments in the European Union through talks that will explore the implications of the debt crisis in the Eurozone as well as other trends and issues of key significance in the EU and beyond. The highpoint of this thematic sequence will be a week-long series of lectures and workshops, in spring, by Josef Joffe, publisher-editor of the German weekly Die Zeit and Senior Fellow of Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, who has been appointed a UCLA Regents’ Lecturer.  

In addition, we will contribute to conferences and workshops initiated by UCLA faculty and graduate students, and will participate in the International Institute’s Human Rights Film Festival, co-sponsor films at the 2013 AFI International Film Festival, and continue our support for the annual Southeast European Film Festival.

Many of CEES’ activities point to our role as a Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center (NRC). As part of our NRC mandate, we promote innovative activities that enhance and disseminate knowledge of Europe and Eurasia, and prepare future generations of experts for academia, the private sector, and public service. In June 2011, however, we learned that the budget for all NRCs was being cut by 47%. As Congress has not restored funding to full levels since then, we continue to operate under ever more challenging budgetary constraints. While we are pleased that our FLAS funding was not affected by the federal budget cuts, this unwelcome development has negatively impacted our NRC-funded programs, particularly in the areas of advanced language instruction, innovative interdisciplinary courses, library collection development, K-12 training, and business outreach.

Diminished resources notwithstanding, we are doing what we can to offer a diverse – if somewhat reduced – range of academic and outreach activities. In 2013-14, we will support the teaching of advanced Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Polish, Romanian, and Ukrainian at UCLA, and contribute to the UC Distance Learning Initiative, a multi-campus effort ensuring that instruction in less commonly taught languages is available across campuses via videoconferencing. With the UCLA Center for World Languages we will continue to sponsor the UCLA Heritage Language Initiative, which enables Los Angeles-area high school students to study their parents’ languages for high school and university extension credit. In addition, we will contribute to the “Scholar-Teacher” professional development workshops and collaborate with other UCLA NRCs to organize the annual Summer Institute for K-12 educators. Our business outreach activities will include co-hosting a conference for the entertainment industry on doing business in Eastern Europe, organized in conjunction with the Southeast European Film Festival.

The backbone of teaching and research at UCLA is the faculty, and an important indicator of the continuing strength of European and Eurasian scholarship is the recognition – here and abroad – of our affiliated faculty’s achievements in teaching and research, too numerous to detail here.

We are equally pleased to highlight the academic achievements of our affiliated graduate students. In 2012-13, CEES awarded eight summer pre-dissertation/dissertation research fellowships, four summer language study grants, and nine graduate student conference travel grants. In addition, our center awarded four graduate and two undergraduate academic year FLAS fellowships, as well as five graduate Summer FLAS fellowships. Two undergraduate and four graduate students have been awarded FLAS fellowships for the current academic year. The complete list of recipients is available on the funding section of our website, along with information about upcoming competitions for CEES fellowships and grants.    

As the new academic year begins, let me applaud CEES’ team, whose work and commitment are so vital to the Center’s mission. The Center’s daily operations are in the superb and steady hands of our Executive Director, Liana Grancea, and of our Outreach Coordinator, Sanja Lacan, who is also completing her doctorate in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Professor Ronald Rogowski Political Science) will serve as the new chair of our Faculty Advisory Committee, taking over from Professor Lynn Hunt (History). We are grateful to all the members of our FAC and of our various awards committees for their generous service to CEES. We are particularly grateful to Professor Daniel Treisman (Political Science), who served as the Center’s Interim Director while I was on leave during the winter and spring quarters.

CEES is pleased to be able to offer the variety of public events, courses, and funding opportunities that we do, all of which are aimed at fostering knowledge in an ever interdependent and complex world. Nevertheless, in a persistently tough budgetary climate, maintaining the quality and diversity of our programming has become increasingly more difficult. Hence, we urge you to please consider making a donation to CEES; we very much welcome your support! Please visit the support us section of our website to make a contribution and join the friends of CEES.

We greatly appreciate your interest and support, and look forward to seeing you often!

Gail Kligman, Director

Center for European and Eurasian Studies