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Old Well in spring surrounded by flowers. By Donn Young.
(By Donn Young)

The Center for Slavic, Eastern European & Eurasian Studies (CSEEES) at UNC-Chapel Hill has been designated as a National Resource Center (NRC) for language and area studies by the U.S. Department of Education’s International and Foreign Language Education office.

With this designation, all six of UNC-Chapel Hill’s area studies centers are NRCs, more than any other university in the U.S. Southeast.

The Center will receive $642,000 in funding over the next three years to support language and area studies coursework, programming and events, and outreach across North Carolina and institutions beyond the state, including minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and community colleges. As an NRC, the Center has a substantial K-12 education mission as well. In fall 2022, CSEEES also received $904,132 through the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships program.

Both FLAS and NRC are programs under Title VI of the Higher Education Act administered by the federal government to develop and maintain capacity and performance in area studies and world languages.

“We are thrilled to receive this prestigious designation from the U.S. Department of Education,” said Graeme Robertson, director of CSEEES and professor of political science. “With this funding, we are poised to enhance our efforts in equipping students and scholars across the state and beyond with the knowledge and skills necessary to foster a deeper understanding of Russia, East Europe and Eurasia. We look forward to continuing our mission of promoting global awareness, cultural exchange and preparing a new, diverse generation of leaders.”

NRC funding will support the language instruction of Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Romanian, advanced Turkish and Ukranian at UNC-Chapel Hill. Through the UNC System Language Exchange, students at any system school will be able to take the courses for credit at their home institutions.

The grant will help establish a new Russian language and area studies curriculum at Durham Technical Community College, an MSI, and develop a Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (REEES) think tank at Howard University to support students of color pursuing research projects and career paths in REEES. UNC-Chapel Hill receives separate funding through the U.S. Department of Defense for its Russian Flagship Program, one of only eight in the U.S., administered jointly by CSEEES and the Department of German and Slavic Languages and Literatures.

As part of the Center’s Ukraine Initiative, NRC funding will support campus programming on Ukraine, such as lectures, presentations and cultural workshops designed to raise awareness of and interest in Ukraine and support the Center’s partnership with Kyiv School of Economics.

With NRC support, students at UNC-Chapel Hill will have the opportunity to participate in a strategic exercise in partnership with the Triangle Institute for Security Studies, in which students will work with Special Operations forces from Fort Liberty to design and implement a joint simulation of a crisis situation in Eastern Europe.

The grant will also support outreach programs with entities in and outside of UNC-Chapel Hill: UNC World View, Carolina Public Humanities, Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security, NC Department of Public Instruction, American College of National Security Leaders, American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, and Southern Conference for Slavic Studies.

By Rawan Abbasi ’20, UNC Global Affairs


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