REEI hosted its annual Fall Reception on September 12, 2019 in the Global and International Studies Building Atrium. Attendants gathered to celebrate a successful start of the school year, to congratulate numerous recipients of various REEI awards, and to welcome new faculty and visiting scholars.
Interim Director Halina Goldberg recognized all of the award recipients, starting with REEI Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) awardees for 2019-2020, a cohort that includes graduate students Jacob Becker (History), Dexter Blackwell (REEI), Alexandra Blaha (REEI), Griffin Edwards (REEI), Kaitlyn Lee-Legg (REEI), Daniel O’Rourke (REEI), and William Smeal (Slavic), as well as undergraduate students Tyler Combs, Devlin Cook-Hines, Kyle Tucker, and Sydney Way.
Nancy Armstrong and her children were present as Goldberg went on to introduce recipients of awards established to honor Nancy’s late father, Daniel Armstrong (1942-1972), a beloved IU Slavic Department alumnus, scholar, teacher, and administrator. Professor Armstrong’s family generously provided the funds to institute the Daniel Armstrong Memorial Research Paper Award as well as the Daniel Armstrong Memorial Scholarship. This year’s Research Paper Awards went to Madeline McCann for her REEI MA essay, "The Neighborhood as a Site of Political Mobilization: Challenging Housing Renovation and Pension Reform in Moscow”; to Leah Valtin-Erwin (History) for her graduate paper “A Bag for All Systems: Shopping Bags and Urban Grocery Shopping in Late Communist and Early Post-Communist Eastern Europe, 1980-2000”; and to Daniel Schumick for his undergraduate paper “The Challenges of Containment: Yugoslavia’s role in Truman’s Grand Strategy.” The Daniel Armstrong Memorial Scholarship provides at least $1500 to incoming first-year undergraduate students at IU with records of academic excellence and a commitment to pursuing the study of Russian or another East European language throughout their undergraduate career. The incoming first-year recipients of the Daniel Armstrong Memorial Scholarship in 2019-20 are Lia Sokol and Kai Whipple. Sydney Way is a continuing student recipient of the Daniel Armstrong Memorial Scholarship.
REEI also administers the Robert F. Byrnes Memorial Fellowship, an award that preserves the memory of the founder and first director of REEI, Robert F. Byrnes. The award was established through the generous support of the late Eleanor Byrnes, widow of Robert F. Byrnes, and their children. The REEI Fellowship Committee awards this two-year fellowship to a deserving incoming student in the REEI Master’s program. This year’s incoming Byrnes Fellow is Claudia Lahr. After completing a double major in History and Russian Studies at the University of Michigan, Claudia taught English in Siberia as a Fulbright ETA. At REEI, she is pursuing a research interest in religious syncretism in Siberia. Sasha Stott, a dual degree student who is in her second year of work on an MA in Russian and East European Studies and a Master of Library Science, is the continuing Byrnes Fellow.
In 2016 Indiana University alumni Ann Jakisich Erne and David A. Erne established the Ann and David Erne Fellowship to support the studies of an incoming graduate student enrolled in the Russian and East European Institute Master’s degree plan and focusing especially on Serbian studies. This is a one-year renewable fellowship awarded every other year. The incoming Erne fellow for 2019-20 is Emma Strenski. Emma is in her first year of study for the dual REEI MA/JD degree program. She completed a dual major in History and International Studies at the University of Wisconsin and has just returned from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she spent the past academic year as a Fulbright Student Researcher.
Following recognition of award recipients, Halina introduced US Army War College Fellow Lieutenant Colonel Angela Reber an active duty US Army officer with more than 19 years of service that embraces a variety of leadership and staff assignments in the United States, the Middle East, and Europe including Poland and Ukraine. She is one of 77 military officers fulfilling their advanced military education requirements at major universities across the United States this year. Angela is the inaugural Strategic Russian and East European Fellow and will be spending the academic year with REEI taking coursework focusing on US Foreign Policy, US National Security Issues, US-Russia Relations and Russian language studies.
At this juncture, Tatiana Saburova, Lecturer in History and Academic Co-Director of the Russian Studies Workshop (RSW), introduced RSW staff as well as the 2019-20 Russian Studies Workshop post-doctoral fellow John Romero, who recently completed a PhD in History at Arizona State University. At IU, John is pursuing research on the initial creation of national cadres in the Tatar Republic in the 1920s and the rise of the last generation of Soviet Tatar cultural elites in the 1970s and 1980s. He also leads a writing circle with RSW graduate students and will teach an upper-division course in the Department of the International Studies in Spring 2020.
After introducing REEI staff, Halina welcomed a host of visiting scholars: Edona Berisha Kida (Kosova), Ewa Bogula (Poland), Lyosha Gorshkov (Russia), Mikolaj Herbst (Poland), Oleksandra Humenna (Ukraine), Oleksandr Kiliievych (Ukraine), Igor Kuznetsov (Russia), and Ruta Śpiewak (Poland), as well as new affiliate faculty members, Michael De Groot (International Studies), Elizabeth Gebálle (Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures), and Teúta Ozcelik (Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures).