This past June and July, IU Bloomington hosted over 200 students for the 68th annual Summer Language Workship. This year’s workshop included intensive instruction in the following languages: Arabic; Azerbaijani; Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian; Chinese; Estonian; Haitian Creole; Hungarian; Japanese; Kurdish; Lithuanian; Mongolian; Persian; Pashto; Russian; Turkish; and Ukrainian. In addition to language instruction, the program included a multitude of extra-curricular activities ranging from culturally-specific cooking, music, and dance events to art displays and language-specific film screenings. Some notable workshop events included the Islamic Art Tour; Balkan Folk Dancing; Salaam Drum Workshop; Slavic Folk Music; Ukrainian Pysanky Workshop; Chinese Caligraphy; weekly Taiji classes; and many more. These cultural events were supplemented by a variety of weekly lectures (with Q&A) pertaining to relevant political and sociocultural phenomenon in countries or regions relevant to workshop languages.
In keeping with its mission of sociocultural immersion, the SLW hosted six Strategic Language and Cultures Seminars: "From Washington to Warsaw: US Policy Toward Central and Eastern Europe;" "A Path Through the Mountains: Islam and Nationalism in post-Soviet Caucasus;" “Orthodoxy and Soft Power;” “Russian and Chinese Presence in Contemporary Mongolia;” "Geography, Identity, Nationality: Russian-Ukrainian Borderlands;" and “Baltic Security Since 1991.” These were presented by Lee Feinstein (Dean, IU School of Global and International Studies), Sufian Zhemukhov (Senior Research Associate, George Washington University), Patrick Michelson (Associate Professor- Religious Studies, IUB), Marina Saidukova (freelance scholar), Steven Seegel (Professor- History, University of Northern Colorado), and Toivo Raun (Professor- CEUS, IUB), respectively. Additionally, a number of other lectures were available to SLW participants on a weekly basis covering a wide range of relevant topics.
Priding itself in its accessibility, the SLW, supported by the IU College of Arts and Sciences, provided generous fee-remission for all out-of-state and international students, bringing tuitions costs down to the standard in-state rates. Testament to the generous support offered, more than half of the students involved received full funding for the program. In their many forms, these grants covered not only tuition and administrative fees but also living expenses. Included amongst the available forms of funding were the following federal grants: US Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships, administered by REEI and the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center,and the; US Department of Defense Project GO scholarships, administered by SLW, US Department of State Title VIII fellowships, administered by SLW, Russian Studies Workshop fellowships, supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and administered by REEI, and the REEI Summer Russian Scholarship.. In connection with direct government funding, the Workshop hosted a number of information sessions pertaining to careers with government organizations including the State Department, FBI, and CIA, in addition to sessions for major international organizations such as the Peace Corps and the American Councils. These sessions helped to reiterate the significance of intensive language study within international diplomatic spheres, governmental or otherwise.
Nearing its 70th year, the SLW continues to prosper and develop, evidenced by continued high enrollment, generous funding, the expanse of offered languages, and the quality and diversity of its extra-curricular events. Following the resignation of Dr. Ariann (Ari) Stern-Gottschalk, whose efforts in expanding and developing the program cannot be understated, REEI’s own Mark Trotter shared the role of Interim Director with Maria Shardakova (Slavic) for this past summer’s program. The program was successfully coordinated in large part due to the dedication of REEI permanent staff members Amy Richardson (Outreach Coordinator) and Delia Igo (Administrative Assistant). The SLW community is proud to announce the hiring of Kathleen Evans as the new Director going forward. For the following summer, the language workshop will add the following five languages: Georgian; Indonesian; Korean; Latvian; and Swahili. Additionally, the workshop will continue the following languages: Arabic; Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian; Chinese; Estonian; Haitian Creole; Hungarian; Japanese; Kurdish; Lithuanian; Mongolian; Persian; Pashto; Russian; Turkish; and Ukrainian.