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The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey’s (MIIS) Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies (GIRS) engages Monterey graduate students with advanced Russian language skills in active dialogue with Russian and Eurasian experts on issues of Russian politics, economy and security.
GIRS facilitates not only contextual language practice for Russian language students, but also exposure to research and analysis generated by contemporary Russian and Eurasian scholars and practitioners. In its second year of operation, GIRS is proud to report that it has hosted a number of world renowned experts and achieved robust student participation. Visiting experts to date include Dr. Vladimir Orlov, Dr. Andrei Tsygankov, Dr. Dmitri Trenin, Dr. Roza Otunbayeva, Dr. Andranik Migranyan, Dr. Vladimir Dvorkin, and Dr. Zhanna Zayonchkovskaya.
Each expert presents a series of topical Russian-language lectures and a public seminar supported by English interpretation. The substantive discussions in Russian between visiting experts and students from MIIS, the Naval Post Graduate School, DTRA, and FAO Russian-studying officers from the Defense Language Institute are unique among U.S. graduate programs. These events also allow graduate students and military officers with similar professional specializations to connect with one another and exchange ideas.
The future of U.S. – Russian relations depends to a great extent upon mutual understanding of each other’s concerns and priorities. It is imperative that the next generation of U.S. specialists on Russia and Eurasia learn not only from Western discourse but directly from leading experts on Russia and Eurasia from the Russian Federation and other post-Soviet states. The Monterey Institute’s Graduate Learning Initiative in Russian Studies represents an important first step in providing this educational opportunity.
Dr. Anna Vassilieva, director of the Institute’s Russian Studies program, is the founder and director of the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies. The Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies is generously funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.