Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies receives $2 million in grants

Katy Nelson, News desk editor

The United States Department of Education awarded UT’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies $2 million in Title VI grants on Aug. 3.  

The Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies received two Title VI grants — grants offered to develop and maintain capacity and performance in area/international studies and world languages to institutions — totaling a little over $2 million through 2022-2026. Mary Neuburger, the director of the center, said she hopes the grant will allow further promotion of the study of the region.

“Another (hope) is outreach to the campus community and the public to raise awareness,” history professor Neuburger said. “Because a lot of people have certain stereotypes about Russia or know very little about important areas, like Ukraine, which … is involved in this war. It’s really important for people to understand not just the war but the cultures of the people there.” 

Agnes Sekowski, assistant director for the center, said the department is looking to support the unprecedented amount of students from the region and help fund an online, open education resource for Slavic languages.

“(The grants) keep feeding this ecosystem of excellence, which is only getting more and more important on the world stage,” Sekowski said. “It allows us to continue creating these specialists that we think are really important to the future of U.S. foreign policy and … the corporate sector relating to countries in our region and development in the area.” 

The grants carry for a cycle of four years before the center must reapply, Neuburger said.

“We know how stiff the competition is, and we really have to try and do the best we can to make a good case for ourselves, which means that between now and the next grant we have to do a lot of high impact work here at the University,” Neuburger said.

Thomas Garza, a Slavic language and Eurasian studies associate professor, said recent events show that the region should continue to be studied and focused.

“If we really do want to buy into the idea of what starts in Texas changes the world, the core of that requires these individual students to know the regions around the world,” Garza said. “The world speaks English, but the world also speaks hundreds of other languages and actually conducting business in the language of the region of the country makes business move in a much more synergistic way.”