History

Section 1

Content

George and the Dragon

Founded in 1959, the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center (REEEC) at the University of Illinois serves as an intellectual and institutional center for members of the university community and the public interested in Eastern Europe, Russia, and the newly independent states of Eurasia. Devoted to promoting and disseminating knowledge about the region, the Center supports undergraduate and postgraduate training programs and seeks to foster a lively intellectual life through conferences, lectures, colloquia, visiting scholars, faculty and graduate student seminars and study groups, exhibits, films, and social activities. The Center combines commitment to the university community with regional and national service to the profession, individual scholars, the schools, and the public.

The University of Illinois has long served as a leader in national programs in Russian and East European studies, serving as the first home of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (now the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies) and host to the association's journal, Slavic Review, from 1975 to 1985 and now again since 1996. The Slavic, East European and Eurasian Collections and Services, one of the largest Slavic collections in the country, provides the staff and resources for the Slavic Reference Service and the Summer Research Laboratory, both of which provide research access and assistance to a national and even international community of scholars.

In an era when internationalization and globality must be priorities for every university, a primary task is to train undergraduate and graduate students in Russian, East European, and Eurasian area studies with an interdisciplinary approach. We offer our own interdisciplinary undergraduate major and minor degree programs as well as a M.A. and graduate minor program. Beyond that, we serve as a resource for the undergraduate major, minor, and teacher education programs in Russian language and literature, and for disciplinary M.A. and Ph.D. students and faculty focusing on this area. Key to this mission is the provision of high quality, proficiency based language instruction in Bulgarian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Serbian and Croatian, Ukrainian, and Turkish (as well as other languages upon demand).

A sustained commitment to providing information and curricular assistance to teachers from kindergarten through college, the business community, and the general public is also part of our tradition and mission. The Center organizes a wide variety of events, such as lectures, conferences, workshops, poetry readings, films, and exhibits, which are all open to the public. The University's eight area/international studies National Resource Centers collaborate regularly on programming and publications that engage K-16 educators and the public.

With the support of our diverse and distinguished faculty, the Center is devoted to critical perspectives and innovation as well as to its own traditions. Recognizing the necessarily changing nature and valuation of international and area studies, the Center is playing an active role in rethinking area and international studies, in particular the development of greater comparative, thematic and transnational study while also promoting the continued recognition of the need for deep and interdisciplinary knowledge of particular cultures and histories. Moreover, we seek to combine intellectual inquiry with practical engagement, which in the post-Cold War era is both necessary and full of new possibilities.