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Established as a consortium in 1984, The Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies advances innovative use-inspired research and teaching on the languages, societies and geopolitics of greater Eurasia. The Center’s core mission is to enhance contextual expertise and cultural awareness in the communities it serves, through partnerships across disciplinary, ideological and geographical borders.
As an instructional unit, the Center sponsors the Critical Languages Institute, one of the largest summer training academies for intensive training in less commonly taught East European and Eurasian languages.
As a research unit, the Center draws on the expertise of over forty faculty affiliates, and partners with educational institutions in the US and the region to build programs of academic exchange, international development, and collaborative research.
The Melikian Center adopted its current name in late 2006, in recognition of the generous support of Gregory and Emma Melikian.
On May 2, 2018, the Melikian Center hosted a delegation from the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The events at ASU were part of a visit to Arizona hosted by the Arizona chapter of People-to-People International, as part of the Open World Program. The delegation included two members of the lower house or Mazhilis, Ms. Snezhanna Imasheva, and Mr. Serik Sapiyev; as well as the head of administration for the House, Mr. Serik Aidarbekov.
During their stay in Phoenix, the visitors met with representatives from the Arizona State House of Representatives and Senate, the Arizona State Supreme Court, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and Arizona’s National Guard, which has a State partnership with Kazakhstan.
During their visit to ASU, the delegation had a tour of campus led by faculty member Dr. Saule Moldabekova, in the company of current ASU graduate students from Kazakhstan. Professor Richard Herrera from the School of Politics and Global Studies provided a briefing on U.S. legislative processes at the local, state, and federal level. The visitors were particularly interested in the executive role played by professional city managers hired by elected mayors, and also in the provisions that Arizona offers for direct democracy through the initiative and referendum process.
In the evening, Ms. Imasheva delivered a public presentation on “The Role of the Parliament in the Rule of Law in Kazakhstan” attended by over fifty people. Ms. Imasheva and her colleagues then responded to questions on topics ranging from Kazakhstan’s ethno-national diversity, political party system and foreign policy, through to architecture, cuisine, poetry and film.
Haley Elizabeth Adams. Haley graduated in May 2018 with a certificate in Russian and East European Studies (REES). She stopped by the Melikian Center to meet with one of her mentors, Dr. Don Livingston, and offer some reflections on her ASU career.
Why did you choose the REES Certificate?
I chose it after taking History 304 [Survey of Soviet History] with [Graduate student in SHPRS] Tyler Kirk. I had always been interested in Russian history, and I knew that is were I wanted my concentration to be – on that geographic region. I talked to him about it, and he let me know about the Certificate.
What REES course was most beneficial or memorable?
I really liked the Russian conversation classes with Dr. Saule Moldabekova. I felt like I became better at Russian in those classes. And then I really liked my history capstone with Professor Laurie Manchester, on the Russian Revolution. That was a good research class.
What are your plans now?
In the fall of the year, I am doing a graduate certificate at ASU in linguistics, and then I will be applying for masters programs.
Photo: Haley Adams with Donald Livingston, Senior Lecturer of Russian and Interim CLI Director
The Melikian Center is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Irina Levin as a postdoctoral fellow for 2018-19. Dr. Levin received her doctorate in anthropology from New York University in 2017 for her PhD thesis, entitled "Uncertain Returns: Citizenship and Law in the Caucasus." Drawing on language proficiency in Russian, Turkish and Azerbaijani, and on extensive fieldwork with Meskhetian and Ahiska Turkish communities in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, Dr. Levin explores contemporary issues of disputed citizenship, legacies of displacement and trauma, and the particular social and political significance of identity documents, from the points of view of both states and individuals trying to establish and maintain security in precarious times. Dr. Levin will spend 2018-19 at ASU, pursuing further research and also teaching at Barrett, the Honors College. She recently posted this account of the disputed identify of a "Turkish" SS Officer on the All the Russias blog at NYU's Jordan Center.