Belarus/Ukraine/Moldova

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Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova share much of their history and post-Soviet heritage and have similar systems of higher education. These similarities, along with administrative considerations, persuaded CEP to combine its activities in the three countries into a single program. The result has been a large, yet cohesive, group of Fellows teaching and working together on outreach within their individual countries and across borders. The multi-national nature of this program has led to many regional outreach projects, the most prominent of which are the annual series of CIS regional student conferences carried out in collaboration with CEP Russia. In addition, there has been much cooperation with CEP teams in other neighboring countries. For example, CEP Fellows and students in Moldova facilitate guest lectures and participate in workshops, conferences and other activities with CEP Romania. This regional focus has helped CEP Ukraine/Moldova/Belarus become an innovator within CEP, piloting a number of outreach projects that have become regular activities across CEP.

Since its inception in 1992, CEP Ukraine, the oldest program in the NIS, has placed over 100 Visiting Faculty Fellows at thirty-five social science, law and economics departments throughout Ukraine. In 1998–99 CEP Ukraine/Moldova/Belarus supported seventeen Visiting Faculty Fellows and twenty-one Local Faculty Fellows in the three countries. These Fellows taught a wide variety of courses to more than 3,000 students. In addition to teaching, CEP Fellows were engaged in various activities aimed at curriculum reform and junior faculty development at their universities. They worked actively with students outside the classroom, involving them in academic research and writing projects, conferences, debates, moot court competitions and other extracurricular activities. The program maintains strong links with its partner institutions, as well as national and international organizations, foundations, and NGOs in fields related to educational reform and exchange. The program also encourages progressive local academics to assist in evaluating and planning CEP programs and activities. Dr. Natalia Chernysh (Lviv State University) acted as teaching evaluator and advisor to the Eastern Scholars and provided valuable guidance in overall program development.

The Fall 1998 semester featured the CEP CIS Regional Student Conference, “Looking Ahead at the New Millennium: Choices for Regional Development.” Held in Chisinau, Moldova, the conference hosted eighty-two students from six NIS countries. The students participated in panels, a career fair, a debate exercise and an honors roundtable. Twelve of the top papers from the Chisinau conference were published in March 1999 and distributed among academic institutions, libraries, organizations and foundations.

“What CEP has done – bringing together these young people from many countries and organizing this free active exchange – is worth all the effort. It is hard to expect fundamental scientific contributions from the students, but this is definitely a very stimulating start for many of them”.

Soros Foundation – Moldova representative

Local Faculty Fellows have been very active in organizing and finding support for their projects in 1998–99. Elena Kovaleva visited the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and later organized in Donetsk a debate on NATO expansion and security that included local politicians as well as NATO representatives.

Irina Tchikalova, jointly with the Minsk Center of Gender Studies, put together a conference entitled, “Woman. Education. Democracy.” Sergei Yakubovsky organized a workshop on “Contemporary Teaching Methodologies” for CEP Local Faculty Fellows and junior social science faculty at Odessa State University. Andriy Iliuk hosted a guest lecture series that brought several Local Faculty Fellows to the College of Business and Law in Kolomya. In Dnipropetrovsk, Irina Taranenko organized the first event in a series of local, city-wide student conferences designed to increase outreach to students in provincial universities. CEP is planning many events during the coming years that extend outreach to non-CEP junior faculty and students.

The program has been increasingly active in developing teaching and research materials. Through assistance from the Network Library Program of the Open Society Institute, Fellows donated over 2,500 volumes of up-to-date textbooks and reference publications to partner institutions. CEP also supported the publication of manuals, readers and workbooks compiled by CEP Fellows in topics such as law, human rights, economics, gender studies, history, American studies, and academic writing. Several host departments designed mini-resource centers for students and faculty, helping to make better use of the CEP book donations and publications. CEP again contributed funding and information for the fourth edition of the Scholarship Opportunities Handbook, an on-going project piloted by CEP with the Zaporizhia Regional Resource Center for Civic Organizations (initially established by CEP as The Center for Social and Economic Research). This handbook is the most comprehensive guide to academic exchange in the Ukraine, providing information on over 150 educational exchange programs, as well as organizations, foundations and institutions involved in educational development.

“I was surprised and happy [with] the professors and staff of CEP. They are intelligent, interesting and, most importantly, very enthusiastic and active working with the students. We need more such professors at our university”.

CEP student

Country Director Oleksandr Shtokvych points out that sustained involvement in the program always makes CEP Fellows more productive and effective. Several Visiting Faculty Fellows have renewed for the 1999–2000 academic year and will continue their projects. For example, Michael Andersen and Wendy Feuell launched a pilot project of distance learning, giving priority to students from non-CEP universities and non-CEP countries, such as the former Yugoslavia. Gary Waldron is planning a US civil law mock trial exhibition for students, professors and professional lawyers. Albert Ringelstein will continue guest-lecture exchanges in American studies between Chernivtsi University in Ukraine and Iasi University in Romania and plans to organize an American Studies Roundtable for students of these countries. With a strong group of new and renewing Fellows expected, the Ukraine/Belarus/Moldova program looks forward to a combination of continuity and innovation during the coming years.

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