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New Frontiers for the Civic Education Project
 

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From the Civic Education Project Newsletter, Volume 2, Number 1, Fall 1995

In the 1995-96 program year the Civic Education Project expanded its Visiting Faculty Fellow program into three new countries--Belarus, Kazakstan and Macedonia. Six lecturers, three of whom are CEP veterans, have the task of establishing CEP in Minsk, Almaty and Skopje and laying the groundwork for the growth of our efforts in the universities there.

Almaty, Kazakstan

In late August three CEP lecturers received an enthusiastic reception in Almaty, Kazakstan by representatives of the Kazakstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Planning (KIMEP).

Almaty, the easternmost outpost of CEP, is home to a thriving Western community of academics who are teaching the next generation of Kazak economists, managers, and business people. KIMEP is an exclusively graduate institute that grants master's degrees in business administration, economics, and public administration.

While other organizations such as USAID and the European Union's TACIS program are providing funding and instructors for the MBA and Economics departments, the Public Administration department was neglected until the CEP lecturers arrived. Now, with the assistance of Marvin Nowicki , Lee Wright (Slovakia, '94-95), and Doug Reynolds, KIMEP has been able to revise its curriculum and is offering a full range of new courses.

Marvin has already been made interim director of the MPA department by Dr. Hartmut Fischer, the executive director of KIMEP. Several CEP alumni are also teaching at KIMEP. Steve Baba, (Ukraine, '93-94) is head of the MA department and Leslie Scott (Romania, '92-94, Latvia, '94-95) and Phil Butterfield (Romania, '93-94, Latvia, '94-95). With its interesting location and political/economic situation, Almaty is expected to become very popular among future CEP applicants.

Minsk, Belarus

On September 28, Reza Rajabiun (Slovakia, '94-95) and Tom Velek, arrived in Belarus to begin their year-long stint teaching at the European Humanities University (EHU) in Minsk.

Tom is teaching Modern European History and a survey course in World History and Reza is teaching International Political Economy and Comparative Economics.

European Humanities University was founded in 1992 as the first private institution of higher learning in Belarus. Having grown weary of the bureaucracy and stagnation of Belarus State University, a number of administrative staff and faculty left to work at EHU which increasingly attracts many of the best students in Minsk.

The European Humanities University is also attracting more attention from Western Europe and the U.S. in the form of teachers and grants. In fact, the University was recently named as a "target university" by the Open Society Institute's Higher Education Support Program (HESP) and has received funds for new textbooks, computers, and building renovations.

The CEP lecturers in Minsk, working under the direction of their department heads, will assist in curriculum development, expanding library resources, student advising, and other activities. With their assistance, EHU will continue to move aggressively to establish itself as a first-rate university and its students will acquire the skills they need to continue the process of social and economic transition under way in Belarus.

Skopje, Macedonia

After a year as a CEP lecturer at Varna Technical University in Bulgaria, Jeff Brown leads CEP into the Former Yugoslavia by establishing our first Visiting Faculty Fellow post in Skopje, Macedonia. Jeff is teaching international law in the Faculty of Economics at the Cyril and Methodius University while he explores the possibilities of further CEP growth in Macedonia.

Although it is in midst of Eastern Europe, Skopje is one of CEP's most isolated posts. The only rail links to Skopje are either through Greece, which until recently was blockading Macedonia in a dispute over the Republic's name, or with Serbia, still essentially persona non grata with the international community.

One result of these transportation difficulties has been a significant degree of academic and intellectual isolation of Macedonia from the rest of Europe. By placing a Visiting Lecturer in Skopje, with the hope of expanding our program there in the coming year, CEP (and Jeff in particular) is making an important contribution to the reintegration of Macedonian higher education into the European community of scholarship.

Another important reason for CEP's presence in Skopje is that with an Albanian minority of more than twenty percent and a volatile ethnic situation on its Northern border (Serbian-controlled Kosovo), the Macedonian government is anxious to create an environment of trust with its Albanian citizens and neighbors. CEP lecturers in Albania are working with Jeff to establish several joint projects that will include students from Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania. We believe these efforts will make a positive contribution to the process of reducing ethnic tensions in the central Balkans.