The Herbert J Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies (REECAS) is a premier National Resource Center funded by the Title VI Program of the US Department of Education to promote in-depth interdisciplinary study of the many post-communist subregions. Through our research and programs, we seek to understand the legacies of the imperial and communist past and analyze the emerging institutions and identities that will shape Eurasia’s future from Visegrad to Vladivostok. This mission, which flows from Professor Ellison’s commitment to building sustainable connections with the diverse peoples of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, is strongly supported by the UW administration.
Long known only as the REECAS Center, the Herbert J. Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies was christened as such in 2004 to honor Dr. Ellison’s legacy with the generous financial support of the Ellison family and other program supporters.
As its long name indicates, the Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies region is expansive and diverse, including 29 countries. REECAS countries include the following: Albania, Armenia. Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
The Ellison Center offers undergraduate degree tracks within the European Studies Major and International Studies Majors as well as a Master’s Degree in Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies. We also offer an Accelerated REECAS MA to US Military Foreign Area Officers (FAOs). We sponsor lectures, conferences and exchanges covering the entirety of Eastern Europe and Eurasia; and we sustain a dynamic program of outreach to local schools, colleges and community organizations interested in our region. With over 60 participating UW faculty, the Ellison Center represents a unique intellectual resource for faculty, students and professionals living in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Professor Ellison served as a mentor to thousands of undergraduate and graduate students over 40 years. Instilling in them a love for the people and regions of the former Soviet Union and communist Europe, he devoted his career to the belief that educational exchange programs open doors and minds for all citizens of the world, and especially for those who long suffered behind the Iron Curtain.
Now, with public interest in Russia, East Europe and Central Asia higher than any time since the Soviet Union’s demise, the Ellison Center supports innovative research, student programs and community outreach to promote learning about this region of the world and carry on Herb Ellison’s legacy.