In November 2004, thanks to the support of the Ellison family, along with contributions from many other friends and supporters of the program, we proudly announced the creation of the Herbert J. Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies (REECAS).
We are also a National Resource Center funded by the Title VI Program of the US Department of Education, promoting in-depth interdisciplinary study of all major postcommunist subregions – Eastern and Central Europe, the Baltic region, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and Russia – in order to understand the legacies of the imperial and communist past as well as to analyze the emerging institutions and identities that will shape Eurasia’s future. This mission, which flows naturally out of Professor Ellison’s longstanding commitment to building long-term, sustainable networks of cooperation with the diverse peoples of the region, is strongly and actively supported by the UW administration.
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.
We offer 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 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 suffered behind the Iron Curtain for decades. At a time when public interest in Russia, East Europe and Central Asia is higher than at almost any time since 1991, the Ellison Center supports innovative research projects, student programs and connections with the community on issues related to this crucial region of the world to carry on Herb Ellison’s legacy.