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CAREER | Chess, leadership & calculated risk: Washington Attorney General, UW alumnus talks to Gorton Center Global Leaders

Chess has trained people to think strategically for centuries, and in former Soviet nations, chess is still considered a sport. The game originated on the Asian subcontinent and eventually made its way to Persia. The term “checkmate” comes from the words shah mat, “the king is dead,” and the Russian word for chess is essentially the same, shakhmati. Power and risk, intrinsic aspects of politics, are fundamental concepts of chess as well. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, UW alumnus and former UW student-body president, became fascinated with the game as a child. It was through this driving interest that he became a pupil of Bulgarian chess master Nikolay Minev. What he learned from Minev would help shape his future endeavors.

By |January 27th, 2015|Career Spotlight|0 Comments

ENVIRONMENT | Russia’s exploding north and the death of green investment

For several years now, Alexander Bedritsky, scientist and Putin’s appointed Presidential Delegate to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has been voicing concern over Russia’s melting permafrost and the threat it poses to the global climate balance. He could not have asked for a better rallying event than the sudden, spectacular birth of the Yamal crater. This past July, a 100-foot wide section of Siberian taiga burst open on Russia’s Yamal Peninsula. This anomaly was the result of underground pockets of methane fed by years of Siberia’s slowly melting permafrost.

By |January 7th, 2015|Student Spotlight|0 Comments

ALUMNI | Plutopia, award winning monograph from Kate Brown

UW History PhD alumna Kate Brown has been repeatedly honored throughout 2014, and most recently at the ASEEES conference with the Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize, for her monograph Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters. The work draws upon official records and personal interviews to tell the story of Richland, Washington and Ozersk, Russia, the first two cities in the world to produce plutonium.

By |December 29th, 2014|Alumni Spotlight|0 Comments

ALUMNI | New Ambassador to Turkmenistan experienced in the region

Considering the controversy surrounding some recent ambassadorial appointments, it is encouraging to see that UW alumnus Allan Mustard has become the new Ambassador to Turkmenistan. A native of Brady, Washington, Mustard earned B.A. in political science and Slavic languages and literature in 1978 from the University of Washington. Of Ambassador Mustard’s 29 years in the Foreign Service, 20 of those years were spent at U.S. missions abroad. He began his foreign service career as a member of the Foreign Agricultural Service through the USDA. He speaks Russian, German, and basic Spanish.

By |December 22nd, 2014|Alumni Spotlight|0 Comments

Uzbekistan declares 2015 “Year of the Elders”

Uzbekistan follows a now well-established custom since its independence in 1991. Every year on December 8, the Day of the Constitution, the guiding theme for the coming year is announced. For example, 2014 was the year of the “Healthy Child”, 2004 the “Year of Love and Compassion.” The Uzbekistan government has declared 2015 to be "The Year of Attention and Care for Elder People."

By |December 16th, 2014|Faculty Spotlight|0 Comments

ALUMNI | ASEEES awards prestigious prize to Ellison Center alumnus

The Ellison Center is pleased to announce that graduate alumnus Taylor Zajicek was awarded the ASEEES Graduate Student Essay Prize for an outstanding essay by a graduate student in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies for his paper “Modern Friendship: The ‘New Turkey’ and Soviet Cultural Diplomacy, 1933-1934”.

By |December 15th, 2014|Alumni Spotlight|0 Comments

WORKSHOP | “Europe’s Transformative 20th Century”

As a National Resource Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies, the Ellison Center offers master teacher workshops for local community educators. In cooperation with the Center for West European Studies, the Ellison Center was pleased to host a two part workshop for social studies teachers at the Jackson School on “Europe’s Transformative 20th Century: From a Continent of War and Division to a Continent of Peace.”

By |December 8th, 2014|Community Spotlight, Features|0 Comments

Building your brand: 3 ways to make the most of your Thanksgiving break

Thanksgiving holiday is a time of gratitude, family feasts, cozy nights and no-holds-barred shopping. Unless you are a graduate student or college senior. For us, it is a time for studying, writing, researching and worrying. There are many applications for internships, government programs and graduate schools to manage on top of our academic load just prior to dead week. You may be eating turkey at the table, watching football in the den, or waiting in line for a Hollywood blockbuster, but the question will inevitably come up -- “So, what are your plans after graduation?”

By |November 25th, 2014|Career Spotlight|0 Comments

TALK | Guns, gavels and bribes: firm strategies for securing property rights in contemporary Russia

Which types of contemporary Russian firms are most likely to use violence or corruption to resolve business disputes, and which types are most likely to utilize the law? Jordan Gans-Morse presented findings from an original survey of Russian businesses analyzing the relationships between firm-level characteristics and firm strategies relating to property rights.

By |November 24th, 2014|Academic Spotlight|Comments Off

From St. Petersburg to Sochi: New colors and remnants of the past

After living in Russia for one year and visiting again prior to my trip this summer, I thought that I would be very prepared for my experiences in St. Petersburg and Sochi. To my surprise, neither city was anything like Moscow or the lovely village of Beloomut, on the outskirts of Moscow.

By |November 10th, 2014|Features, Series on Sochi, Student Spotlight|1 Comment