From the Director

Happy New Year and welcome to the Winter 2021 semester at the Harriman Institute! 

All of our lives have been disrupted by the onset of COVID-19. Please let me extend my sincere best wishes to you and your families and the hope that we all remain healthy and safe. Needless to say, this academic year has presented a host of challenges. However, I’m excited to report that, thus far, it has proven to be a robust and stimulating academic experience for our students, faculty, and wider community.

The hybrid model of in-person and virtual learning is certainly different from anything we have previously embarked on as an academic institution, but it has opened new opportunities by broadening our community beyond geographic location. Students have not only had the chance to tap into the Harriman Institute’s extensive global network of alumni, friends, and like-minded institutions, but also to explore resources and events that would have been unavailable to us had we been limited to on-campus events.

We have a vibrant calendar this semester—we will continue three virtual film series devoted to East Central European, Russian, and Ukrainian film; a breadth of events focusing on contemporary Russian culture; host a webinar on the current state of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia as part of our New York-Russia Public Policy Forum; hold the second event in our Exclusion in Soviet and Post-Communist Societies Speaker Series, a webinar with Kathryn E. Graber called “Mediating belonging in Asian Russia,” and much more. We will also host a virtual series of student-centered lectures, alumni networking opportunities, and student-professor roundtables that will give students and faculty the opportunity to get to interact in new and unique ways. 

We were proud to welcome 14 new MARS-REERS students this year—one of our largest incoming cohorts! We were also excited to welcome Svetlana Borodina, our new postdoctoral research scholar who is focusing on the politics of disability and inclusion in Russia. Our community is stronger than ever and we are doing everything we can to nourish and sustain it.

Though we would all prefer to be on campus together in person this year, the virtual environment has forced us to get creative about the learning process in ways that can only enhance and improve our experience for years to come. So far, this year has shown that our community remains strong, close and supportive, no matter where we happen to physically sit. I look forward to seeing everyone at our many webinars and virtual meet-and-greets! 

Stay safe, stay engaged with us, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or ideas.

All the best,

Alexander Cooley

Director, Harriman Institute