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Harvard Davis Center Announces New Georgian Studies Program

Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies is launching a new program for Georgian Studies with the support of the Georgian government.
Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies is launching a new program for Georgian Studies with the support of the Georgian government. By Josie W. Chen
By Raquel Coronell Uribe, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies is launching a new program for Georgian Studies with the support of the Georgian government, the center announced Wednesday.

The program will be headed by Stephen F. Jones, a professor at Mount Holyoke College and at Georgia’s Ilia State University.

In a Davis Center press release Wednesday, Jones said that the creation of the center was a “first.”

“Now scholars of Georgia and the South Caucasus have an academic center at Harvard, where they can exchange ideas, pursue research, and collaborate with Georgian colleagues,” Jones said. “Its establishment here at Harvard benefits both Georgia and the United States.”

The program was made possible by a $2.3 million “research award” from the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia with the purpose of supporting “research and scholarly exchange, teaching, and outreach,” according to the press release.

The program’s goal is to expand knowledge of Georgian history, culture, literature, and politics by American students. It will also fund the research projects of Georgian scholars and finance visits for them to Harvard’s campus.

Harvard Business School professor Rawi E. Abdelal, who directs the Davis Center, said in the press release that the creation of the center was a “real step forward” in the University’s capacity to study Georgia and its surrounding region.

“Students have been clamoring for opportunities to travel to the Caucasus and Central Asia. Working with the government of Georgia will allow us to establish high-quality internships and exchanges,” Abdelal said. “It is, after all, experiencing other countries and cultures that builds understanding, appreciation, and analysis.”

The program is set to host an annual conference on Georgia and the South Caucasus, and will offer events, lectures, and workshops about the region.

Courses on Georgia, including Georgian language classes, will be offered in history and the social sciences every year starting in the spring semester of 2022.

The executive director of the Davis Center, Alexandra M. Vacroux, said in the announcement that the creation of the program offers undergraduate and graduate students better “intellectual and physical” access to Georgia, which Vacroux said is “the way to create a pipeline of experts on the Caucasus.”

“Our master’s students go on to be leaders in the public and private sectors, and their enhanced knowledge of Georgia and the Caucasus will improve American understanding of the region’s foreign policy, its journalism, and business and cultural worlds,” she said.

—Staff writer Raquel Coronell Uribe can be reached at raquel.coronelluribe@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @raquelco15.

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