Federal grant will expand Chinese-Russian-Asian Studies at Fairfield University

Congressman Christopher Shays' office has notified Fairfield University that the U.S. Department of Education is awarding a $155,393 Critical Languages Eurasia Initiative grant to the University over the next two-years.

In announcing the grant, Congressman Shays said, "I am grateful the Department of Education selected Fairfield University to receive this funding. This grant will allow Fairfield University to strengthen its International Studies curriculum, and expand opportunities for students to explore studies in the needed fields of Chinese, Russian and central Asian language and culture. Furthering educational opportunities for students to specialize in these emerging business regions will assist America in maintaining its competitiveness in the global marketplace."

As part of Fairfield University's commitment to the initiative, the university is hiring a full-time Chinese language professor who will begin teaching this fall. Fairfield already offers courses in basic and intermediate Chinese as well as basic, intermediate and continuing Russian.

Dr. David McFadden, who has been developing Fairfield's program in Russian and East European Studies since he arrived at Fairfield in 1990, is the principal investigator for the grant. He said, "The grant is intended to stimulate greater exchange of students and faculty between Fairfield and its partner universities in China and Russia and will be a great impetus in Fairfield University's continuing expansion of its course offerings related to Russia, China and Central Asia. "Russia and China are two countries that have to deal with each other - and we in the United States need to communicate with them both as well," he said. "Our students will be well prepared for the global environment they will be working in during the years ahead."

In 2003 Fairfield University became the first university in the United States to partner with Russia's most prestigious university of economics, finance and business, the St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance. At that time Fairfield already had an eight-year partnership with Herzen University in St. Petersburg. In addition, Fairfield students have the option of studying at The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies. Under the grant, Dr. McFadden said, he wants to strengthen communication with the programs in Beijing and Russia.

Fairfield will also offer competing stipends to faculty to develop new courses on Central Asia, Russia and China. A revamping of the International Studies Program will focus on global development, peace building and diplomacy, and humanitarian action and social justice.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 16, 2007

Vol. 40, No. 7

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