Pitt International Centers Secure More Than $7 Million for Research, Language Acquisition, and Community Engagement

The University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh announced today that its Asian Studies Center, European Studies Center, and Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies have received more than $7 million of funding from the United States Department of Education and other sources to expand the reach of their international work.

The three centers received a total of six awards under Title VI of the Higher Education Act, resulting in National Resource Center designation and Foreign Language Areas Studies (FLAS) fellowships for each, representing more than $5.1 million in funding over four years. The Title VI awards support innovative research, language acquisition, and community engagement initiatives.

“The University of Pittsburgh is a force in global education and engagement,” said Ariel Armony, vice provost of global affairs and director of the University Center for International Studies. “The National Resource Center designation and other funding reflects our commitment to taking Pitt to the world and bringing the world to Pitt.”

Dr. Armony noted that pursuing a wide range of funding for Pitt’s international centers is an important component of making global engagement a part of every student’s experience and expanding University partnerships around the globe.

“The Plan for Pitt calls all of us to embrace the world,” says Dr. Armony. “The University Center for International Studies is the hub for Pitt’s many centers and programs working toward this important goal.”

In addition to the Title VI National Resource Center and FLAS Fellowship funding, Pitt’s Asian Studies Center received grants totaling more than $900,000 in 2018, including significant funding from the Freeman Foundation for the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA). Directed by Department of Anthropology Professor Joseph Alter, the Asian Studies Center offers a range of innovative programs for educators including seminars, short courses, and summer study tours of China for K-12 teachers. The 2018 NCTA grant, the 15th awarded to the Pitt center, allows it to expand Asian studies offerings to serve educators in 11 states.

Pitt’s European Studies Center recently received grants from both the European Union and the European Union Delegation to the U.S.  Led by Associate Professor of Political Science Jae-Jae Spoon, the center’s 2018 awards provide an additional $573,000 and include a grant leveraging Pitt’s growing partnerships on urban and energy-related research with three universities in Europe: Newcastle University (United Kingdom); L’Institut des Études Politiques (Sciences Po Lyon, France); and L’Université Jean Monnet Saint-Étienne (France). The funding allows new collaborations among the three universities and Pitt’s Department of Political Science, Urban Studies Program, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) and Swanson School of Engineering’s Center for Energy. In other center news, the European Union recently renewed the European Studies Center’s prestigious designation as a Jean Monnet Center of Excellence in EU Studies, a distinction the center has held since 1998.

In addition to the Title VI National Resource Center and FLAS Fellowship funding, Pitt’s Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies this year received major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and the National Security Agency (NSA). Led by Slavic Languages & Literatures Professor Nancy Condee, the center secured more than $1.1 million in grant funding to advance research, language training, and other programs.

The NEH Humanities Connections project will develop an interdisciplinary series of undergraduate courses and linked co-curricular experiences on the theme of “Water in Central Asia,” engaging multiple arts and sciences departments and professional schools across Pitt. The DoD-funded Project GO program will provide intensive summer Russian language training to ROTC students from universities throughout the U.S., to be conducted both at the Summer Language Institute on Pitt’s campus and on a custom-designed study abroad program hosted by Narva College in Estonia. Finally, the NSA-funded STARTALK program will provide a four-week summer residential program in Russian language on Pitt’s campus for 20 high school students, the majority of whom will be recruited from schools serving minority and lower-income populations in Chicago and the greater Pittsburgh area.