Carnegie Corporation Creates Academic Centers Of Excellence In Belarus And The South Caucasus


Carnegie Corporation of New York has established four new centers for advanced study in Belarus and the South Caucasus as part of the Corporation’s work on strengthening higher education in the former Soviet Union. These university-based, independently operated centers are designed to serve regional academic communities by creating opportunities for research, training and publications.

“For Carnegie Corporation, the establishment of academic centers in Belarus and the South Caucasus represents our strong belief that the intelligentsia, the region’s engine of reform, have a unique and important role to play in the march toward the new society that is underway in the former Soviet Union,” says Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation. “We believe that an investment in intellectual and academic resources is essential to the evolution of free democratic societies.”

Conceptually, the newly created centers represent an extension of a program the Corporation began in 1999 with the creation of Centers for Advanced Study and Education (CASEs) in Russia with a two-year grant of $2.4 million to the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies of The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. In addition to Carnegie Corporation, support for the CASEs program in Russia now comes from the Russian Ministry of Education, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Open Society Institute. To date, eight CASEs have been established at Russian regional universities.

While the centers in Belarus and the South Caucasus are modeled after the Russian CASEs, they are tailored to address regional needs. The Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRCs), which are being established simultaneously in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia are university-based, independently operated centers aimed at strengthening local capacity in the disciplines of economics, sociology, demography, political science, anthropology, and environmental sciences. The centers are designed to offer access to research materials and provide educational tools to an interdisciplinary group of your professionals and academics. These three centers are being created with a grant to Eurasia Foundation, a privately managed grantmaking organization operating exclusively in the former Soviet Union.

The Center for Advanced Study and Education (CASE) in Belarus will address the particular needs of Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova—countries that are undergoing fundamental transformations—and their region as a whole. Focusing on the theme, “Social Transformations in the Border Regions: Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova,” this CASE will be located at the European Humanities University and will serve as a forum for research, seminars, publications, fellowships, curricula development, and the creation of regional and international partnerships. The American Council for International Education in Washington has received a grant to create these centers.

“The establishment of these centers will not only strengthen universities in the region, but also generate scholarship on contemporary problems facing post-Soviet societies,” says Deana Arsenian, a Carnegie Corporation senior program officer and director of the Corporation’s Higher Education in the former Soviet Union initiative. “While the centers have essential elements in common in terms of their goals of strengthening the social sciences and creating new opportunities for post-Soviet academics, each center also focuses on responding to the specific needs of its host country,” adds Arsenian.

Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote "the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding." As a grantmaking foundation, the Corporation seeks to carry out Carnegie's vision of philanthropy, which he said should aim "to do real and permanent good in the world." The Corporation's capital fund, originally donated at a value of about $135 million, had a market value of $1.6 billion on September 30, 2002. It is expected that the Corporation's grantmaking will total more than $80 million during fiscal year 2002-2003 in the areas of education, international peace and security, international development and strengthening U.S. democracy.