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Interview with Dr. Jamsheed Choksy on the New Undergraduate Major

On February 17th, 2014, the IAUNRC sat down with Professor Jamsheed Choksy, Chair of the Department of Central Eurasian Studies, to discuss their new undergraduate major.

The full interview is available here.

Jamsheed Choksy

Here are some highlights from the discussion:

“The new undergraduate major is an exciting opportunity. It is an opportunity for undergraduates to not just be exposed to Central Asia but to gain comprehension of the cultures and competence in the languages of the area.  So this is a dual approach they can take so when they leave IU, they don’t only have to be focusing on graduate school. There are NGOs, government institutions, international corporations and institutions that would be looking for them in terms of employment.”

“Why IU? Why Indiana University and the Central Eurasian Studies Department? Well, IU is known around the world for providing its students with a thorough grounding in the languages and the cultures of this region.  The Central Eurasian Studies Department started in 1943 to provide instruction to individuals and the U.S. government dealing with this region of the world.  It has then evolved into a department, one that is internationally known. So if you come here, you are assured that you will access to studying languages that you are unable to study anywhere else in the world except in those native countries.

In addition, we supplement, complement, and build our language skills by making sure that all our students are exposed to faculty who have lived, traveled, and studied those regions. So there’s no place you can go anywhere in the world where you can learn more about those countries than here. So I always suggest to get your IU education in Central Eurasian Studies and then tie that in with study abroad and go spend time in one of those countries. But do so after you’re familiar with the cultures and the languages.”

“Essentially, with the CEUS undergraduate major, one immediately has access to employment with NGOs that are very active in these countries, with U.N. organizations, with U.S. governmental organizations. You can work in the banking sector, because branches are increasing in these countries. You can work with development firms. The career opportunities are boundless; they are only limited by your imagination and what you want to do.  So the major will provide you with a nice, solid footing for your future career.  

Undergraduates can register beginning in May, and we can award the first majors for August graduation. We expect that starting in the fall, as freshman come in, we can reach out to them. Working with the Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center, we will be able to draw in students and convince them that this is indeed a very valuable and unique opportunity. One that will help them, not just professionally, but in terms of their overall openness to engaging with the world. Because we cover everywhere from Finland to Mongolia. You can study Turkey, Estonia, Hungary. You can do Iran, Afghanistan, the Central Asian Republics, Tibet. We cover so many hot spots of the world, places that are not just in the news now but will be in the news 20, 30, 40 years from now.  Those places are important economically, strategically, and culturally.  If you want to learn about them and you want to be prepared to deal with the world that is coming, get a major in CEUS.”