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Looking Back on 2012: IAUNRC Takes Stock of the Semester
May is upon us: another academic year comes has come to an end at Indiana University. At the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, too, another successful semester and year has now been completed. Leading up to its coming fiftieth anniversary (2012-2013), the IAUNRC has been hard at work in the past months improving its resource offerings, revamping its outreach efforts, and staying on the cutting edge of Eurasian cultural events on the IU campus and elsewhere.
In January, the IAUNRC welcomed Dr. Pahli Sahlberg, a leading Finnish education expert, to give a talk on the ways that the American educational system – as well as others – can learn from recent Finnish successes. His lecture “Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn Educational Change in Finland?” was well attended and proved a point of discussion for weeks following. Later, in March, IU was lucky enough to host the Hungarian Ambassador to the United States, György Szapáry, who not only gave a commemoration speech on the anniversary of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution, but also shared his thoughts on the current financial crisis in Europe with a distinguished audience the day before. A professional economist, Ambassador Szapáry was able to lay out in plain language the causes and results of the crisis, as well as possible ways out of Europe’s current economic malaise.
Throughout the semester, the IAUNRC sponsored an ongoing series of Colloquia that offered nearly weekly lectures on topics of interest from across the Eurasian region. Including lectures on Buryat language development, Uyghur cultural modes, daily life in modern Turkmenistan, and much more, these Colloquia provided an opportunity for IU graduate students, professors, and invited scholars to share their expertise and research with audiences drawn from across IU’s students and faculty. Many of these Colloquia lectures have been recorded, uploaded and are now available on the IAUNRC’s website in podcast form. One of the Colloquia’s presenters, Professor Paul Werth of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, was also kind enough to provide the IAUNRC with an extended interview following his Colloquia lecture.
The IAUNRC has additionally continued its long-standing history of supporting scholars visiting the Indiana University campus from countries throughout the Eurasian Region. This semester, the IAUNRC has worked with Bakhytnur Otarbayeva, Zulfiya Imarova, and Ashirbek Muminov from Kazakhstan, Ramila Mukairshoeva from Tajikistan, and Enkhtsetseg Sosorbaram and Delgerjaral Purevsuren from Mongolia.
While continuing to conduct its award-winning videoconference programs with K-12 schools around the country, the IAUNRC has also significantly expanded its in-classroom presence throughout southern Indiana. Working with both local festivals, such as the Lotus Blossoms World Bazaar in Bloomington, as well as more directly with local schools and libraries, the IAUNRC’s outreach team has striven to bring Eurasian culture, stories, and even cuisine to students in many different classroom settings. Realizing, too, the many more teachers who may wish to bring Eurasia into their teaching, the IAUNRC has worked to develop and freely distribute up-to-date and standards-fulfilling curriculum for K-12 learning on a variety of subjects.
While gearing up for another busy summer – Indiana University’s acclaimed SWSEEL language program, with which the IAUNRC has been intimately involved since its founding, looks set this year to once again break attendance records – the IAUNRC is also looking forward to building upon its successes this year in the academic year to come. As in all years, much of the IAUNRC’s recent achievements have been dependent upon the students, educators, lecturers, and others with whom the Center has worked. Many thanks to them – and in advance to any and all who may prove collaborators in the semesters and years to come!
Past summaries of the IAUNRC’s activities can be found collated in its newsletter archive, as well as in the Fall 2011 IAUNRC e-Newsletter. For more information about the IAUNRC, or to correspond about possible collaborative efforts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.