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Dawisha named Havighurst chair

Karen Lea Dawisha, one of the top experts on post-Communist Russia and the former Soviet states, has been named to Miami’s new Walter Havighurst Professorship in Russian and Post-Soviet Politics.

Dawisha, currently a professor in the department of government and politics at the University of Maryland, College Park, will join the political science department at the beginning of the 2000-2001 academic year.

"We think she’s simply the best in the country," said Susan Kay, chair of political science. "This appointment has the potential to make Miami University known internationally as one of the major places for the study of things post-Communist."

Dawisha has held a Council on Foreign Relations Fellowship at the State Department, been a visiting professor at Princeton and the University of British Columbia, a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution.

She has been the recipient of grants from numerous groups, including $500,000 from the Ford Foundation. Her scholarship includes authoring nine books or reports, editing 19 books and contributing to 28 others. She has published six books with Cambridge University Press alone.

Major professional activities include serving on the executive committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, as a member of International Research and Exchanges Selection Committee (Miami has three students from Russia studying here under this program) and co-directing the multiyear Russian Littoral Project.

She also co-directs the Democratization and the Political Participation in Post-Communist States Project, which is providing a framework for the analysis of the transition to democracy of the 27 nations that were formerly communist.

She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Lancaster, England, and a doctorate from the London School of Economics.

The Havighurst professorship is funded by a gift from Walter Havighurst, a longtime English professor who died in 1994. The gift will also provide funds for the creation of several post-doctoral fellowships for post-Soviet study and other scholarly initiatives, including conferences and faculty and student exchanges.

Kay said she and others involved in the search were particularly impressed by the sense of responsibility expressed by Dawisha to Professor Havighurst and the legacy he envisioned.

"A gift like the Havighurst gift is such a rarity that Dawisha feels an obligation to the profession of post-Communist scholarship and to higher education to make sure it is leveraged to accomplish the most good," said Kay.

Miami is clearly committed to using the Havighurst gift to improve the quality of intellectual life for its students and to build an internationally visible program, said Dawisha. "I’m looking forward to working with the excellent faculty and staff already at Miami to build something we all can be proud of," she said.

Date Published: 11/18/1999
Volume: 19   Number: 17


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