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Word from the Director

As many of our readers will know, the nation’s Title VI Centers were recently the target of sharp cuts. The long-standing congressional mandates supporting international area studies took a notable hit in the last Federal budget, as did federal funding as a whole for language and cultural studies as critical national projects. Each Title VI Center across the country saw its budget for the current fiscal year cut by nearly fifty percent, a severe blow that demanded a fundamental reassessment of short and long-term plans. Were it not for emergency–if temporary–“back filling” by Indiana University, the IAUNRC itself would have had to cut all non-language related activities.  We might even have had to begin nibbling around the edges of our language training, the heart of the center’s focus since its founding. Even with the University’s generosity, unfortunately, the full effects of these cuts will hit us beginning next July, unless Congress reinstates its previous funding levels or we are able to find other sources of revenue.

That is the bad news. The good news is that we have been able to continue with many of the activities that we had planned for the 2011-2012 academic year —not least our award-winning K-12 video conferencing and outreach efforts.  We have also managed to maintain support with our IU partners for the Volga-Kama Initiative (VKI).  Officially begun just a year ago and recently furthered during an October trip to Kazan during which I was able to lock down the signing of agreements of cooperation between IU and two regional institutions: Kazan Federal University and the Marjani Institute of History at the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences. Faculty and graduate student exchanges between the partner institutions and Indiana University will continue in the current academic year, with a joint conference scheduled in Kazan for May or early June 2012. Additional information about this initiative—a silver lining in an otherwise cloudy sky—can also be found in an article in this edition of the IAUNRC e-Newsletter.