My Commitments to Education as a Public Good and a Human Right
Everyday I serve a diverse globally-engaged public in my role as Director of Fulbright Ukraine and IIE: Institute of International Institute, Kyiv. For a recent article about the history of IIE since 1919 in light of current events in Ukraine and elsewhere around the globe, see here. This year the escalation of atrocities of Russia's ongoing war on Ukraine (which started in 2014) has impacted many universities and displaced over 10 million people throughout the country and abroad.
At IIE and Fulbright we have raised funds to support students, scholars, and artists impacted by the war. We also have a large project that we started in 2018 that supports 12 universities first displaced from the occupied territories of Luhansk, Donetsk, and Crimea. We are now expanding our support to a wider network of impacted universities.
I am also active in foundations and organizations both in and outside of academia where I work to contribute my expertise, and connect and strengthen ties to assist in the development of research, freedom of expression, digital infrastructure, quality of information, democratic dialogue, and more.
I am currently based in Warszawa, but am working in Ukraine and also in Ukraine-Polish contexts. I am on the Advisory Board of the EWL Fundacja (East West Link Foundation), which serves both to bridge universities with skills training, but also is one of the major organizations that is working directly to respond materially, assist in integration longer-term, and advise government and others on the 4 million+ Ukrainian refugees in Poland.
AT IIE I am now busy working with teams to launch two new programs in Fall 2022 for Ukraine.
Bridging expertise across disciplines within the academy, and with practitioners from outside institutions, remains ever more critical for developing dialogue in preparing younger generations to discuss today's global challenges to the understanding of culture, society, and history. As a researcher and educator interested in visual media, political theory, and gender studies, I often find myself working across professional contexts. My work has brought me into conversation with scholars, researchers, students, artists, and community activists from the U.S. and East Central Europe, Ukraine, and Russia whose diverse interests often intersect in socially and politically meaningful ways. I regularly participate in projects and lectures for more general public audiences, in addition to specialized academic communities. I have organized and participated in events at institutions including N.Y.U., Harvard, U-Toronto, U-Michigan, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, and the Lviv Center for Urban History, among others. For example, a conference I organized at University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs at the beginning of the war in Ukraine in 2016: Critical Contexts of the Ukraine Conflict: Uncommon Perspectives.
I have always aimed to pursue and education that is rooted in public service; this has given me an appreciation and interest for the diverse cultures I communicate across daily in my professional activities. For example, earlier, in 2010, I was selected by the U.S. Department of State for a competitive position to serve as a Delegate to the Transatlantic Young Leaders Conference in Prague, Czech Republic Nov. 6-12. I served on the delegation dedicated to cultural and religious tolerance and diversity, along with other U.S. representatives from the academic, NGO, and government sectors. We continued to pursue dialogue in these areas alongside our peers from throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
Mentorship is a cornerstone to sustaining education and creative communities. I regularly advise professional colleagues in different sectors, as well as graduates and undergraduates interested in pursuing international opportunities. I have designed and delivered workshops on digital media, and research methodologies, and also for one year served as a Training Specialist and consultant in U.S. Department of Homeland Security cyber-infrastructure.
I also serve as an elected representative in different capacities inside and outside of academia and in public service. I am an elected Member of the Board of the U.S. Association of Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS). I am an Advisory Board of H-Net: Ukraine at the digital U.S.-based academic network H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online. I am also a member of the American Association of Ukrainian Studies, ASEES, HASTAC for digital humanities, and others.
I've served on the University of Michigan CREES Executive Council; and at the Rackham Graduate School. I regularly serve as a peer-reviewer for academic journals in area studies, gender studies, visual culture, and other fields. I am co-founding editor of the Forum on Race & Postcolonialism at Krytyka: Journal for Ukrainian Politics and Society, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. I am also an Associate Member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society (NTSh-A) in New York, NY.
Along with the above, I am also an active member of: