Saturday, June 13, 2015

New Adventure in Moscow


I started this blog in May 2011, just before my first study abroad experience in Kazakhstan. I was a rising junior in college and just starting to learn Russian. Four years later, it is a thrill to review old posts and reflect on my experiences and how I, as a regional enthusiast and an individual, have grown. I feel quite honored and privileged to have had so many opportunities to conduct research and study in Russia and Kazakhstan -- and I appreciate all of the feedback from readers.

In May, I graduated with my MA from Georgetown and am officially done with school (at least for the immediate future). I am starting a new adventure! I will soon be moving to Moscow as part of the Alfa Fellowship Program. 

The Alfa Fellowship is a 10-month exchange program for young professionals (ages 25-35) interested in Russia. In Moscow, I will continue to work on energy issues, building on my work in DC. 

Recent tensions in U.S.-Russian relations render exchange programs and "people-to-people diplomacy" initiatives invaluable to improving bilateral ties in the future. Now, more than ever, is the time to engage. Through the years, I hope that my blog posts have demonstrated that people are people, regardless of their country of citizenship. It is easy to criticize another country's policies, cultural traditions and norms, or to generate blanket characterizations of their ways of life. However, it is much more difficult to empathize (not sympathize, but empathize) with, and understand, the factors shaping another society, and why other cultures and countries are the way they are. 

That's where this blog (and others) comes in. I hope to continue to write about Russian and Central Asian affairs while in Moscow, as long as it is safe for me to do so. 

As always, I am fully responsible for all opinions and material posted on this blog.

Thanks readers. Until next time!