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Anne Collins Goodyear, president of CAA’s Board of Directors, and Linda Downs, the organization’s executive director, signed the following letter. You may wish to view a list of programs that have been eliminated by the government that have been supported by Title VIII: http://aseees.org/new/title8-alert.php.

Letter Urging Secretary John Kerry to Restore Funding for Title VIII

December 11, 2013
The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

The undersigned individuals and organizations share with the Department of State the fundamental goal of creating a peaceful, secure, and prosperous global future. To achieve such an end in an increasingly complex world, the U.S. needs accurate analyses by well-trained specialists both in and outside the government.

For the region of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, the Department of State has for thirty years trained future leaders and scholars through the Research and Training for Eastern Europe and the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union Act (PL 90-164, Title VIII). Title VIII has played a significant part in the education of many prominent American policymakers and specialists in the region, including former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice, and US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. We are writing to you today to urge you to restore funding for the Title VIII program and to include funding for the Title VIII program as part of your fiscal year 2015 budget request.

Title VIII programs in fiscal year 2012 were administered by the Bureau of Intelligence and Research and supported by the Department of State at a level of $3.5 million. Despite its low cost, Title VIII is a program that continues to have a significant impact on the analytic and diplomatic capacities of the Department of State and on the research base in the academic sector.

At stake are programs that support policy-relevant research, advanced language training, and a specialized information clearing house and reference service related to countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus, Russia and Eastern Europe. A remarkably high percentage of US university faculty who teach about Eastern Europe and Eurasia, State Department specialists on the region, and think tank analysts who advise policymakers have conducted their field work and research and obtained advanced language proficiency thanks to programs funded by Title VIII.

Although the Department of State solicited applications for a fiscal year 2013 Title VIII program, the Department in September announced the cancellation of the program for fiscal year 2013 because it did not receive appropriations. We believe the discontinuation of this program is short-sighted and not in the national and public interest. We urge you to use existing authority to continue to fund this program under the administration of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at least at the current funding level of $3.5 million for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. We also ask that you include at least that level of funding within the fiscal year 2015 budget request for the Title VIII program.

Title VIII is a small but impactful program that has directly supported several generations of policymakers, diplomats and scholars and indirectly supported their thousands of students and the people who depend on their analyses to make the right business, humanitarian, and foreign policy decisions about a crucial region of the world.

We respectfully draw your attention to this issue and strongly urge that the Department of State immediately take steps to restore funding for the Title VIII program.

Sincerely,

Diane P. Koenker
President, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Professor of History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Stephen E. Hanson
Vice President, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Vice Provost for International Affairs, College of William and Mary

Lynda Park
Executive Director, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Ambassador John Beyrle (Ret.)
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and Bulgaria

Ambassador James F. Collins (Ret.)
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia

Ambassador Jack Matlock (Ret.)
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union

Ambassador Richard Miles (Ret.)
Former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, and Georgia

Ambassador Thomas W. Simons, Jr. (Ret.)
Former U.S. Ambassador to Poland

Mary Thompson-Jones
Senior Foreign Service Officer (Ret.)

Michael M. Crow
President, Arizona State University

Robert A. Easter
President, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Michael McCarry
Executive Director, Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange

John R. Fitzmier
Executive Director, American Academy of Religion

Edward Liebow
Executive Director, American Anthropological Association

Thomas Seifrid
President, American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages

Vitaly Chernetsky
President, American Association for Ukrainian Studies

Alexander J. Beecroft
Secretary-Treasurer, American Comparative Literature Association

Pauline Yu
President, American Council of Learned Societies

Dan Davidson
President, American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS

James Grossman
Executive Director, American Historical Association

Jonathan Rodgers
Secretary-Treasurer, American Oriental Society

Steven Rathgeb Smith
Executive Director, American Political Science Association

Douglas Richardson
Executive Director, Association for American Geographers

Cynthia Werner
President, Central Eurasian Studies Society

Anne Collins Goodyear
President, College Art Association

Linda Downs
Executive Director, College Art Association

David A. Berry
Executive Director, Community College Humanities Association

Melissa Feinberg
President, Czechoslovak Studies Association

Emese Ivan
President, Hungarian Studies Association

Ambassador W. Robert Pearson (Ret.)
President, IREX

William P. Rivers
Executive Director, Joint National Committee for Language-National Council on Language and International Studies; Chair, ASTM F43 Committee on Language Services and Products

Amy W. Newhall
Executive Director, Middle East Studies Association

David P. Patton
President, National Council for Eurasian and East European Research

Stephen Kidd
Executive Director, National Humanities Alliance

Ira Katznelson
President, Social Science Research Council

Pauline Saliga
Executive Director, Society of Architectural Historians

Kevork B. Bardakjian
President, Society for Armenian Studies

James Castonguay
Treasurer, Society for Cinema and Media Studies

Irina Livezeanu
President, Society for Romanian Studies

Olga M. Mladenova
President, South East European Studies Association

Laura Adams
Director of the Program on Central Asia and Caucasus, Harvard University

Stephen K. Batalden
Director, Melikian Center: Russian, Eurasian, & East European Studies, Arizona State University

David Cooper
Director of the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Victor Friedman
Director, Center for East European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, University of Chicago

Robert M. Hayden
Director, Russian & East European Studies, University of Pittsburgh

Yoshiko M. Herrera
Director, Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia, and Co-Director, International Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Gail Kligman
Director, Center for European and Eurasian Studies, UCLA

Terry Martin
Director, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University

Scott Radnitz
Director, Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies, University of Washington

Also Signed are ASEEES Board and Past Presidents

Mark R. Beissinger, Princeton University

Marianna Tax Choldin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Katerina Clark, Yale University

Megan Dixon, College of Idaho

Zsuzsa Gille, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Bruce Grant, New York University

Beth Holmgren, Duke University

Adeeb Khalid, Carleton College

Judith Deutsch Kornblatt, University of Wisconsin

Gail Lapidus, Stanford University

Susan Linz, Michigan State University

Harriet L. Murav, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Mieke Meurs, American University

Norman Naimark, Stanford University

Joan Neuberger, University of Texas at Austin

Janice T. Pilch, Rutgers University Libraries

David L. Ransel, Indiana University

Irina Reyfman, Columbia University

Douglas Rogers, Yale University

William Rosenberg, University of Michigan

Jane Sharp, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Olga Shevchenko, Williams College

Valeria Sobol, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Ronald Suny, University of Michigan

William Taubman, Amherst College

Katherine Verdery, CUNY Graduate Center

Mark L. von Hagen, Arizona State University

Leslie Waters, College of William and Mary

Robert Weinberg, Swarthmore College

cc: Ambassador William Burns, Deputy Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Secretary Daniel Rubinstein, Acting Assistant Secretary for Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) Ambassador Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary for Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs

(EUR/FO)