ASU professor awarded Title VIII grant for Critical Language Institute

October 27, 2020

Keith Brown, director of the Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies and professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies, was recently awarded Title VIII support from the Department of State to increase national capacity through enhanced graduate language training in advanced Russian and in languages of Eastern Europe and the independent states of the former Soviet Union. 

The award supports Arizona State University's commitment to the value of regional expertise in U.S. global engagement and foreign policy-making. ASU Critical Languages Institute, photo of Moscow, Russia Moscow, Russia. Submitted to the School of Politics and Global Studies annual photo contest in 2014 by Cristina Garcia. Download Full Image

The award supports the operations of the Critical Languages Institute, which every summer since 1991 has provided high-quality, intensive, proficiency-based language training programs in Arizona and abroad. The majority of the funding provides scholarship support for language study at ASU, to qualified U.S. students admitted or enrolled in graduate programs from across the U.S.

At the institute, students take eight foreign language credits in seven or eight weeks, with four hours of class time each weekday. In addition, Title VIII fellows take a one-credit online class titled Post-Soviet Geopolitics, specifically designed to engage students in issues of relevance to U.S. policy interests in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, putting their language study in comparative context.

In 2021, ASU will welcome its eighth cohort of Title VIII fellows, with scholarships offered in advanced Russian, and in Albanian, Armenian, BCS, Kazakh, Polish, Ukrainian, Uzbek and Macedonian. The 2021 program will also include a professional writing workshop for former Title VIII fellows since 2011, designed to help them put scholarly knowledge to work in the world.

"Title VIII funding represents the U.S. State Department's enduring commitment to fostering regional expertise, and their recognition of ASU's long-term investment in high-quality instruction in less-commonly taught languages," Brown said. "The award connects us with creative and talented young scholars across the country, whose cross-cultural fluency will constitute a vital resource in building international understanding across a strategically significant region."

Matt Oxford

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Politics and Global Studies


Former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl teaching new ASU course in the spring 2021

October 27, 2020

Former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl will co-teach an undergraduate course at Arizona State University this spring on American civic and public affairs with the hope of demonstrating how good government can function despite an increasingly polarized political climate.

The course, CEL 394: Debates in American Civic and Public Affairs, is being offered by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and is being led by Professor Sean Beienburg. Kyl will participate in lectures and discussions regularly throughout the semester, offering his insight based on his more than 25 years as a state representative and U.S. senator.  Former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl Former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl. Download Full Image

“We hope to show students who are frustrated with the way their federal government operates these days that the existing structures, including the Constitution and the traditions and precedents that have allowed it to function, provide all that is needed to enable debate, negotiation, protection of minority rights and compromise necessary for good government in the United States,” Kyl said.  

Students who participate in the course will receive an introduction to key American debates in American politics, focusing specifically on how our institutions and political ideas have developed and how they connect to current events. Students will read famous works in American political thought including the Federalist Papers, "Democracy in America" by Alexis de Tocqueville, original documents in American history, modern works in political science, and more. 

Cameron Decker, a second-year student double-majoring in global agribusiness and civic and economic thought and leadership, signed up for the course after a recommendation from a faculty member. 

“I am interested in hearing about Sen. Kyl’s philosophy on compromise,” Decker said. “Being that we are so divided in the public sphere, Sen. Kyl must certainly have experience in compromise. I am interested to see if his experience in compromising on positions ever made him compromise his principles and if so, was it worth it?” 

"Sen. Kyl is that rare figure who is both an expert in contemporary public policy as well as the deeper issues underlying American constitutionalism and history,” Beienburg said.  “I am thrilled to be able to learn from him and get as much out of the class as the students will."

Manager, Marketing and Communications, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership