The International Institute (II) at the University of Michigan has named Russian investigative journalist and scholar Yevgenia Albats as its inaugural International Institute Distinguished Faculty Fellow for 2019-2020. The new position was created by II Director Pauline Jones to demonstrate how a strong area studies background can translate across disciplines and expand career choices following graduation. The inaugural II Fellow role will be a partnership with the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES), an affiliate of the II’s Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia. Jones hopes to see future faculty fellows rotate throughout the 17 centers and programs within the International Institute, representing a different world region each year.

Jones recognized the need for a scholar and practitioner who not only embodied the three pillars of the II mission—education, engagement, and innovation—but also demonstrated where an interdisciplinary education and an interest in international engagement can take you. “I wanted the person in this position to be an example and a resource for not only our students, but also this campus,” Jones says. “Someone who could illustrate by example how much one can accomplish when area studies knowledge is combined with an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the world—and Yevgenia immediately came to mind.”

Yevgenia Albats is a Russian investigative journalist, political scientist, author, and radio host. She was the first Soviet journalist to investigate the KGB during the Soviet era, and is the editor-in-chief and CEO of The New Times, a Moscow-based, Russian language independent political weekly. Since 2004, she has hosted the radio talk show Absolute Albats on the only liberal radio station in Russia, Ekho Moskvy.

 “Yevgenia best embodies the interdisciplinary, global experiences we want our students to have,” Jones explains, “bringing a strong foundation in area studies and scholarship, as well as an interdisciplinary practice of political science and journalism—plus her own life experiences.”

The author of several books including Bureaucracy: Struggle for Survival; The Jewish Question; and The State Within A State: KGB and Its Hold on Russia-Past, Present, and Future, Dr. Albats has been a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists since its founding in 1996. She earned her B.A. from Moscow University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. She taught at Yale University and Moscow Higher School of Economics, and was a columnist for The Washington Post, Moscow Times, and IZVESTIA.

As part of her year-long residence, she will teach a graduate course in the fall and an undergraduate course in the winter. A lecture, “The Russian Media: 30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall,” is also scheduled for January 27, 2020 as part of the CREES 60th Anniversary celebration.

Jones looks forward to seeing Dr. Albats at work in the classroom. “She’s an excellent teacher who truly enjoys engaging with students.” Jones adds, “And she’s from Moscow, so the Michigan winters won’t be a problem.”