Taking the Initiative

Tar Heel hat in front of St. Basil's Cathedral.

The Russian Flagship Program at Carolina recently completed a successful first year.

Launched in April 2020, the federally funded language initiative is the first of its kind in North Carolina and one of only eight Russian Flagship Programs in the United States. The program seeks to answer a critical U.S. national security need for university-educated U.S. citizens with advanced linguistic skills and an in-depth cultural understanding of Russia and Russian-speaking countries.

The Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures (GSLL) and the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies (CSEES) were awarded $1.2 million in April 2020 from the Defense Language and National Security Education Office’s (DLNSEO) The Language Flagship program, funded by the U.S Department of Defense, to launch the new Flagship at Carolina.

In just the first year of operations, the program has exceeded enrollment expectations, having almost 40 program participants, as opposed to the original plan of only accepting around 20 students. Multiple students in the UNC Russian Flagship Program have also received national recognition for their accomplishments.

“The standout success of Carolina’s Russian Flagship Program — even in its first year — comes as no surprise to me,” said Barbara Stephenson, vice provost for global affairs at UNC-Chapel Hill. “I look forward to continued close collaboration with CSEEES and the Russian Flagship Program as we bring foreign affairs practitioners to Carolina to round out the superb language instruction — and prepare our graduates to excel in careers in diplomacy and related national security fields.”

To learn more about the program and its students’ accomplishments, read the complete Carolina Story…

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