As the twentieth century comes to an end and a new millennium begins, it seems difficult to exaggerate the role played by Russia and the USSR in the past, present and future. Soviet Russia rightly claimed to be the world's first socialist country. For almost fifty years after victory in World War II, the USSR also dominated world affairs as the other superpower.
Even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in l99l, Russia remains the dominant player in the international politics of the vast Eurasian continent. Russians have also given the world some of the greatest works of literature, art, and music. From epic novels such as War and Peace and Dr. Zhivago to the Nutcracker Suite and the revolutionary canvases of Kandinsky and Chagall, Russian cultural achievements have become world treasures.
Today, Russian Studies offers an unprecedented wealth of career opportunities, at this time. Relations between the Russian and American governments, businesses, professions, non-governmental organizations, and educational and cultural institutions are developing rapidly, and demand for people with language skills and knowledge of the area is increasing.
Creation of the Russian Area Studies Concentration
With these considerations in mind, the College of Arts and Sciences at Villanova introduced the Russian Area Studies Concentration in l996:
- to provide undergraduates with a structured, multi-disciplinary understanding of this complex region of the world and Russia's relations with other countries in the area;
- to train undergraduates who wish to pursue a professional career in Russian studies in government academia, or business;
- to foster greater knowledge of the Russian area by preparing our students for study there and by encouraging people from Russia to visit here;
- and to serve the University community and the larger community outside it by enhancing knowledge and understanding of the Russian area through conferences, lectures, cultural events.