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Six from Eastern Europe selected for new fellowship program

STANFORD -- Six students from formerly communist Eastern European countries have been selected as the inaugural group of New Democracy Fellows at Stanford University.

The fellowships, developed at the initiative of Stanford Provost Condoleezza Rice, provide for at least one year of advanced study in the social sciences, to help the students contribute to the revitalization of the social sciences in the countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Rice, a political science professor, served as special assistant to the president for national security affairs from 1989 to 1991, concurrent with her appointment as senior director for Soviet affairs for the National Security Council.

History Professor Emeritus Alexander Dallin, a senior fellow at the Institute for International Studies and director of the new program, said the academic departments targeted for the fellowships were anthropology, history, political science, sociology and psychology.

These fields were chosen, he said, because they "were most neglected or distorted under communism, and they are also the ones which other programs have not tried to rescue or restore."

The Institute for International Studies administers the new program.

More than 150 applications were received from students from a range of countries, including Croatia, Macedonia, Mongolia and Turkmenistan. A faculty committee assessed the students' academic background and emphasized their motivation to return to their home countries to hold academic, research or public service positions in which they could make use of their graduate training. Interviews of students were held in Budapest, Moscow and Tbilisi in January.

"We are delighted that six students were accepted into graduate departments," Dallin said. "We hope that this will be the start of an important initiative to train future leaders in their respective fields."

The first group of New Democracy Fellows, who will begin their studies this fall, are Rozita Dimova (anthropology) from Macedonia; Barnabas Gero (sociology) from Hungary; Andrey Kounov (political science) from Kazakhstan; Nikolay Marinov (political science) from Bulgaria; Sergei Safonov (political science) from Russia; and Alexei Sitnikov (political science) from Russia.

Gifts from Donald Kendall and the E.L. Wiegand Foundation of Reno, Nev., provided start-up funds for the new program. The Central European University in Budapest also will provide support for graduates from that university admitted to Stanford under this program.

The fellowships will cover tuition, living expenses and transportation to and from each student's home country. Students will be awarded one-year fellowships initially; successful completion of the first year will lead to additional support if they are admitted to a doctoral program.



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