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University of Cambridge Russian Studies Alumni Day 2018

University of Cambridge Russian Studies Alumni Day

Dear Cambridge Russian Studies Alumni,

On behalf of the entire Slavonic Studies Section at the University of Cambridge, I thank you for your interest in attending the Russian Studies Alumni Day on Sunday, 23 September 2018 at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. 

Thanks to the support and partnership of alumni like you, our Section continues to grow and thrive. Over the past four years alone, we have seen a 40% increase in the number of applications to study the Russian language at the University of Cambridge. We have seen a 25% increase in our student enrolment, which defies nationwide trends. We have added a new permanent programme in Polish Studies to accompany our groundbreaking Ukrainian Studies centre; we have secured our scholarly expertise in Medieval Studies over the long term as well. We are home to one of the most dynamic series of public lectures, exhibitions, and festivals dedicated to Russian and Slavonic Studies in Great Britain. For these reasons and more, the University of Cambridge continues to rank at the top of the UK University Subject Tables for Russian and East European Studies compiled by The Complete University Guide.

Slavonic Studies Finalists 2018

This leadership comes at a critical juncture in the history of British-Russian relations and the geopolitics of East-Central Europe and Eurasia more generally. Preparing a new generation of leaders in diplomacy, journalism, business, and the arts with a deep knowledge of Russia, Poland and Ukraine -- grounded above all in linguistic and cultural knowledge and expertise -- is a responsibility that we embrace, especially now. 

Nonetheless, we encounter our share of challenges. More and more of our students study Russian ab initio, putting great pressure on our extraordinary teaching staff to help our students achieve a mastery in the language in an intensive four-year Tripos. As you well know, studying Slavonic languages -- and planning, say, the Year Abroad in Russia -- can entail a much greater expenditure of time, effort and financial resource than alternatives. To help bridge the gap and empower our community further, we are working to foster more exchange among our students and alumni over the years to come.

It is with this mind that we warmly invite you our special Alumni Day on Sunday, 23 September 2018. In addition to Ukrainian and Polish taster sessions, the event will feature a special Russian language refresher lesson with Natasha Franklin, who is retiring in September. This Alumni Day is a celebration of her many achievements over three decades at Cambridge. Reconnect with old friends and make new ones at lunch and a drinks reception, where you can mix with lecturers and current students. The event will also include a panel with two of your fellow alumni: Daniel Beer, author of House of the Dead: Siberian Exile under the Tsars (2017), and Emma Widdis, author of Socialist Senses: Film, Feeling, and the Soviet Subject, 1917–1940 (2017).

I hope to see you in September.

With best wishes,

Dr Rory Finnin

Head of the Slavonic Studies Section
University of Cambridge


The task of strengthening the exchange between alumni, students and staff in Russian and Slavonic Studies starts now. It is as easy as these three steps:

1. Register to attend the 2018 Russian Studies Alumni Day in celebration of the career of Natasha Franklin here.

2. Consider contributing to the Russian Studies Fund and supporting our students and staff with a donation here.

3. Volunteer to provide career advice and/or internship opportunities for our talented undergraduates here.

Thank you for your support!