The Black Sea has linked the cultures and economies of Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East for millennia. Today, the Black Sea region is the site of political and ecologic crises with global repercussions. But the region’s countries, with their diverse languages, religions, cultures, and political systems, are too often viewed in isolation, without a clear understanding of their profound interconnections. To successfully meet global challenges, we must learn to work with religious, cultural, and linguistic diversity, and understand the complex local contexts in which ordinary people lead their lives.
Black Sea Networks is an international teaching and learning initiative at Columbia University that connects regions, disciplines, and institutions, creating educational and research programs that target the diversity of cultural practices in a highly strategic zone. Building upon existing initiatives, including the Columbia-Boğaziçi Summer Program in Balkan Transcultural Studies, which was developed in partnership with Global Centers | Turkey, Black Sea Networks reconceptualizes existing programs within a larger Black Sea framework. Based in Columbia’s Slavic Department, the initiative will foster new bonds among Slavic, Hellenic, Classical, Comparative Literature, Middle Eastern, and East Asian Studies, as well as History, Political Science, Art History, Music, and Anthropology, creating opportunities to establish innovative interdisciplinary programs, such as Black Sea Studies and Environmental Science, or Black Sea Studies and Economics.”
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