The ACLS Humanities Program in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine (HP BRU) was established in academic year 1998-99 with funding from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The principal activity was distribution of grants to individuals in these three countries to support humanities scholars doing exemplary work in the former Soviet Union during a time of crisis. ACLS worked closely with scholars in the region who represent a variety of disciplines: they advised on program design and helped distribute publicity and review applications. The review process included prescreening by scholars in the United States. Final decisions on awards were made by the Selection Committee.

The program’s mission was to ensure continued leadership in the humanities in the former Soviet Union through direct support to individuals doing exemplary work. In the 12 years of the program, 743 awards were made for project grants and publication in humanities fields.

The Humanities Program in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine also organized a dozen annual meetings in the region, modeled on the annual meetings of ACLS Member Societies. The location of regional meetings was moved across international borders and institutions to reach as many academic communities as possible.

International Association for the Humanities

In 2007, the Carnegie Corporation and ACLS helped advisers to the ACLS Humanities Program in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine found the International Association for the Humanities (IAH) as an independent organization of humanities scholars primarily in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine to act as a bridge between the post-Soviet region and the worldwide scholarly community. 

IAH’s mission, membership, and program brings new representation from the post-Soviet region to the international scholar community through the sharing of scholarship, the exchange of information about opportunities as well as difficulties in regional humanities, and by direct interactions among different scholarly communities. In 2010-11 and 2011-12, IAH conducted competitions for short-term grants on the model of the ACLS Humanities Program. The working languages of IAH are Belarusian, English, Russian, and Ukrainian. 

Current ACLS Work in Eastern Europe

Summer Institute for the Study of East Central and Southeastern Europe

ACLS has partnered with the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia (CAS) to create the Summer Institute for the Study of East Central and Southeastern Europe (SISECSE) to enable scholars to undertake research, writing, and local fieldwork in Bulgaria and engage in interdisciplinary discussions. In 2023, 2024, and 2025, ACLS and CAS will convene leading scholars from Eastern Europe and North America for a two-week residency, hosted by the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG), in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria.

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