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May 24, 2004

Slovakia and U-M collaborate for scholars and projects

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Ronald Weiser and his wife have provided a gift of $250,000 to the University of Michigan's Center for Russian and East European Studies to support scholarly exchanges between U-M and Slovakia.

An Ann Arbor native and businessman, Ronald Weiser, and his wife, Eileen, have worked to strengthen the educational connection to Slovakia, which became an independent democracy in 1993 and was one of 10 recent new members of the European Union.

"We hope these awards will provide an opportunity for the U-M to build a bridge to universities, NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), the government and the people of Slovakia,'' he said. "Slovakia is a strong friend and ally of the United States, which makes a relationship that will increase mutual understanding even more important. The recipients of the awards will be provided an opportunity to better understand Slovakia and Slovaks, who as immigrants played an important role in the economic and cultural development of America."

The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Slovakia-University of Michigan Collaboration will have two main purposes:

• The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Awards for Student Research and Internships in Slovakia will support U-M student travel awards for summer or semester-long research projects or internships at institutions, businesses and other organizations in the Slovak Republic. Assistance will be made available for allocation to U-M students in any field of study.

The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Professional Development Awards will support short-term travel awards designed to stimulate sustained collaboration in research and teaching. Support will be provided to U-M and Slovak scholars and artists who wish to explore projects in any field of research or teaching at the University of Michigan.

Ambassador Weiser is a graduate of the U-M Business School and founder and former CEO of real estate investment company McKinley Associates. He has also been active in the United Negro College Fund of Washtenaw County, The U-M Business School's National Development Board and the U-M President's Advisory Board.

"Both American and Slovak scholars will benefit from this professional development program,'' said Barbara Anderson, director of the U-M Center for Russian and East European Studies. "For American scholars, there is no better way to develop a deep understanding of a culture and how scholars in that country think than to work collaboratively on a project. For Slovak scholars and artists, this program provides research and other professional development opportunities that they would not have otherwise."

For more information about the Ronald and Eileen Weiser Slovakia-University of Michigan Collaboration, please contact the International Institute or visit http://www.umich.edu/~iinet/crees.

Contact: Joe Serwach
Phone:(734) 647-1844
E-mail: jserwach@umich.edu