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WRITER: MARTIN TIEDEMAN
CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
International Programs
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-2026
e-mail: lois-gray@uiowa.edu

Release: Feb. 4, 2000

Michaels to discuss past, future of Kazakhstan Feb. 10

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Paula Michaels, an assistant professor of history at the University of Iowa, will speak to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council about "Interethnic Relations in Kazakhstan: History and Contemporary Implications," Thursday, Feb. 10 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Rockwell Fellowship Hall of the Congregational Church, 30 N. Clinton St., Iowa City. The presentation is open to the public.

Freed from Russian domination with the USSR's demise in 1991, Kazakhstan is struggling to come of age as a nation-state in the midst of an economic crisis and of the promise of vast wealth in the near future. Given that Russians account for 37 percent of the country's population and Kazakhs constitute a slim plurality at 40 percent, the country struggles to walk the fine line between blossoming Kazakh national pride and minority rights for the once-dominant Russians. Michaels' talk will attempt to shed light on the historical roots of these tensions and their implications for Kazakhstan's future political and economic development.

Michaels is writing a book on the history of medicine in Soviet Kazakhstan, which she is completing with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded in fall 1999. Since 1986, she has traveled numerous times to the USSR and its successor states, living in Moscow and Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan.

An expert on the history of the USSR and Central Asia, Michaels completed her undergraduate coursework in history and Russian and East European studies at Northwestern University in 1987. After working with Soviet refugees in New York City for two years, she entered the graduate program in Russian and Soviet history at the University of North Carolina, where she received her Ph.D. in 1997.

The deadline to register for the luncheon is noon Tuesday, Feb. 8. New Pioneer Co-Op will cater the meal, and the cost is $5 for members and $6 for non-members. Checks may be written to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council and mailed to ICFRC, 120 International Center, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1802. For more information, call ICFRC Executive Director Tom Baldridge at 335-0351. They are unable to take reservations by phone but last minute adjustments may be made.

For those unable to attend, WSUI-AM (910) will carry this program Friday, Feb. 11, following the noon news. Michaels' presentation is co-sponsored by UI International Programs and the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREEES), with additional support from Iowa Book and Supply and Barbara Haring State Farm Insurance.

The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council is a non—profit association of community and university people interested in learning more about U.S. foreign policy, world affairs and current global issues impacting world societies. The group provides members with the opportunity to hear more than 35 experts per year who visit the University of Iowa campus and the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area.

Meetings are scheduled from September to June to take advantage of these speakers and are held at noon or in the evening in order to allow as wide a participation as possible from the business community, other professionals, the community at large and students, faculty and staff from the university.

ICFRC is part of UI International Programs, which consist of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.