A great man is one who collects knowledge the way a bee collects honey and uses it to help people overcome the difficulties they endure - hunger, ignorance and disease!
- Nikola Tesla

Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
- Franklin Roosevelt

While their territory has been devastated and their homes despoiled, the spirit of the Serbian people has not been broken.
- Woodrow Wilson

Тhe Njegoš Fund for Serbian Studies at Columbia University

The Njegoš Fund for Serbian Studies at Columbia University was established in 1997 to promote language instruction and cultural studies at the University. The Serbian language program at Columbia, one of the oldest in North America, dates back to before World War I, when Mihajlo “Michael” Pupin was a famous professor at Columbia. We at the University have tried to uphold this tradition by improving and expanding the program of instruction in Serbian studies and events for the community.

Instruction: During the last calendar year, 63 students enrolled in a score of International Affairs, Language and Comparative Literature, and Political Science courses that were offered in the South Slavic area. The figure includes language classes, taught now by Dr. Aleksandar Bošković, who was hired to replace Dr. Radmila Gorup; he also taught a course on Serbian culture. Using Njegoš funds, Dr. Gorup was brought back this fall to teach her signature course, “Within and Beyond Empires: Literatures of South Slavs.”

In addition, for the first time the Njegoš Fund has announced a postdoctoral research fellowship in Serbian studies for the academic year 2016–17. We hope that the fellow will help us expand teaching to include history and/or political science.

Cultural Program: In addition to supporting instruction, the Fund has been used this year, as in previous years, to support a rich and active program of extracurricular lectures, conferences and special events. The program in 2015 included:

January 23, 2015: “The Serbian Medieval Cultural Legacy”: Exhibit and Celebration. Remarks by Vesna Petković, author of Serbian Medieval Cultural Heritage (2015).

March 6, 2015: Conversation with Vladimir Pištalo, author of Tesla: A Portrait with Masks (2015).

March 4, 2015: Lecture by Dr. Vladislav Beronja, University of Michigan on “Can We Critically Redeem Turbo-Folk and Should We Even Try?”

May 1, 2015: Professor Svetlana Rakić, Franklin College (Franklin, Indiana), delivered a lecture on “Art and Reality: Serbian Perspectives.”

September 25, 2015: Screening of the film Evaporating Borders and conversation with the director Iva Radivojević.

October 22–23, 2015: Two-day conference “Through the Transnational Lenses of Dubravka Ugrešić” organized by Prof. Aleksandar Bošković. Participants: Zoran Milutinović, University College London, Eva Karpinski, York University, Tatjana Aleksić, University.of Michigan, Nataša Kovačević, Eastern Michigan University, Aleksandar Mijatović, University of Rijeka, Vladislav Beronja, University of Michigan, Radmila Gorup and Alan Timberlake, Columbia University.

November 17, 2015: Lecture by Prof. Svetlana Tomić, Alpha University (Belgrade), on “Using Neglected Literary Texts to Understand the Evolution of Serbian Society.”

November 18, 2015: A lecture by Prof. Aleksandar Pavlović, University of Graz, on “Figuring out the Enemy: Re-imagining Serbian-Albanian Relations.”

November 24, 2015: “Theorizing Culture of Transition in (Post)-Yugoslav Space”  — lectures by Prof. Tatjana Rosić, Singidunum University (Belgrade) and Prof. Marija Grujić, Freie University (Berlin).

Several events are planned for 2016. These include a conversation with Dr. Krinka Vidaković-Petrov, former Ambassador of Yugoslavia to Israel and author of Serbs in America (2015); the conversation is scheduled for February 5, 2016.


People Directory

Stephen Stepanchev

Dr. Stephen Stepanchev has inspired several generations of writers who have taken his creative writing classes from 1949 to 1985 at Queens College.

As Professor Emeritus of English, he now spends his time writing and reading poems in public places all across the City, and all the more so with his title as the first Poet Laureate of the borough of Queens, an appellation assigned for the period of 1997 through the year 2000.

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Publishing

The Hagia Sophia

The Mystical Light of the Great Church and its Architectural Dress

by Charalambos P. Stathakis

Dear reader, as you run like the rest of us along the dizzy main road, stop, stay aside for a while. Let the others be dizzy, and take the secret underground trail, which will lead you through the dewdrops of the leaves, the crystal smile of the sun, the city’s underground galler- ies, your knowledge, and your feelings, to the doorstep of the Hagia Sophia. Because all dew- drops, all sunrays, and all beauty lead there. That is what you will be told by my friend, the author, whom I am fond of and whom I send you to, Charalambos Stathakis: the doctor, the warm and humane researcher, the scientist devoted to his work and his patients, who has given a series of scientific papers, who, nevertheless, retains a nest of beauty untouched in his heart, which makes him outstanding—even though he is not a specialist in architecture, nor a historian, nor a theologian, nor a Byzantinist—it makes him stand out in all these together and in entirety.

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