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Radio Free Europe Summer Research Fellowships

October 21, 2016
Arts and Humanities
Social Science
New York, Maryland, and Budapest, Hungary


As part of its Initiative on Cultural Power in International Relations, the European Institute launched in fall 2015 the Radio Free Europe (RFE) Research Project Fellowships. The project is led by Professor Victoria Phillips, Lecturer in History at Columbia, who teaches two courses on the Cold War at Columbia: one on public diplomacy and the other one on soft and hard power. Professor Csaba Békés, Professor of History at Corvinus University in Budapest and Founding Director of the Cold War History Research Center in Budapest, and A. Ross Johnson, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, adviser to the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Archive Project at the Hoover Institution, and senior scholar at the Wilson Center, serve as advisers to the projec

Radio Free Europe served, for many decades, as a key part of the American cultural strategy to win the “hearts and minds” of people during the Cold War. Engaging hundreds of exiles to report on events taking place behind the Iron Curtain, RFE reached millions of listeners throughout Eastern and Central Europe with news about political uprisings, party coups, environmental disasters, as well as everyday life.

The European Institute’s RFE Research Project offers to selected Columbia students the opportunity to conduct original research on the history of RFE at archives in the US and in Europe.

In 2017, the fellows will visit the following archives:

  • The National Archives (NARA) in College Park, Maryland in January 2017.
  • The Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty Archives at the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives at Central European University in Budapest in May 2017.

Each session lasts one week and involves a group of Columbia students accompanied by Dr. Phillips. Students conduct primary research in the archives during the day. Evenings are spent with the faculty advisers, who lead group discussions on research progress.

After the conclusion of each research session, the students work on their research papers to be presented at a conference at Columbia in the Spring semester. The faculty advisers will work with students who will have authored the most promising papers, and will guide them to transform their papers or senior theses into publishable articles for peer-­‐reviewed journals in diplomatic or cold war journals.

IRTS pays for each fellow’s expenses during the program.  College juniors and seniors, as well as graduate students, are eligible to apply.