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UNCP professor wins Fulbright scholarship

September 10, 2004

Richard KaniaDr. Richard R.E. Kania, a sociology and criminal justice professor at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship to teach and to conduct research abroad.

The department chair for the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice, Dr. Kania will spend a year as a visiting professor at Belarus State University in Minsk.

Named for the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright, the program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Its mission is to foster international understanding through scholarship exchange.

For Dr. Kania, it is his second Fulbright Fellowship.

“First of all, I am honored and very excited to have this opportunity,” Dr. Kania said. “I have many friends in Belarus and other Eastern European countries who helped me get an invitation to Belarus State University.”

Dr. Kania, who speaks several languages, spent a year in Poland in 1997 on a Fulbright.

“I am of Polish ancestry, so Poland, Russia and Eastern Europe hold great interest for me,” Dr. Kania said. “One goal is to improve my language skills.”

Once known as White Russia, Belarus is a former republic of the Soviet Union and borders Russia, Poland, Lithuania and the Ukraine. Independent now, modern Belarus is comprised of Russians and Belarusians. Dr. Kania has visited Belarus and Russia several times over the past few years and has many friends in the old Eastern Bloc.

“I have many friends in Belarus and in other Eastern European countries,” he said. “I have made five prior visits to lecture and present papers at conferences.”

“I will do some research as well and lecturing at other universities,” Dr. Kania said. “While I’m there, I hope to visit Russia, Poland and Ukraine.”

Dr. Kania is planning on teaching a course on “American Mass Media and Social Issues” for the fall and will offer other courses and lectures in the areas of American studies and sociology of interest to the students at Belarus State University.

The fellowship is valued at about $40,000 and gives the host university a visiting professor at no cost.