About Us: Mission and History


The Institute on East Central Europe at Columbia University was established in 1954 to promote the study of the countries lying between Germany and Russia and between the Baltic and Aegean seas. Reflecting the changes that had taken place in the region following 1989, in 1997 it was renamed the East Central European Center and is the oldest academic unit dealing exclusively with East Central Europe in any major U.S. academic institution. Its program covers Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine. For many years, together with the Harriman Institute, it has been designated an East European, Russian, and Eurasian National Resource Center by the U.S. Department of Education. This designation has permitted an enlarged variety of courses and other offerings, and support to outstanding students through Foreign Language and Area Study (FLAS) fellowships. The Center actively cooperates with other units within the University as well as other institutions in the United States and in East Central Europe to provide the best possible training opportunities.