Benjamin Hammond is a recipient of the Summer 2015 and Academic Year 2015-2016 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. The award provides undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students with financial support to develop fluency in less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) and expertise in the regions in which these languages are spoken. Every year the Center for Global Studies awards between 12-15 fellowships to UW students. Click here to learn more.
As a bachelor’s student in the Jackson School of International Studies, I am currently focusing on the regional power dynamics of Eastern Europe and the Caucuses in relation to the Russian Federation. Specifically, I centered my research on the role of foreign fighters and funding to militant groups in Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Ukraine. In the pursuit of these interests, the Russian language FLAS I received through the Center for Global Studies has provided the opportunity to focus my time exclusively on developing my research and area of specialization, rather than seeking part-time employment—a factor that has also facilitated the transition into my graduate studies. Moreover, the program has brought together a vibrant community of BA, MA, and PhD students with whom I have been able to network, learn from, and build lasting relationships. Thus, the FLAS has been a great benefit to my education as it has opened doors for in-depth research and facilitated an opportunity to develop connections with numerous driven and experienced colleagues in both the academic and professional worlds.