CREES announces Laird Essay Contest winners

LAWRENCE — The Center for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies (CREES) at the University of Kansas has announced that this year’s Roy D. and Betty Laird Essay Contest winners are undergraduate student John Lubianetsky for his essay. “Assimilation, Adaption, and Expansion: Folklore Transmission and Development in the Ukrainian Canadian Diaspora,” and graduate student Mason Hussong for his policy memorandum, “How to Develop Central Asia into a Region Nondependent on China and Russia.” 

Now in its 29th year, the essay contest is named after the late Roy Laird, a longtime member of the Russian, East European & Eurasian studies and political science faculties, and Betty Laird, whose support makes this prize possible.  

A committee of four REES faculty read and independently rated the anonymous essays submitted for the contest. According to CREES Director Erik Scott, associate professor of history, Lubianetsky’s essay is “a fascinating and relevant study of how Canada’s Ukrainian diaspora mobilizes folklore to maintain connections to their original homeland.” Scott said that Hussong’s memorandum “makes a strong case that the United States can promote Central Asia’s independence from both Russia and China by helping to develop the region’s energy infrastructure.”

Lubianetsky will receive a $250 cash prize award. Hussong’s cash prize award is $500. Both Lubianetsky and Hussong will also receive $75 worth of books of their choice.

John Lubianetsky
John Lubianetsky

Lubianetsky is from Kansas City, Missouri. At KU, he is majoring in Chinese language & literature, global & international studies, political science, and Russian, Eastern European & Eurasian studies with a minor in intelligence and national security studies. His academic interests are in East and Central Asian security and in international arms control. In the future, he plans to attend graduate school to study international relations.

Hussong is from Norman, Oklahoma. 

Mason Hussong
Mason Hussong

At KU, he is a master’s student studying Slavic languages & literatures with a concentration on Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian regional studies. His academic interests include Russian verbal aspect and the relationship between language and identity in the former Soviet Union state. After graduation, he plans to enter the workforce for several years before pursuing a doctorate in Slavic linguistics.

CREES is designated a National Resource Center for the study of Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia by the Department of Education and receives Title VI funds for educational events and outreach activities. For more information on CREES events and activities, visit CREES or call 785-864-2358. 

Wed, 04/19/2023


Esra Predolac

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Esra Predolac

Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies