On May 3, 2022, the American Research Institute of South Caucasus (ARISC) and REEEC hosted an event entitled, “The State of South Caucasus Language Instruction in the U.S.: A Virtual Workshop.” This virtual panel brought together instructors of Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian with researchers, educators, and administrators to discuss the state of South Caucasus language instruction in the U.S. The panel discussed the increasingly important necessity for researchers studying the South Caucasus to know the languages of Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian. Not only can Russian no longer be relied upon as a lingua franca serving as the language of scholarly publication and facilitating communication in this region, but in order to incorporate local perspectives and utilize original source material, students and scholars need to develop a working knowledge of the local languages. Other topics of discussion included improving language instruction of Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian, the commonalities of these languages, and the need to offer language instruction in combination with other courses on the cultures.
The workshop featured presentations from a panel of language instructors, including Fiala Abdullayeva (Azerbaijan University of Languages, Azerbaijani), Lisa Gulesserian (Harvard University, Western Armenian), Tereza Hovhannisyan (UCLA, Eastern Armenian), and Lauren Ninoshvili (Columbia University, Georgian), who shared their personal experiences as instructors of these Less Commonly Taught Languages. Their presentations were followed by a discussion, moderated by Maureen Marshall (Associate Director, REEEC; President, ARISC) regarding the challenges, opportunities, and future direction of language instruction. With over 40 attendees, this workshop provided many valuable and productive conversations regarding the teaching of languages of the South Caucasus in the United States.