The Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center seeks to promote the study and knowledge of Russia, East Europe, and Eurasia to the general community through a variety of outreach events throughout the academic year and summer months. Nearly all our events are free and open to the public. Please see our calendar for a list of upcoming events. 

We are also actively involved with our local Champaign-Urbana and Central Illinois communities through regular outreach programming such as monthly multicultural programs at Champaign County Head Start locations and Orchard Downs after school program and Slavic Story Time at the Urbana Free Library every semester.

Additionally, we have presented at International Nights at local elementary schools and summer camps through the Urbana Fine Arts Center, and contributed artifacts for an exhibit on East Europe at the Decatur Area Arts Council. We are also proud to help sponsor and bring an author for the Youth Literature Festival

For more information on specific initiatives, please see below.

K-12 Initiatives

Orchard Downs Kids Club

Since the fall of 2021, REEEC has collaborated with the Orchard Downs Community Center's after school program to teach elementary school students about Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia through monthly presentations and interactive experiential activities.

a young man giving a presentation about Uzbekistan
Dimitri Glaros (B.M. Music Composition, '25) teaching a lesson on Uzbekistan and the tradition of stamped bread.

Champaign County Head Start

Since Spring 2015, REEEC has been working with Champaign County Head Start to provide monthly cultural programming for young learners aged 3-5. We currently offer programming at the Urbana Head Start location, and have previously worked at the Savoy and Champaign locations.

a man giving a presentation on Kazakhstan
Richard Byington (M.A. REEES/M.S. LIS '24) teaching a lesson about Kazakhstan and traditional nomadic yurt dwellings.

Illinois ACTR Olympiada of Spoken Russian

In collaboration with the American Councils of Teachers of Russian (ACTR) and the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies at the University of Chicago, we organize an annual competition for high school students studying Russian. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate their language skills and knowledge of Russian culture, as well as visit a college campus and learn about continuing their study of Russian. The competition alternates yearly between the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chicago. 

two people presenting to a room full of teenagers
Justin Balcor (PhD Candidate, Musicology) and Danielle Sekel (Outreach and Programming Coordinator, REEEC; PhD Student, Musicology) giving a presentation on musical instruments from the REEE region to participants at the 2023 Olympiada

Multicultural Nights

REEEC staff are frequent guests at International and Multicultural nights at area schools, where we prepare visual and tactile presentations on countries in our area of study.

a young woman standing in front of a table with a display about Bulgaria
Laurel Tollison (REEES M.A., 2023) with a display about Bulgaria and Baba Marta at Dr. Howard Elementary's 2023 Hands Around the World event.

Community Initiatives

Slavic Story Time

REEEC staff and students visit public libraries to tell stories from our region and make crafts with local children. We are currently working with the Urbana Free Library. We are also working with the other area studies centers at the University of Illinois for International Story Time.

a woman helping two children with an educational craft
Making and decorating Ukrainian mittens out of construction paper, wax paper, and tissue paper at Slavic Story Time at the Urbana Free Library.

Youth Literature Festival

In past years, REEEC has sponsored an author from our area of study to attend the Youth Literature Festival, co-sponsored by the College of Education and the University Library, which biannually brings authors of youth literature to area schools. The festival will return in the fall of 2024, following a four-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

a child holding up a handmade paper mask
Making firebird masks at the 2019 Youth Literature Festival Community Day.