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Oral history interview with Deana Arsenian, 2017

Creator: Arsenian, Deana, 1958-
Project: Harriman Institute oral history collection.
(see all project interviews)
Phys. Desc. :Transcript: 38 pages
Location: Columbia Center for Oral History
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Biographical Note

Deana Arsenian earned a BA in political science from Barnard College and an MA in international affairs from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. While pursuing her MA, she became associated with the then-Russian Institute through her work as an administrative assistant to Marshal Shulman. From 1983-1990, Arsenian worked as a program officer in the Carnegie Corporation's Avoiding Nuclear War Program. In 1990, she became Assistant Director of the Center for Foreign Policy Development at Brown University. Arsenian is also a former member of the board of directors of the Armenian Assembly and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In her current role as vice president of the Carnegie Corporation’s International Program, Arsenian is responsible for grant-making in Russia and Eurasia.

Scope and Contents

Deana Arsenian discusses her memories of working as Marshall Shulman's administrative assistant in the 1980s. She notes that Shulman lamented the lack of deep understanding of the Soviet Union among policymakers and the broader public, a problem he thought could only be addressed by long-term investments in training Russia experts. Arsenian then discusses American efforts to engage with the new Russia following the collapse of the USSR; she feels generally positive about these efforts, but acknowledges significant structural impediments to their success. Arsenian notes that training area scholars is a long-term venture aimed at producing experts who have granular knowledge. She discusses the need to train people to craft realistic and likely scenarios in US-Russia relations.


Access Conditions

Copyright by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, 2017.

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