Ambassador's Visit and Building of Nomadic Yurt During The Week Of October 24 Highlight Mount Holyoke's Ongoing Focus On The New Countries Of Central Asia

Tuesday, October 12, 1999 - 12:00

For immediate release
October 11, 1999


AMBASSADOR'S VISIT AND BUILDING OF NOMADIC YURT DURING THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 24 HIGHLIGHT MOUNT HOLYOKE'S ONGOING FOCUS ON THE NEW COUNTRIES OF CENTRAL ASIA

SOUTH HADLEY, Massachusetts--During the week of October 24, Mount Holyoke's Russian and Eurasian Studies Department's focus on the newly independent states of Central Asia will be highlighted when the Ambassador of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan speaks on Wednesday, October 27, and a yurt is constructed on the College's main green on Monday, October 25.

The yurt, a portable wood-framed tent that is still the home to many dwellers on the Central Asian steppe, will be built by the students of the Mount Holyoke class Nomads, Steppes and Cities: An Introduction to the Peoples and Cultures of Russia and Eurasia. Co-taught and developed by associate professors of Russian and Eurasian studies Stephen Jones and Peter Scotto, the course brings into focus the cultural and geopolitical diversity of the newly independent states of the former USSR.

According to the chair of Mount Holyoke's Russian and Eurasian studies program Edwina J. Cruise, the Nomads course is "one of the very few at an American undergraduate institution that is devoted entirely to this rapidly growing and little known area of the Eurasian continent."

It is anticipated that the yurt installation will take about an hour. Built with canvas and cedar wood, the nomadic structure on the Mount Holyoke green will be sixteen feet in diameter and nine feet high. The structure's wooden lath and rafters will be prepared ahead of time in the workshop of politics professor Chris Pyle's home in South Hadley, Mass. After its construction on Monday, October 25, at 4:00 PM, the yurt will stand through Sunday, October 31.

The yurt will coincide with the visit to Mount Holyoke of the ambassador to the United States from Kyrgyzstan. His excellency Baktybek Abdrisaev will speak on Wednesday, October 27, on Kyrgyzstan and the transition to democracy in Central Asia. Free and open to the public, the lecture will start at 7:30 PM in the Morrison Room in the College's Willitts-Hallowell Center on Park Street in South Hadley. A reception will follow.

Ambassador Abdrisaev will be the fifth ambassador from the newly independent states to visit Mount Holyoke since the breakup of the Soviet Union. The Department of Russian and Eurasian Studies has previously hosted Tedo Japaridze (Georgia, 1993), Ruben Shugaryan (Armenia, 1994), Hafiz Pashayev (Azerbaijan), and Bolat N. Nurgaliyev (Kazakhstan, 1997).

Kyrgyzstan borders on China and is located south of Kazakhstan. Its estimated population in 1992 was about 5 million.