SUMMER, 2002

ECENIS SIG: Special Interest Group for East-Central Europe and Eurasia

By Jakub Tesar, Educational Advisor, Fulbright Commission, Prague, Czech Republic


During the 54th NAFSA Conference I was honored to become one of the chairs of one of the NAFSA`s Special Interest Groups (SIGs). The SIG currently called ECENIS, is dedicated to linking educational institutions of the of East-Central Europe and Eurasia (formerly NIS). I would like to attract your attention to this group as the educational advisors can play a significant role in its work.

The main purpose of the SIG is networking – group intends to link together institutions from both sides (ECE, NIS on one side and US on the other side) interested in educational exchanges or other forms of academic cooperation between these parts of the world. The ECENIS SIG is trying to mediate these contacts in different ways.

The fist method is linking institutions through special website. The ECENIS founded its website in form of Yahoo!Groups websites. The ECENIS web, available at

enables members of the group not only join the e-mail list and send group e-mails to all participants, but create personal or institutional profile in web`s database (see with contact addresses and detailed description of educational programs offered or needed.

The second activity takes place at the NAFSA conference. ECENIS SIG organizes business meeting where all interested conference participants are welcomed. ECENIS for its members also organizes a special reception during the conference, so members can meet personally in informal atmosphere too. In previous years, the SIG also organized a special booth at the Educational Fair during the conference.

How educational advisors can help?

The group is not basically oriented on educational advising or recruitment (although it can serve these purposes as well). Its primal target-groups are universities in the U.S. and ECE & NIS interested in academic exchanges. However educational advisor in these regions can play a significant role in making this group an important media to increase flow of the students and scholars in both ways.

Advisors can distribute information about this group and its services to educational institutions in their particular countries and help that way to find appropriate local partners for U.S. institutions searching for cooperation in their country as well as find the U.S. partners for local institutions interested in sending local students to the United States.

I am asking you to help with promoting this group at your country`s educational institutions. I would be really glad if educational advisors in the region of East-Central Europe and Eurasia “adopted” this group as one of the opportunities to increase direct educational exchange between U.S. and their countries by linking institutions. I think it is part of our mission.

If you have any questions regarding the ECENIS SIG, you can contact one of the chairs of the group. If your center is located in East-Central Europe please contact Jakub Tesar, Fulbright Commission, Czech Republic, e-mail: If your center is located in Eurasia, you can contact regional chair Julia Rastopchina, Obninsk EIC, Russia, e-mail:

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