Ambassador and Mrs. Ronald Weiser have given the gift of education that will produce ties for years to come. With a generously pledged gift of $250,000 to CREES and the U-M Regents to facilitate scholarly exchange between U-M and Slovakia, the Weisers have tightened the educational connection to a region that has much to share already, and even greater potential in the new Europe.

    Ann Arbor native and businessman, Ronald Weiser, and his wife Eileen have learned to love their adopted home of Slovakia. Since November 27, 2001, the Republic of Slovakia has benefited from Ambassador and Eileen Weiser's enthusiasm for the country, its people and outlook.

    "We hope these awards will provide an opportunity for the U-M to build a bridge to universities, NGO's, the government, and the people of Slovakia. Slovakia is a strong friend and ally of the United States, which makes a relationship that will increase mutual understanding even more important. The recipients of the awards will be provided an opportunity to better understand Slovakia and Slovaks, who as immigrants played an important role in the economic and cultural development of America," said Ambassador Weiser.

    The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Slovakia-University of Michigan Collaboration will have two main purposes:


     
    The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Awards for Student Research and Internships in Slovakia will support U-M student travel awards for summer or semester-long research projects or internships at institutions, businesses and other organizations in the Slovak Republic; funding will be made available for allocation to U-M students in any field of study.


     
    The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Professional Development Awards will support short-term travel awards designed to stimulate sustained collaboration in research and teaching; funding will be made available for allocation to U-M and Slovak scholars and artists who wish to explore projects in any field of research or teaching at the University of Michigan.


     
    Ambassador Weiser is a graduate of the U-M Business School and founder and former CEO of real estate investment company McKinley Associates. He has also been instrumental on such distinguished committees as the United Negro College Fund of Washtenaw County, The U-M Business School's National Development Board and the U-M President's Advisory Board.

    "Both American and Slovak scholars will benefit from this professional development program. For American scholars, there is no better way to develop a deep understanding of a culture and how scholars in that country think than to work collaboratively on a project. For Slovak scholars and artists, this program provides research and other professional development opportunities that they might not have otherwise," says Barbara A. Anderson, director, Center for Russian and East European Studies.


    For more information about the Ronald and Eileen Weiser Slovakia-University of Michigan Collaboration, please contact the International Institute or visit <http://www.umich.edu/~iinet/crees>.