Craig Calhoun joins Melikian Center as interim director

Craig Calhoun, senior sustainability scientist at the Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation and a University Professor of Social Sciences, will be stepping in as interim director of the Melikian Center for Eurasian and East European Studies for the 2021–2022 academic year. The Melikian Center’s director, Keith Brown, will be on research leave as a visiting fellow at the University of Helsinki’s Collegium for Advanced Studies.

Ramona Melikian, president of the Melikian Center’s advisory board, praised Calhoun’s experience: “As the Melikian Center enters a new phase of global engagement, Dr. Calhoun’s impressive background offers us the opportunity to increase our global visibility and enhance our partnerships with the international community — contributing significantly to the further growth of the university.”

Prior to joining ASU, Calhoun was director of the London School of Economics and Political Science, president of the Berggruen Institute and president of the Social Science Research Council. In the course of his productive academic career, Calhoun has taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was dean of the Graduate School and director of its Center for International Studies; served as a professor at Columbia University and the University of Oslo; and was founder and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. 

A throughline of Calhoun’s academic work is exploring how the sciences and public policy interact and engage with the public. This thematic core distinguishes Calhoun as a public-facing scholar whose work embraces Arizona State University’s ethos of community engagement. Beyond ASU, Calhoun co-chairs the board of the American Assembly, a think tank that aims to strengthen democratic societies. He has been elected a fellow of the British Academy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Philosophical Society, and he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He holds honorary appointments as a Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics and a professor at the College d’Etudes Mondiales of the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris. 

“The Melikian Center has established itself as a central part of how ASU helps all of its constituencies understand the world. It’s important to students, to faculty and to communities outside the university,” Calhoun said. “I say the world because the world is understood through different regions. And the Melikian Center helps us understand first the relations among Russia and East Europe and Eurasia, and second, the relations between all of them and the rest of the world. We will also focus on sustainability questions which are major issues in each of these regions. And we can learn from this region in ways that matter for understanding the whole world and each of its challenges for sustainability.”