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Tarun Chhabra

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Tarun Chhabra

I graduated in 2002 with a concentration in the Slavic Language and Literature, and a secondary concentration in International Relations.
 
During my years at Stanford, I studied at the Moscow Center (autumn 2000) and lived in Ujamaa (Lagunita), Kimball and Roble. I worked at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project and at the Haas Center for the student group, Stanford in Government.
 
After graduation, I was a Fulbright Fellow in Russia 2002-03, where I studied how Russian academic and policy perspectives on U.S. foreign policy had changed since the end of the Cold War. I was based at MGIMO (Moscow State Institute for International Relations), where I worked with Professor Vladimir Pechatnov.
 
In 2004, I was diverted to New York by an offer from my undergraduate thesis advisor (Stephen Stedman, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Studies) to work for him at the United Nations on the research staff of the 'High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change'. The panel was appointed by Secretry-General Kofi Annan to suggest reforms for the UN's peace and security architecture. In 2005, after the report was delivered, our team moved in to the Office of the Secretary-General to contribute to implementation of the panel's recommendations.
 
Later that year, in September, I packed my bags for Oxford, where I am now resuming my graduate studies in international relations as a Marshall Scholar.
 
To be frank, I am quite sure I didn't have particularly good reasons to study Russian. But I have come up with many in my retrospective wisdom. Some of my best college memories are reading Leskov's Enchanted Wanderer with Professor Gabriella Safran; having an e-mail exchange with Professor Grisha Freidin - subject heading "Kant, Comte and the Kitchen Sink" (his, of course); a conversation with Professor Lazar Fleishman about Sofrinitsky's Scriabin; a convulsion of nervous laughter during a reading of Kharms's Blue Notebook; writing one paper on Bely's Petersburg, cigarettes & metaphsyics, and another on the Marquis de Custine & George Kennan; serving as an 'election monitor' in Murmansk; and, of course, Russian grammar with Serafima Gettys and Rima Greenhill.
 
I always found the department intimate, warm and generous - intellectually and inter-personally. As the initiated know, the kitchen table is the nucleus of a home. It was just that for me at Stanford.