Gabriel Al-Salem

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The Slavic Department faculty were saddened by the tragic and sudden loss of Gabriel who, on 27 November 2010 at the age of 43, died in a paragliding accident in the mountains near Almaty, Kazakhstan. Born 1 Feb 1967, Gabriel is survived his wife, Viktoria, and their daughter, Anya; father, Bader Al-Salem of Kuwait; and mother, Margarete Dorsch (Lindsborg, KS). This page, begun at the peak of his professional career, remains as a tribute to his remarkable life. His family, colleagues, and friends have established the Gabriel Al-Salem Foundation (Фонд им. Габриэля Аль-Салем), which raises funds for initiatives to support young talents following in his footsteps in international careers in management consulting, including an initiative to establish a KU scholarship for students of Slavic languages.

Read his article Flying the Great Wall of China

View Gabriel discussing his work with the Business Advisory Services (BAS) program under the auspices of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The International Council of Management Consulting Institutes in Central Asia, through the offices of the Regional Director of EBRD in Almaty, posthumously conferred upon Gabriel the title of Member of the Meridian Order (2011).

Read more about Gabriel in "Icarus in Kazakhstan: The Remarkable Journey of Gabriel Al-Salem" in the Fall 2011 edition of The Lawrencian Chronicle.

BA Russian, 1989

Career: Management consulting (Ernst & Young, A.T. Kearney, KPMG Consulting); Regional Director for Central Asia of the European Bank for Regional Development's Business Advisory Services Programme, helping top local firms hire consultants to solve business problems and maximize growth.

Languages: Russian, German, French, Spanish

Countries lived in: Russia, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Germany, US; currently living in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Favorite place: The summit of Amangeldi Peak overlooking Almaty and the Tien Shan mountain range; and Red Square at midnight (кодга бьют куранты).

Hobbies: High-altitude mountaineering, skiing

Favorite food: Sushi (uni)

Favorite drink: Corona Extra (la cerveza mas fina)

In Memoriam

Reed Rankin ✝ 12/29/2019

The faculty and students in the Department Slavic Languages and Literatures are deeply saddened that one our undergraduate majors, Reed Rankin, passed away last week (12/29) in Fredonia, Kansas. Reed was a beloved student in the department and is fondly remembered by his peers and professors. He began studying Russian as a Freshman and stayed with a challenging but rewarding language for three and a half years, tackling introductory, intermediate, advanced levels, and even continuing his studies into his senior year with Russian for the Professions. We know that he was planning further study in Moscow in the next academic year, prior to matriculation at KU School of Law.

A thoughtful student, Reed often contributed insight and posed challenging questions in class. ​​ Reed’s dedication to the study of Russian language, culture, and history was tremendous and fueled by infectious curiosity. He showed great acumen in translating from Russian into English, always finding English-language equivalents for Russian cultural concepts through skillful use of one-liners from American films. We also treasured his ability to speak in fluid Russian about rural, farm life in Kansas, and the effects that natural phenomena, like floods, on a farming community. He was a pleasure to know and teach, and will be remembered for his kind and polite demeanor. Our thoughts are with Reed’s family at this time


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KU’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies program is one of only 12 federally-funded national resource centers in the US
Only doctoral program in Slavic Languages and Literatures between the Mississippi and the West Coast
100% of graduate students in the Slavic program had funding in academic year 2012-13
KU's Libraries house over 500,000 volumes of Slavic books and electronic editions
Two of the department’s last four doctoral candidates have won a Fulbright grants to conduct dissertation research abroad