Speaker: Dr. Nina Wieda, Context Expert
Dr. Nina Wieda: Hi, my name is Nina Wieda and I'm from Novorossiysk, which is a small city on the Black Sea coast in the Caucasus. I'm currently based in Chicago.
Dr. Nina Wieda: I first became interested in studying history and culture because the area where I grew up was home to many ancient civilizations. Some of them disappeared without a trace, but others left a mark. I grew up next to people who spoke many different languages, played different types of music, and their daily customs were different from the ones that I knew. That made me very curious about different cultures that co-existed together in a densely populated area. As a freshman in college, I started working as a journalist for a newspaper for the Culture and Education Department. I traveled the area, visited concerts and exhibitions, and interviewed people trying to learn more about the history of that fascinating place. Then I got a Master's Degree in Nationalism Studies from Central European University in Budapest. And then I got my Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Northwestern University.
Dr. Nina Wieda: Did you know that the Caucasus is the first place where humans settled in Eurasia and it is home to many other firsts too? For example, the oldest Observatory is in the Caucasus mountains and the first Christian nation is in the Caucasus as well. It was a powerful kingdom two millennia ago, and it still exists as an independent state today. Many of the popular myths that you have definitely heard about are inspired by stories from the Caucasus, for example, the Myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece. It comes from the Black Sea coast in the Caucasus – and the Golden Fleece actually existed.
Dr. Nina Wieda: If you are interested in learning more about the Caucasus – and other little known parts of Eurasia – I look forward to meeting you soon.