The Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (EURUS) has learned with great sadness that our distinguished colleague Dr. Teresa Rakowska-Harmstone passed away on January 2 in Warsaw, Poland, at age 89. Teresa was born in Poland in 1927; she came to Canada as a girl when her father was named Polish consul in Montreal (he continued in this capacity as representative of the Polish government in exile during the war). Teresa completed her undergraduate education at McGill University and did her graduate work at Harvard University. She taught at Douglas College, the women’s college of Rutgers University, before joining Carleton’s Department of Political Science in 1966.

At Carleton, Theresa Rakowska-Harmstone was one of the driving forces in setting up the Institute of Soviet and East European Studies, the predecessor of EURUS. She served as the Institute’s Director between 1973 and 1975. She was Chair of the Political Science Department between 1986 to 1989, and retired as Professor Emeritus and Distinguished Research Professor in 1995.

Teresa was one of the most prominent Canadian scholars of Soviet/post-Soviet and East European studies. She was best known from her works on ethnic nationalism and Soviet nationalities policies.  For ten years, she was an Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University and Director of the Strategic Studies Program at Collegium Civitas in Warsaw, Poland. She was the author of many books and articles, most prominently Communism in Eastern Europe (1979, re-printed 1984). For a decade, this book was the main source of knowledge on Eastern European political systems for students around the world.

EURUS is losing a great scholar, great colleague, and great educator – we will be missing you, Teresa.

Photocredit: Picture from website Collegium Civitas

2 thoughts on “EURUS mourns passing of Teresa Rakowska-Harmstone”

  1. Suat Kiniklioglu says:

    I am very saddened by these news. I worked with Professor Harmstone in 1993 and 1994 as an undergraduate student and wrote my honors thesis with her. She was a great person, inspiring academic and had a considerable impact on my work. We all will miss her dedication, rigor and hard work but most importantly her as a person. Rest in Peace.

  2. I am also very saddened by this news. Dr Harmstone was a wonderful teacher. She supervised my Honours essay when I was an undergraduate student of Political Science at Carleton U. Theresa was the first person who saw my intellectual potential, and she encouraged me to pursue graduate studies. I will always remember her for her warm and enthusiastic support of me individually, and for the lovely gatherings she hosted for students at her Ottawa home.

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