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Ukraine historian to speak on Mennonite entrepreneurs

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Nataliya Venger, professor of history at Dnipropetrovsk National University, Ukraine, who is spending this year as a Fulbright Scholar at Fresno (Calif.) Pacific University, will give the next Friends of the MLA lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Her topic will be “Mennonite entrepreneurs in 19th-century Russia.”

Venger is an associate of the Institute for Ukrainian-German Studies at Dnipropetrovsk National University. Her B.A., M.A. and Candidate (the mid-point between M.A. and Ph.D. in the European system) degrees are all from Dnipropetrovsk National University.

Venger is the author of many articles, book chapters and encyclopedia articles on the history of Mennonites in South Ukraine, as well as the 1998 volume At the Changing of the Epochs: Mennonite Community of Ukraine, 1914-1931 (translation from Russian title), widely regarded as the most distinguished post-Soviet work of scholarship done in Ukraine on Mennonites.

“Nataliya is at the center of a new generation of post-Soviet historians seeking to understand Mennonites as part of the ethnic and religious mosaic of Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union,” said Paul Toews, FPU professor of history. “She is spending the 2006-07 academic year at Fresno Pacific University working on the history of German – and particularly Mennonite – entrepreneurship in South Ukraine in the late imperial period. She is particularly interested in the question of why Germans were economically more successful than other foreign colonist groups that also settled in South Ukraine.”

Venger’s presentation is given under the auspices of the Friends of the MLA (Mennonite Library and Archives at Bethel College), at 7:30 p.m. in the Administration Building chapel on the Bethel College campus. The event is free and open to the public. For directions or more information on the Friends of the MLA, call 316-284-5360.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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