Stephen F. Cohen, a preeminent scholar of Russian history in the United States, and his wife Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, were honored on February 28 with the 2019 Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award.
The Doshi Family Bridgebuilder Award is given annually along with a $10,000 stipend to individuals or an organization dedicated to fostering understanding between cultures, peoples, and disciplines. It was established in 2005, along with the Navin and Pratima Doshi Professorship of Indic and Comparative Theology held by Christopher Key Chapple. Chapple served as master of ceremonies for the evening and was joined by LMU Vice Provost for Global-Local Initiatives Roberta Espinoza, who highlighted that LMU is home to Russian students and also runs a study abroad program in Moscow.
Navin and Pratima Doshi offered encouraging remarks on the importance of bridge-building and co-existence in today’s world. They also commended Cohen and vanden Heuvel for their continued contributions to cross-cultural understanding between Russia and the United States, as well as their willingness to engage contentious issues across a variety of media platforms.
Nigel Raab, professor of Russian history at LMU, moderated a discussion with the influential political/publishing couple exploring “The New U.S. Russian Cold War.” Cohen and vanden Heuvel shared their views on a resurgent Russia and touched on critical political transitions from the last 20 years. Without falling trap to common clichés about Vladimir Putin, they gave closer insights into the needs of Russia itself—why might Russia be justifiably upset at American actions and how is the United States conducting itself as the provocateur? Drawing from decades of experience studying and visiting the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation, Cohen and vanden Heuvel reinterpreted Putin’s frequently misunderstood comments on the collapse of the Soviet Union and urged listeners to seek out areas of mutual understanding between the two countries. After all, it was an evening of bridge-building and the conversation found ways to turn foes into friends and transform a simmering new Cold War into a hopefully peaceful future.
“Navin and Pratima Doshi have long had a deep interest in world affairs,” said Christopher Key Chapple, professor of theological studies. “By honoring a leading editor/journalist and a respected professor who do not always share the same views, the Doshi award continues in the grand tradition of building bridges, in this case, with our understandings of Russia, an area of great importance and complexity.”