Meet Nancy Lubin: Russia and Central Asia Expert

April 28, 2011

AAUW American Fellow Nancy Lubin’s interest in the former Soviet Union began during her college years at Harvard University, after the United States opened its borders to Soviet immigrants. She befriended several immigrants who settled in the Boston area and became fascinated by their cultures and love for their mother countries. While at Harvard, she majored in Soviet studies and became interested in the southern regions of the USSR.

Lubin first traveled to Russia in 1974, when she studied abroad in Saint Petersburg. After earning her bachelor’s degree, Lubin spent one year conducting research in Uzbekistan before completing her doctorate at the University of Oxford in 1982. AAUW helped fund Lubin’s thesis research, which focused on corruption and the informal political and economic system in Central Asia, through an American Fellowship. “Not only did AAUW provide me with much-needed financial support, but the fellowship also gave me confidence in my own capabilities and the usefulness of my research,” Lubin said.

After earning her doctorate, Lubin worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and then as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. The collapse of the USSR in 1991 led Lubin to found JNA Associates Inc., a consulting and research firm that focuses on Central Asia and the Caucasus region. In addition to her work with JNA, Lubin has published several books and written op-eds for publications such as the New York Times and Newsday. She has also provided her expertise on Russian and Central Asian affairs on camera and as a consultant for NPR, CNN, ABC News, and other media outlets.

Today, Lubin is excited about several new projects at JNA. While her work still focuses on corruption and informal economies, JNA has started work on a few cultural projects. In 2010, the company helped bring U.S. artists and a dance company to Central Asia to connect them with local artists. JNA has also helped set up video conferences between teenagers in Azerbaijan and the United States to create a dialogue among youth. In the next three years, JNA hopes to work on a collaborative project between young sports reporters from the United States and Eurasia for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. “Many of the sports reporters we’ve identified are young women. I am very excited about this upcoming project!” Lubin said. “Looking back, I never expected I would be working in this field. I would encourage young women to be open to change in their education and career paths and take advantage of every learning opportunity that comes along!”

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Mia Cakebread.

Avatar By:   |   April 28, 2011


  1. Avatar Ahmed M. says:

    I visited Uzbekistan last year and I was fascinated by the history and culture of this part of the world and ever since I came back I’m looking for sources that explore the history, ethnicity and culture of this region in depth, but it seems difficult to get. I came across the work of Ms. Lubin in where her name was cited numerously. I checked for her books, but I didn’t find any related to my search. I hope if there’s someone who could help me locate Ms. Lubin’s works on that region.

  2. Avatar Esther says:

    Awesome work!!!! Very proud of your achievements.
    I particularly love your final parting words ” I would encourage young women to be open to change in their education and career paths and take advantage of every learning opportunity that comes along!”.. This is what I have exactly been doing…taking every opportunity that comes my way. I believe it will be useful someday or in my career as I move on to encourage and work with many African girls in their quest for education for a better life !!!!
    You are an inspiration!

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