Professor Ed Vajda to discuss Chernobyl nuclear disaster Feb. 29

Edward Vajda, professor of Modern and Classical Languages at Western Washington University, will give a lecture titled “The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 29 in the Bellingham City Council Chambers, 210 Lottie St., in Bellingham. The free, public talk, an installment of the WWU College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean’s Lecture Series, is co-sponsored by the City of Bellingham. Vajda will discuss the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, which arguably remains the world’s worst environmental catastrophe. Vajda worked as a translator and news analyst in the Moscow office of CBS News during the crisis. He will recount his experience in helping cover the story at the time, and also will explain what is known in hindsight about the causes leading up to the disaster. He also will analyze the role played by the tragedy in the dissolution of the Soviet Union and assess its continuing environmental, political and social effects a quarter century later. Edward Vajda has been a professor at Western since 1987 and currently serves as director of the Linguistics Program. He teaches Russian language, culture and history, as well as general linguistics and courses on Inner Asian and Siberian peoples. Vajda worked as tour guide and interpreter in the former Soviet Union and has traveled extensively throughout the Russian Federation, specializing more recently in language documentation among northern Siberia’s native ethnic communities. Vajda received Western’s Excellence of Teaching Award in 1992 and the Paul J. Olscamp Research award in 2011. Audience questions will be welcomed. The lecture will be recorded and shown on Bellingham TV Channel 10. For more information on this lecture, please contact Katrina Schaeffer, WWU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, (360) 650-3763, or