February 21, 2002

Contact: Sarah Ray
Posted: February 21, 2002

MIDDLEBURY, VT - On Wednesday, March 6, Professor Aleg Cherp of the Central European University in Budapest will discuss his experience as the environmental expert on the United Nations mission that produced a recent report titled "Human consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident." His talk, "Fifteen Years After Chernobyl—How the World Has Responded," will take place at 7 p.m. at Middlebury College. Cherp’s presentation will offer the public the first opportunity to discuss the report with one of its authors since the United Nations officially released it on Feb. 6.

Cherp will give a second presentation, "A History of the Environmental Movement in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia," reflecting on his broader experience in that region on Thursday, March 7, at 4:30 p.m.

Both lectures will take place in the conference room of the Robert A. Jones House on Hillcrest Road off College Street (Route 125) and are free and open to the public.

The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident was a defining event of the late 20th century for many in the Soviet world. It has become a focal point in the continuing debate about nuclear energy around the globe. Yet, 15 years after the reactor meltdown in a Ukrainian nuclear power plant, the history of the Chernobyl accident is still being debated and the future of those affected by the accident remains an open question.

Cherp, representing the environmental perspective, and his colleagues representing the medical and economic perspectives, have contributed a new framework for looking at Chernobyl’s past and for mapping the future of millions of affected people and hundreds of communities in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Their report examines the interaction of environmental, health and economic impacts of the 1986 accident, as well as recovery and mitigation strategies that have been employed. Cherp and the other U.N. commissioned experts have taken an objective look at an historical event that continues to be the center of international scientific and policy controversies.

Cherp has a long and varied career of involvement with environmental problems associated with the Soviet and post-Soviet world. As a university student during the Gorbachev era, he co-chaired a network of student environmental protection organizations. He has studied environmental policy-making and environmental impact assessment in many Eastern European countries as well as in Russia and Central Asia.

In addition to being a co-author of the U.N. report, Cherp is a native of Belarus, the country whose population was most severely impacted by the 1986 nuclear accident.

A reading copy of the U.N. Chernobyl report is available at the offices of ECOLOGIA, a Middlebury-based organization that promotes public participation in environmental decision making globally.

Both events are co-sponsored by ECOLOGIA and by several Middlebury College organizations—the Center for International Affairs, the C.A. Johnson Economics Chair, and the department of environmental studies.

For more information, contact Charlotte Tate, assistant director of the Middlebury College Center for International Affairs, at or 802-443-5795.