Igor Timofeyev ’96 recently became a 1999 Paul and Daisy Soros New American Fellow, a prestigious award conferred upon immigrants and children of immigrants to the United States to award special achievement. The Fellowships are awarded to thirty people to support graduate education in the country, providing $20,000 of “maintenance grants” and half of the tuition cost of any institution.
This is the second year of the Fellowship program, which was started by two wealthy Eastern European immigrants to the United States as “an expression of gratitude for all that the U. S. has given the Soroses, who are personally familiar with both the opportunities and the challenges faced by New Americans.”
Timofeyev, 25, has been very successful in his time spent both in the United States and abroad. Born and raised in Moscow, Timofeyev emigrated to the United States in 1990 when he was 16 and eventually attended Williams, not far from his home in Renssalaer, New York.
During his time here, Timofeyev concentrated on political science and history and won the Donovan/Moody fellowship, which he used to finance his studies in a two-year program at Exeter College, Oxford. In July 1998 he received his M.Phil. in Russian and East European Studies.
The Soros fellowship allows Timofeyev to continue his graduate work at Yale Law School, where he is enrolled in his first year, planning to pursue a study in International Law.
Described by his mentor William Wagner, Timofeyev is “extremely intelligent, perceptive and articulate. Further, he is strongly committed to democratic ideals and values, the rule of law, and individual rights.”
The Soros Fellowship has attracted the attention of major voices in American society and promises to be highly influential as it continues to support the work of committed immigrants and their children. The National Advisory Council, which selects the fellows for each year, includes University of Chicago President Emeritus Hanna Holborn Gray, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and diplomat Henry Kissinger.
Applicants to the Fellowship must be younger than thirty and must display strong qualities of character, as well as a “commitment to the values expressed in the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.” Human rights, personal liberty, and the “responsibilities of citizenship in a free society” should form the foundation of any potential Fellow’s opinions and writings.
Timofeyev graduated summa cum laude from Williams and was very successful, making the Dean’s List all four years and winning the Ruchman Fellowship to the Oakley Center and the Robert Scott Prize for the best senior thesis in European or American History. He also wrote an impressive thesis at Oxford, which he adapted for publication in a new book entitled The Demise of Marxism-Leninism in the USSR.
While at Williams, Timofeyev also served as house president, founded the Williams Flute Trio, and was the student representative on the History Department’s faculty search committee.