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International Brown Bag Luncheon: Tomsk, Western Siberia
Monday, January 28, 2013

All students and faculty are invited to the International Brown Bag Luncheon titled, "Tomsk: An Electric Urban Experience in Western Siberia" on Monday, Feb. 4 at noon. Speaking at the luncheon will be Dr. Ann Deakin from the Department of Geosciences. The event will be held in the English Reading Room (Fenton Hall 127).

For many, Siberia is a “no man’s land,” conjuring images of snow and gulags, but there is much more to it. Siberia, as a region in the Federation of Russia, has an area of 5.1 million square miles, including urban centers. The city of Tomsk, where Dr. Deakin spent the Spring 2012 semester, is one of those urban surprises.

Even beyond its urbanness, Tomsk is surprising in its accessibility, intellectual atmosphere and history. With a population of 522,000, Tomsk is a comfortable city to navigate on foot or using buses and trolleys. It contains traditional wooden architecture, grim Soviet style structures, and elegant neoclassical buildings, which line the streets and boulevards. Numerous parks are used by people of all ages, regardless of the season. 

With its eight universities, Tomsk is considered by many to be Siberia’s intellectual capital. It is not unusual to meet students from China, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, and Vietnam. Even the permanent population is varied as many residents trace their roots to exiled family members from European Russia, Ukraine and other western locations. Still other residents trace their ancestry to the Tatar settlers predating the founding of Tomsk in 1604.

For further comments on the International Brown Bag series, email Ted Schwalbe at

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