Dr. Malakaj Inaugural Recipient of the CENES Outstanding Mentorship Award

It is with great pride and joy that the Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies (CENES) celebrates our colleague, Dr. Ervin Malakaj, as a most deserving recipient of the first CENES Outstanding Mentorship Award.

The nomination letter calls Dr. Malakaj’s mentorship “inspiring and contagious” and his dedication to all students, not merely those in our department or university, “beyond exemplary.”

The testimonies that convinced a jury of his peers how deserving Dr. Malakaj is of this award come from students and faculty alike. The following examples bear witness to the characteristics most highly praised in the mentoring offered by Dr. Malakaj. The range is wide but the core qualities of inclusion, openness, generosity, and empathy stand out, which render him “not only an exemplary mentor but a consummate mentor’s mentor.”

A small selection of the testimonies will exemplify some of the extraordinary attributes which Dr. Malakaj brings, from rigorous knowledge and expertise in imparting it, to the fearlessness in challenging exclusion, from the constant willingness to go beyond the call of duty to his extraordinary kindness.

“(On a more personal note,) I feel very fortunate to work with a colleague who is genuinely committed to challenging elitist structures and opening up academia to all those who wish to learn. Moreover, I am grateful to have a colleague who seeks out and invites contributions from scholars in traditionally excluded communities (queer, BIPOC, disabled, etc.)”

“Ervin’s guidance continues to be indispensable in myriad ways. When our interns and students need answers to questions and/or help beyond the scope of what I am able to provide, Ervin welcomes them with open arms. He is a close, careful, and compassionate listener with the remarkable ability to put people at ease and to allow them to feel safety in his confidence.”

“He works tirelessly, not only to make a difference in academia and the world through teaching and writing, but, perhaps more importantly, by investing in other people’s lives; by contributing to the empowerment, success, and elevation of others – especially those who may otherwise be ignored.”

Many singled out Dr. Malakaj’s generosity, not only of time but of spirit as well.

“Ervin’s kindness and generosity of spirit is evidenced, not only in the sharing of his wealth of knowledge and awareness of critical resources but, even more importantly, in his willingness to act, to do something, to provide both tangible and intangible assistance wherever he anticipates a need.”

“Quite simply put: in over a decade of working at the University of British Columbia, I have never met anyone so generous with sharing their expertise, so passionate about guiding others and helping them succeed.”

Last, and certainly not least, we want to highlight how those who supported his nomination already express praise for Dr. Malakaj in his bringing a growing legacy.

“Over the past years, the Diversity, Decolonization, and the German Curriculum (DDGC) scholarly collective, co-founded by Dr. Malakaj, has become an essential resource and model for rethinking and re-envisioning notions of pedagogy, diversity, inclusivity and belonging in our fields.”

“Decades from now, there will be countless alumni and colleagues who will most fondly remember Dr. Malakaj, how he supported them, how he inspired them, how he shaped their approach to mentorship.”