Cory Bender is the Program Officer for Central Asia at the Institute for Global Engagement. He received a bachelor’s degree in Russian Studies and Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Before coming to IGE, Bender worked at the American Foreign Policy Council, and conducted research on Central Asia at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Political-Military Analysis. He also interned at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, where he coordinated public affairs and consular programs. In 2011, Bender studied abroad at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where he also worked as an Editorial Assistant at the Institute for Public Policy, a Bishkek-based think tank. He studied Russian in Kazan, Russia as a Critical Language Scholar and at Middlebury College, where he was a Kathryn Davis Fellow. He is originally from Chelmsford, Massachusetts and currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia.