nick-4-cropped-2016Nick Hayes, a popular commentator on international affairs for public radio and television, has been featured in a wide range of publications from the scholarly Slavic Review to the popular Interview Magazine. His recent articles and photography have appeared in The Moscow Times, Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, Interview Magazine, Newsweek International, and Utne Reader. Since the 1980s, he has worked with Twin Cities Public Television as a featured commentator and field correspondent for its popular weekly public affairs program Almanac.

On Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), Hayes is a regularly featured commentator for the daily public affairs program Midday on issues ranging from political turmoil in post-communist Europe to the war in Iraq. He has appeared on NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and Religion and Ethics Newsweekly and given radio commentaries for NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered and Public Radio International’s Marketplace.

“Hayes, in my view, is one of a handful of modern American academics whose command of his subject is matched only by his ability to make it come alive for ordinary people,” says Bill Hanley, executive vice president of Twin Cities Public Television. “During the late 1980s, many Minnesotans witnessed the demise of Soviet communism through Dr. Hayes’ eyes. His enthusiasm and imagination have led to hundreds of viewer comments over the years.”

Nick received an Emmy in 1991 for his work on TPT’s special report “Television and Democracy in Russia.” He has widened his interests to include such global issues as the AIDS pandemic and genocide. His media projects have taken him on assignment to China, South Africa, Rwanda and the Balkans. In 1994-95, as a Fulbright Fellow in Journalism, he was based in Zagreb, Croatia, from where he filed reports on the war in the ex-Yugoslavia. His latest writings include a reflection on the tenth anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre in Utne Reader and a retrospective of Gorbachev’s legacy published in The Moscow Times. For more information on Nick’s writings and media commentaries, visit Nick’s university website.


Today, Nick Hayes is a professor of history and holds the University Chair in Critical Thinking at Saint John’s University in Minnesota. As Chair, Nick fosters interdisciplinary thinking in a global context with an emphasis on how such thinking can intersect most productively with local and national media. He sponsors an annual lecture series, serves as the faculty adviser for students for nationally competitive fellowships, sponsors international faculty development seminars, and teaches in the CORE and Honors curriculum of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.

Nick is currently working on a new book, Looking for Leningrad: My Soviet Life, comprising his memoirs and essays on Russia from 1978 to the present. And One Fine Morning – Memories of My Father (2010) was his first book of creative non-fiction.

Nick also founded a new partnership, “On Campus with Gary Eichten,” that enlists the talent of award winning MPR host Gary Eichten and showcases nationally known guest speakers to engage the public in key issues of our time. Nick launched the program at Saint John’s University with his “Russian Year in Review“. Nick’s history with Russia dates back to his years as an observer of Russian politics living in Moscow in the 1980s. Nick and Gary discussed events such as the crisis in Ukraine, the Russian economy, and the future of Russia under Putin.

Eichten_0430“Nick is a Minnesota treasure, the media’s go-to guy for history and current events. Yes, Nick is a top flight scholar which gives him rock solid credibility but he is also a great storyteller, with the ability to explain complex issues in an understandable, interesting way. He is personable, witty, a terrific writer, and always willing to share what he’s learned. He is, in the truest sense, a public intellectual; a great ambassador for CSBSJU.”

~Gary Eichten, MPR