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Former Ukrainian Ambassador Headlines HWS Forum


In March, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will join the Hobart and William Smith community to meet with students and faculty and participate in a dialogue with an audience on campus. The diplomat and bestselling author of the memoir Lessons from the Edge will share insights on Eastern Europe and the current crisis in Ukraine as well as experiences from her 33-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Kicking off the new Anderton Forum for Global Engagement, Ambassador Yovanovitch’s talk begins at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 9 in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center.

Ahead of the Anderton Forum, students are invited to prepare for Ambassador Yovanovitch’s talk with discussions over a Ukrainian dinner in Saga My Kitchen on Tuesday, Feb. 28. The event was envisioned by Senior Civic Leader Julia Beaudet ’23 and is a collaboration between Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning and Saga.

Later that week, the HWS Institute for Global Studies will host a screening of the Ukrainian sitcom Servant of the People (starring now-President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy L.H.D. ’22), which Ambassador Yovanovitch discusses in her book. The screening will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 2 in the Fish Screening Room of the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts. It will be followed by a moderated discussion with faculty from Russian Area Studies, International Relations, and Media and Society.

About Ambassador Yovanovitch

Yovanovitch served three times as U.S. Ambassador, most recently in Kyiv as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. Previously, she served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic (2005-2008) and the Republic of Armenia (2008-2011). She retired from the Foreign Service in 2020 and is currently a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a non-Resident Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.

Born into a family that survived both Soviet and Nazi terror before emigrating to the U.S., Yovanovitch rose to the top of her profession in the crucible of the former USSR. Following early assignments in Moscow, London, Ottawa and Mogadishu, she served as Deputy Director of the Russia Desk and then, as a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, she was named Deputy Chief in Ukraine. Within the Department of State, Yovanovitch has worked on the Russia desk, the Office of European Security Affairs, and the Operations Center. She also served as the Dean of the School of Language Studies at the Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State and as the Deputy Commandant and International Advisor at the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, National Defense University.

Yovanovitch earned the Senior Foreign Service Performance Award eight times and the State Department’s Superior Honor Award on nine occasions. She is the recipient of two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and the Secretary’s Diplomacy in Human Rights Award. Following her retirement, Yovanovitch received the Trainor Award for Excellence in the Conduct of Diplomacy from Georgetown University, the inaugural Richard G. Lugar Award from Indiana University, the 2020 PEN/Benenson Courage Award from Pen/America, the Morgenthau Award from the Armenian Assembly of America, the American Spirit Award for Distinguished Public Service from the Common Good, and the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government.

In early 2022, Yovanovitch’s memoir, Lessons From The Edge, was an instant New York Times bestseller. The late Madeleine Albright called the book a “brilliant, engaging, and inspiring memoir from one of America’s wisest and most courageous diplomats — essential reading for current policymakers, aspiring public servants, and anyone who cares about America’s role in the world.”

About the Anderton Forum for Global Engagement

Established in 2022, the Anderton Forum for Global Engagement brings renowned experts to campus to share their insights and experience while engaging with the HWS community on vital current affairs in international relations. James F. Anderton IV ’65, who endowed the forum, served on the Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2000 and is the founder and executive chairman of property management and real estate investment and development company Krimson. He holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University and an M.B.A. from Cornell University, as well as his B.A. in economics from Hobart. A longtime supporter of HWS, Anderton was awarded the Hobart Medal of Excellence, the Hobart Alumni Association’s highest honor, in 1997. In 2015, he received the Lifetime Service Award, presented to alums who have made exceptional contributions to Hobart College throughout their lives.

-Andrew Wickenden

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Get the top stories on your radio 24/7 on Finger Lakes News Radio 96.3 and 1590, WAUB and 106.3 and 1240, WGVA, and on Finger Lakes Country, 96.1/96.9/101.9/1570 WFLR.