PSA/USIP Off-the-Record Briefing – Revolution/Counterrevolution: Examining Events in Ukraine and North Africa

MAR 28 – PSA and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) hosted Ambassador Bill Taylor (ret.) for our next off-the-record, Congressional staff discussion – Revolution/Counterrevolution: Examining Events in Ukraine and North Africa.
Ambassador Taylor served as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine (2006-2009) and Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions in the State Department (2011-2013).

Recent events in Ukraine have raised fears of civil war and a new East/West confrontation reminiscent of the Cold War. Only three years ago, popular protest led to revolutions in several North African nations resulting in the ouster of heads of state in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. While great differences – cultural, historical, and political (to name just a few) – separate all of these countries, it is some wonder whether parallels can be drawn between these four nations’ experiences and trends identified that might help the world better understand these episodes. Are there lessons to be learned from North Africa to help policymakers and practitioners more ably assess and respond to the Ukraine situation? Are there commonalities among these revolutions that could help predict similar events in other regions?

William B. Taylor, Jr. is Vice President for the Middle East and Africa at the United States Institute of Peace. From 2011 to 2013 he was the Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions in the State Department, appointed by the Secretary of State to ensure that U.S. support for the countries of the Arab revolutions was coordinated and effective. He coordinated assistance and support to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria.

He served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009. Earlier, he served in Jerusalem as the U.S. government’s representative to the Mideast Quartet, which facilitated the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. He served in Baghdad as the first director of the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office from 2004 to 2005, and in Kabul as coordinator of international and U.S. assistance to Afghanistan from 2002 to 2003. Ambassador Taylor was also coordinator of U.S. assistance to the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He served on the staff of Senator Bill Bradley.

As an infantry platoon leader and combat company commander in the U.S. Army, he served in Vietnam and Germany.

He graduated from USMA at West Point and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

He is married with two adult children.


This was the 12th event in the PSA/USIP Congressional Briefing Series – Topics on International Conflict Resolution and Prevention, an educational program designed to provide congressional staff with opportunities to engage leading experts and fellow Capitol Hill staffers in bipartisan forums. The program aims to build cross-party relationships, encourage bipartisan dialogue, and equip staff with new perspectives on critical issues in the international conflict resolution and prevention field.

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