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Today in Ukraine: Corruption, Riots & Russia at the Gates

On December 15th, United States Institute of Peace Executive Vice President, Ambassador Bill Taylor and Editor of the Atlantic Council Blog, Ukraine Alert, Melinda Haring discussed the current political and security challenges facing Ukraine.

This was a closed, off-the-record event for congressional staff.

The briefing focused on the ongoing security challenges facing Ukraine while addressing concerns about recent political moves made by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Speakers offered their views on the role Congress can play to support stability and prevent a violent new front in Ukraine.

The rise of Poroshenko marked the beginning of what many assumed would be a more western mindset. After coming to power, Poroshenko promised numerous government reforms, and initial signals suggested he would enact such reforms. However, with the approaching 2019 parliamentary and presidential elections many have begun to worry about the future of these reform efforts and Ukraine’s domestic stability. Poroshenko has been slow to enact anti-corruption measures and concerns are growing that opposition figures may be targeted by internal security forces. Recommendations were provided for improving the current US strategy for Ukraine.


Ambassador Bill Taylor

Ambassador William B. Taylor is the executive vice president at the U.S. Institute of Peace.  Earlier, he was the special coordinator for Middle East Transitions in the U.S. State Department.  He oversaw assistance and support to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria.  He served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009.

He also served 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 earlier served on the staff of Senator Bill Bradley.

He is a graduate of West Point and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and served as an infantry platoon leader and combat company commander in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and Germany.

He is married with two adult children.


Melinda Haring

Melinda Haring is the editor of the UkraineAlert blog, which is the Atlantic Council’s most popular publication. Its articles are regularly republished by NewsweekKyiv PostNovoe VremyaHuffington Post, Real Clear Defense, and World Affairs Journal. In 2016, UkraineAlert’s most popular article garnered more than 100,000 hits.  

Haring is a longtime observer of political developments in the Eurasia region, and her analysis has been featured in The Washington Post, Foreign PolicyNewsweekThe Kyiv Post, PRI, and broadcast and published by NPR, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Voice of AmericaHaring is the author of the report Reforming the Democracy Bureaucracy and a contributor to Does Democracy Matter? (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017)Haring has worked for Eurasia Foundation, Freedom House, and the National Democratic Institute, where she managed democracy assistance programs in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia. A graduate of Georgetown University’s Democracy and Governance Program, she holds an MA in Government with a certificate in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Haring is a member of the board of East Europe Foundation in Kyiv, Ukraine, and a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Worldview Series: Baltic States

Partnership for a Secure America is excited to announce a new partnership with the Embassies of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania for 2017 titled The Worldview Series: Baltic States. This is the third installment of PSA’s program, The Worldview Series which aims to build deeper understanding of the important decisions American policy-makers face regarding U.S. foreign policy. The Embassies and PSA have designed this program to improve congressional insight on the Baltic States to better inform U.S. foreign policy decisions on Capitol Hill.

The series features off-the-record events with leading transatlantic experts from government, think tank, and business arenas. Focusing on a holistic understanding of the Baltic States’ histories, relations with the United States, and security situations, this program aims to build understanding of the important decisions American policy-makers face regarding US-Baltic relations.

The Embassies of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are educational participants in the Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act, authorized by the U.S. Department of State.


Why the U.S. Should Care

October 23rd – Ambassador Andris Teikmanis and Mr. Ilja Laurs discussed the diplomatic and business relationships that exist between the Baltic States and the U.S. and European Union. They also discussed the value of this strong relationship to U.S. national interests.

Featuring:

Ambassador Andris Teikmanis – Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia to the United States of America

Mr. Ilja Laurs – Lithuanian Tech Entrepreneur


Security in the Region

October 30th – Mr. Tom Goffus, Mr. Lee Litzenberger  and Ambassador John Heffern discussed the security environment in the Baltic States, Russia’s influence operations in the region, and NATO’s response. They  considered how the U.S., NATO and the Baltic States can work together to ensure security in the region while deterring Russia and other potential foes.

Featuring:

Mr. Tom Goffus – Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO

Mr. Lee Litzenberger – Former Deputy Permanent Representative and Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Mission to NATO

Ambassador John Heffern – Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs


History and Transformation of the Baltic States

November 6th – Ambassadors Rolandas Krišciūnas and Lauri Lepik along with Mr. Paul Goble discussed the history of the three Baltic States, their transition from Soviet occupation to full members of the European community, and the economic transformation each of the three states experienced.

Featuring:

Ambassador Rolandas Krišciūnas – Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania to the United States of America

Ambassador H.E. Lauri Lepik – Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to the United States of America

Mr. Paul Goble – Former Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of State

 


Delegation to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

November 18th-26th – Participants traveled to the Baltic States for a week-long delegation trip to gain an on-the-ground perspective at issues facing US-Baltic States relations. The delegation visited Tallinn, Estonia; Riga, Latvia; and Vilnius, Lithuania. The delegation met with government and defense officials, business representatives, U.S. forces stationed in Latvia, and others.

PSA Launches Series with Baltic States

Partnership for a Secure America is excited to announce a new partnership with the Embassies of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania for 2017 titled The Worldview Series: Baltic States. This is the third installment of PSA’s program, The Worldview Series which aims to build deeper understanding of the important decisions American policy-makers face regarding U.S. foreign policy. The Embassies and PSA have designed this program to improve congressional insight on the Baltic States to better inform U.S. foreign policy decisions on Capitol Hill.

The series features off-the-record events with leading transatlantic experts from government, think tank, and business arenas. Focusing on a holistic understanding of the Baltic States’ histories, relations with the United States, and security situation, this program aims to build understanding of the important decisions American policy-makers face regarding US-Baltic relations.

The Embassies of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are educational participants in the Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act, authorized by the U.S. Department of State.

Madeleine Albright at Bipartisan National Security Forum

Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board member and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discussed the role of the United States in the world today with Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) at the Capitol Hill National Security Forum. Albright discussed bipartisanship, the role of the United States in the world, China, and Russia and NATO.

Albright on Bipartisanship

Madeleine Albright began by emphasizing the importance of bipartisanship in resolving national security threats. She explained that bipartisanship is essential for success, calling it the “hallmark of American foreign policy.” On this point, she acknowledged the important role of congressional staffers in advancing bipartisan solutions. Most of all, Albright recommended staffers form relationships and travel on delegation trips with other staffers in order to advance bipartisan solutions. She pointed towards her own friendship with Senator Jesse Helms, which allowed her to produce agreements on foreign policy. Albright finished her remarks by stating that bipartisan solutions would “make the Senate great again.”

America’s Role in the World

Albright promoted the need for a rule-based world order as it prevents the world from devolving into chaos. She explained the consistent involvement of the United States in creating these rules, but she warned that not following through with our self-created rules can weaken our position and image in the international community. When questioned on the topic of advancing human rights in the world, Albright responded, “Why should we worry about people in far away places?…Because our way of life depends on what happens in these other countries,” expressing the necessity of human rights in global peace and security.

China

Secretary Albright emphasized the dangers of not following internationally-accepted rules by pointing towards China, whose actions in the South China Sea are eroding the rule-based world order. China’s island-building, which was deemed illegal, has created more instability in the region. She highlighted that the instability caused by China’s actions supports the need for a rule-based order throughout the world.

Russia and NATO

On the topic of Russia, Albright reaffirmed the importance of NATO as leverage against Russia. With the rising threat that Russia poses to liberal alliances and institutions, Albright underscored that NATO is necessary for defending against armed attacks, but also for advancing the common goals of liberal democracies. She pointed towards Ukraine and Georgia,  which have gained confidence in promoting the goals and values of liberal democracies simply by being affiliated with NATO, despite lacking membership.

USIP: A National Security Resource For Congress

On February 8th, Ambassador Bill Taylor, Executive Vice President of the U.S. Institute of Peace and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine discussed the foreign policy and national security challenges facing the United States in 2017. He highlighted the key foreign policy take-aways from USIP’s Passing the Baton Conference that reviewed the global challenges confronting the U.S during the transition period between outgoing and incoming administrations.


Ambassador Bill Taylor

Ambassador William B. Taylor is the executive vice president at the U.S. Institute of Peace.  Earlier, he was the special coordinator for Middle East Transitions in the U.S. State Department.  He oversaw assistance and support to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria.  He served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009.

He also served 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 earlier served on the staff of Senator Bill Bradley.

He is a graduate of West Point and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and served as an infantry platoon leader and combat company commander in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and Germany.

He is married with two adult children.


This was the 36th event in the USIP-PSA Congressional Briefing Series – Topics on International Conflict Resolution and Prevention, and 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.

NATO Challenges: Turkey & Ukraine

On September 12, Amb. Bill Taylor, Executive Vice President, United States Institute of Peace, and Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President, Atlantic Council, will discuss recent developments and challenges facing NATO due to recent major events. Turkey and Ukraine pose unique and potentially long-term challenges for NATO. These challenges have forced American policy-makers to grapple with the role of U.S. leadership, recommendations for an effective security strategy, and even NATO’s evolution and mandate.


Ambassador William Taylor

Amb. TaylorAmbassador Taylor is the executive vice president at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Earlier, he was the special coordinator for Middle East Transitions in the U.S. State Department. He oversaw assistance and support to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria. He served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009. He also served 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.


 

Mr. Damon Wilson

Damon WilsonDamon Wilson is executive vice president of the Atlantic Council, serving as both a thought leader and manager with responsibility for strategy and strategic initiatives, program development and integration, and institutional development and organizational effectiveness. His work is committed to advancing a Europe whole, free, and at peace to include Europe’s East, the Western Balkans, and the Black Sea region; to strengthening the NATO Alliance; and to fostering a transatlantic partnership capable of tackling global challenges and promoting its common values. His areas of expertise include NATO, transatlantic relations, Central and Eastern Europe, and national security issues.


This was the 32nd event in the USIP/PSA 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 international conflict, resolution and prevention.

Off-the-Record with Dr. Nadia Diuk

On August 8th, Dr. Nadia Diuk, Vice President at the National Endowment for Democracy, joined participants in the Congressional Partnership Program for an off-the-record dinner discussion on Russian foreign policy. Dr. Diuk discussed Russia’s soft and hard power approaches to global events, including propaganda and military intervention around the world.


Nadia Diuk

Nadia DiukDr. Diuk serves as Vice President, Programs for Europe, Eurasia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a private nonprofit organization funded by the U.S. Congress to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts. For over twenty years prior to her appointment as Vice President, she supervised NED programs in Europe and Eurasia, working on programs in support of independent publishing, human rights, alternative culture and strategies for democratic change in East Central Europe before 1989, up to the challenges of the present day.

Dr. Diuk is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She gained a Bachelor of Arts (with honors) in History at the University of Sussex (United Kingdom). Her Master of Philosophy in Russian and East European Studies and Doctorate (D. Phil.) in Modern History were gained at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford.

Off-the-Record with Ambassador William Taylor

On May 24th, Ambassador William Taylor joined participants in the Congressional Partnership Program for an off-the-record dinner discussion on Russian actions in Ukraine. Ambassador Taylor, former Ambassador to Ukraine, also discussed the relations between the United States and Russia.


William Taylor

Ambassador Taylor is the executive vice president at the U.S. Institute of Peace.  Earlier, he was the special coordinator for Middle East Transitions in the U.S. State Department.  He oversaw assistance and support to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria.  He served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009.

He also served 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 earlier served on the staff of Senator Bill Bradley.

He is a graduate of West Point and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and served as an infantry platoon leader and combat company commander in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and Germany.

Civil Non-Violent Resistance: Why it Works and Why it Matters

Dr. Maria Stephan, Senior Policy Fellow at the US Institute of Peace, and two prominent activists who led civil resistance campaigns in conflict zones discussed the importance of non-violent resistance, what makes these campaigns successful and what Congress can do to ensure their success.


Dr. Maria J. Stephan

Dr. Maria J. Stephan is a senior policy fellow at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, where she focuses on the dynamics of civil resistance and their relevance for violent conflict prevention and democratic development. Previously, Stephan was lead foreign affairs officer in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO), where she worked on both policy and operations.  Earlier, she was detailed to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan to focus on subnational governance and civil-military planning. Prior to government service, Stephan directed policy and research at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), a DC-based NGO dedicated to developing and disseminating knowledge about nonviolent struggle.  She is the co-author of Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (Columbia University Press, 2011).  The latter book was awarded the 2012 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Prize by the American Political Science Association for the best book published in political science and the 2012 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.


Omolola Adele-Oso

Omolola “Lola” Adele-Oso serves as the Executive Director & Co-Founder of Act4Accountability (ACT4). ACT4’s mission is to create a culture of accountability among Africans and in the Diaspora. She advocates for accountability and transparency and develops tools that promote civil engagement and social change. Prior to joining ACT4 Lola served as the Program Manager at Taproot Foundation’s Washington, DC office. As Program Manager, Lola oversaw Taproot’s docket of projects in the Washington, DC area. Her role was to offer support and serve as the liaison between Pro Bono Consultants and the nonprofits seeking their expertise. Previously, Lola served as the Operation Manager and Community Organizer at National AIDS Housing Coalition. She was also a Project Manager and Designer at GTM Architects for six years. Omolola attended Howard University and studied Architecture and earned a Bachelors degree in 2001. Lola received her Master’s degree in Organization Development in May 2013.


Ielyzaveta Shchepetylnykova

Ielyzaveta (Liza) Shchepetylnykova is a Fulbright scholar at the George Washington University and a monitor of academic freedom violations in Ukraine at the Scholars at Risk Network. Prior to joining the Fulbright Program, Liza served as a president of the Ukrainian Association of Student Self-government – the national union of students in Ukraine, which represents students of the country in higher education decision-making on national and international level. Liza led Ukrainian student protests during the Euromaidan and represented youngsters, as a Maidan Council Presidium Member. Likewise, she was charring work of the Maidan Council committee on youth and students issues, acting in the protection of young protesters rights and building international solidarity network with young people from other countries. After victory of Euromaidan she was among the movement representatives nominated for the Sakharov prize by the European Parliament.


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