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When the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine in February 2022, it anticipated a swift victory over its neighbor. However, Ukraine launched a determined fightback, stunning the world by successfully defending its capital Kyiv, its second largest city of Kharkiv, and other important areas. But as the months wore on, Moscow made key gains and now controls a majority of the eastern Donbas region. The costs have been severe, with the war killing tens of thousands, displacing millions of Ukrainians, and causing billions of dollars in damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure.
This edition of “The World Today” features policy, media, academic, and country experts who will update on the state of Ukraine after seven months of conflict and discuss what it might do next amid continued Russian aggression and grave human rights abuses. How might Ukraine fare as the conflict drags on, and how can international support be most effective in the long term?
Iryna Mazur was appointed to the post of honorary consul of Ukraine to Philadelphia in 2019. Mazur practiced law in Ukraine where she held various positions including working at the Antimonopoly Committee of the Lviv Region. A native of Lviv, Ukraine, she moved to the United States 18 years ago and received an LLM degree in 2009 from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. She is admitted to the Pennsylvania bar. Together with her husband, Francois-Ihor Mazur, she is a partner at the Mazur Law Firm, PC, with a primary focus on immigration law. Mazur has been very active in the Ukrainian community in the United States and serves on the board member of two non-profit organizations: Razom for Ukraine and the Ukrainian Federation of America. She was also appointed and previously served as an advisor to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations and the Foreign Relations Committee of the Ukrainian Parliament.
Trudy Rubin is the Worldview columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, a member of the Inquirer's editorial board, and a visiting fellow at Perry World House. Her column runs in many other US newspapers. Rubin spent three weeks on the ground in Ukraine in July 2022. In 2019, Rubin received the Overseas Press Club of America’s Flora Lewis Award for Best Commentary in international affairs. In 2017 and 2001, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In 2010, she received the Arthur Ross Award for distinguished analysis of foreign affairs from the American Academy of Diplomacy. She is the author of Willful Blindness: The Bush Administration and Iraq. Rubin has special expertise on the Middle East, South Asia, and Russia. In recent years, she has written from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Russia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, Turkey, France, Italy, Britain and Germany. Before joining the Inquirer in 1983, she was Middle East correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor. Rubin is a graduate of Smith College and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Rudra Sil is a professor of political science and director of graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and has been teaching at Penn since 1996. Since 2011, he has also been serving as the Penn School of Arts and Sciences' director of the Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business. His scholarly interests encompass Russian/Eurasian studies, comparative politics, international development, labor politics, and qualitative methodology. He is also an elected board member of the Committee on Concepts and Methods of IPSA, the International Political Science Association. He is author, co-author or co-editor of seven books and three dozen articles and book chapters. He is currently working on a book titled Fate of a Former Superpower: Post-Soviet Russia in Comparative and Historical Perspective (under contract with Cambridge University Press). Sil is the recipient of the 2019 Dorothy Day Award for Outstanding Labor Research and the 2022 Ira A. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching at Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences.
Alexander Vershbow is a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC and a distinguished visiting fellow at Perry World House. He was deputy secretary general of NATO from 2012 to 2016, the first American to hold that position. He was directly involved in shaping the Alliance’s response to Russia’s 2014 aggression against Ukraine, adapting NATO’s deterrence posture, and deepening NATO’s partnerships across the globe. A career diplomat since 1977, Vershbow served as US assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs from 2009 to 2012; US ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2005 to 2008; US ambassador to Russia from 2001 to 2005; and US ambassador to NATO from 1998 to 2001. He also held numerous senior positions in Washington, including special assistant to the President for European Affairs at the National Security Council from 1994 to 1997, and State Department director of Soviet Union Affairs from 1989 to 1991. Vershbow received a BA in Russian and East European studies from Yale University and a master’s in international relations from Columbia University.
LaShawn R. Jefferson is Perry World House’s senior executive director. She brings to Perry World House over two decades of legal and policy advocacy, strategic planning and communications, and research and writing on women’s international human rights through civil-society organizations and philanthropy. She joined Perry World House after almost seven years at the Ford Foundation, where she worked to advance women’s human rights globally and in the U.S. through field building and investments in the areas of rights advocacy; strategic communications and engagement; intersectional leadership and analysis; research; and capacity building. For fourteen years, she also held several leadership positions at Human Rights Watch, a global human rights organization, where she led their women’s rights research and advocacy work, providing strategic and intellectual guidance to the work on women’s international human rights, crafting and executing long-term advocacy strategies, and representing HRW at the highest level of national and international fora. She is the author of many reports on a variety of issues confronting women around the world and has written op-eds and articles that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and the International Herald Tribune. She received a BA from Connecticut College and an MA in international relations and Latin American studies from Johns Hopkins SAIS.
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