Herbert J. Ellison Memorial Lecture

2023 – Marie Yovanovitch

Ukraine and Russia: A Conversation with Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch

March 30, 2023

7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Kane Hall Room 130

University of Washington



Photographer – Jennifer Watkins

About the Speaker

Marie Yovanovitch is the author of a New York Times best-selling memoir, Lessons from the Edge.  She is also a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a non-Resident Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University.  Previously, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine (2016-2019), the Republic of Armenia (2008-2011) and the Kyrgyz Republic (2005-2008).

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.  Earlier she served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, where she coordinated policy on European and global security issues.  Before that, she was the bureau’s Deputy Assistant Secretary responsible for issues related to the Nordic, Baltic, and Central European countries.

In 2003-2004, Ambassador Yovanovitch was the Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.  Prior to that, she was the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine.  Within the Department of State, Ambassador Yovanovitch has worked on the Russia desk, the Office of European Security Affairs, and the Operations Center.  She has also worked overseas at the U.S. Embassies in Moscow, London, Ottawa, and Mogadishu.

A Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Ambassador Yovanovitch has earned the Senior Foreign Service Performance Award eight times and the State Department’s Superior Honor Award on nine occasions.  She is also the recipient of two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and the Secretary’s Diplomacy in Human Rights Award.

Following her retirement in 2020, Ambassador 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, the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government, and the Vandenberg Award.

Ambassador Yovanovitch is a graduate of Princeton University where she earned a BA in History and Russian Studies.  She studied at the Pushkin Institute and received an MS from the National Defense University.


About the Moderator

Carol J. Williams (UW ’77) is a retired foreign correspondent who covered revolution and war for 30-plus years for Associated Press and Los Angeles Times. She has reported from more than 80 countries, with a focus on USSR/Russia and Eastern Europe. She has been awarded more than a dozen international reporting honors, including five Overseas Press Club awards and a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1994 for her coverage of the Balkan wars. Retired from mainstream journalism, she curates “World Briefing by CJ Williams” on Twitter @cjwilliamslat, writes on foreign affairs for Seattle’s PostAlley.org, and speaks on media and foreign policy at events held by civic groups, libraries and University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies.



The annual Herbert J. Ellison Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and the Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies at the University of Washington in partnership with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation.