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Liberty + Leadership News: March 4


We hope you enjoy these news stories about TFAS activities, alumni and events this week. Sign up to receive TFAS updates, and visit us on social media for additional up-to-the-moment TFAS news!

TFAS Stands With Ukraine

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) strongly condemns the unprovoked invasion by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sovereign country of Ukraine. TFAS has many alumni in Ukraine. We pray for their safety at this time of grave danger. We also express our heartfelt gratitude to the many TFAS alumni in central Europe who have offered their homes to refugees fleeing violence in Ukraine.

TFAS students present artwork representing their native country of Ukraine for Cultural Presentation Night at TFAS Prague 2019.

Ukraine is an independent, democratic and free nation. It signed an accord to voluntarily eliminate its nuclear arsenal. It poses no threat to the sovereignty and safety of its neighbors. By launching this invasion of Ukraine, Russia has upended peace in Europe and has created a humanitarian disaster on many levels. We express our deep concern for the safety and welfare of the Ukrainian people, and we look to the courage of many Russians who are standing up for Ukraine and against this costly war.

Throughout history, the world has paid a heavy price for the actions of power hungry and insecure tyrants who exercise power without regard to the norms of civilized behavior and the internationally accepted standards of human rights. The actions of Russian leaders during the past week are another example of such behavior and its deadly consequences.

As an organization bringing educational programs to the young people of the former Soviet Union and central and eastern Europe since 1989 – including Russian and Ukrainian students – we stand in solidarity with Ukraine and its people.

Share the statement at TFAS.org/Ukraine.

TFAS Announces Enhanced Online Networking Platform for Alumni

Alumna Anna Smith Lacey ’07, ’08 greets a student while volunteering for the annual Alumni Roundtable event.

One of the greatest benefits of completing a TFAS program is joining the TFAS Alumni Network. TFAS alumni represent the courageous leaders the world needs, and they are actively serving in roles of influence in journalism, business, economics, law and government. This network not only helps alumni launch careers, but also allows them to create relationships with professionals in their field.

In honor of its 55th anniversary this February, TFAS announced the relaunch of TFAS Alumni Connect, an enhanced version of the online alumni platform that allows alumni to continue building these vital connections while providing them with exclusive access to program updates, upcoming events, job postings, volunteer opportunities and more.

TFAS has also established a team of staff members dedicated to alumni engagement. The creation of the Alumni Engagement team is part of TFAS’s new strategic plan initiative to engage TFAS alumni in meaningful ways. They will build out a robust, purposeful alumni program, providing alumni with ongoing support, resources and recognition for their accomplishments. Their aim is to connect alumni around the globe with each other as well as with TFAS activities and professional opportunities.

The Alumni Engagement team is committed to meeting the ever-evolving needs of TFAS alumni.

To learn more about TFAS Alumni Connect, alumni engagement and other programs for alumni visit TFAS.org/alumniconnectlauch.

Public Policy Fellows Explore the Founders’ View of U.S. Foreign Policy with Expert Will Ruger

Will Ruger leads the discussion on foreign policy through the lens of the Founding Fathers.

Will Ruger, president of the American Institute for Economic Research and former TFAS Asia professor, joined Public Policy Fellows on Feb. 15 for a discussion on U.S. foreign policy through the lens of the Founding Fathers.

A veteran of the Afghanistan War, Ruger has received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign medal with campaign star, and the Non-Article 5 NATO Service Medal. In 2020, he was appointed to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board by President Trump. His expertise in U.S. foreign policy has led him to publish several academic journals, books and op-eds for outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post.  The discussion focused on the current state of U.S. foreign policy compared to the foreign policy philosophy of the past. By analyzing the text of “Washington’s Farewell Address,” “John Quincy Adams’ 1821 Foreign Policy address to Congress,” and “The Conquest of the United States by Spain,” Fellows explored the ways in which foreign policy has evolved since the American founding.

Emily Johnson, PPF ’21, (center) engages during the discussion.

Emily Johnson, PPF ’21, said the discussion helped her realize the crucial role foreign policy plays in creating domestic policy.

“Dr. Ruger’s perspective on the Founders’ view of foreign policy shed an interesting light on some of today’s most pressing issues,” said Johnson. “Foreign policy has the potential to greatly impact domestic policy, and right now, one could argue there’s a real opportunity to reposition America’s approach to foreign affairs. It will be interesting to see how future generations view foreign policy priorities over the next few decades.”

The TFAS Public Policy Fellows continued their Fellowship with a retreat to Charlottesville from Feb. 25-27, and will hold monthly discussions throughout the spring.

Post of the Week

TFAS International hosted alumnus Bill Wirtz ’17 for an exclusive Instagram Live interview about his experience participating in the European Journalism Institute (EJI), a program co-hosted by TFAS and The Media Project. Watch the full interview below.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by TFAS International (@tfasintl)


Alumni speak out and report on the conflict in Ukraine

Jakub Kulhanek ’07, recently appointed ambassador of Czech Republic to the UN, spoke at a General Assembly special session on Ukraine. His remarks begin at the 1 hour, 53 minute time mark.


Daniel McAdams, Novak ’98, writes about the propaganda wars in Ukraine for Eurasia Review.

TFAS Professor Paul Glader ’99, ’00 interviews Ukrainian Mariya Kapinos ’18 about the invasion of her country on a Religion Unplugged podcast episode.

Paul Glader ’99, ’00 also contributed to this article on the support rising up for Ukraine.

Maria Shagina ’09 is interviewed on this BBC radio piece and on Deutsche Welle on the sanctions against Russia.

Jakub Janda ’13, Director of the European Values Center for Security Policy in Prague, is one of the many TFAS alumni speaking out against the invasion of Ukraine.

Gloria Alvarez ’08, a Guatemalan activist, is peacefully protesting against the invasion.

Antonia Colibasanu ’03, ’07 is quoted in this Newsweek article about Putin.

European Journalism Institute professor and photojournalist Sean Gallup is reporting on the front lines of the Polish-Ukrainian border.

Joseph Lawler, Novak ’13, writes for the Washington Examiner about the economic consequences of the invasion.

More News

Naomi Schaefer Riley, Novak ’01, writes about the lasting effects of having and being a favorite child for Deseret News.

Dina Aboughazala ’05, ’08 and her work with the media startup Egab are profiled in this International Journalists’ Network article.

Daniel Elizalde ’19 writes about China, the U.S. and globalization in the Graduate Journal of American University’s School of Public Affairs.

Jordan Forbes Harding ’05 is now the director of external relations at the American Federation for Children.

John Heltman ’02 has been named the D.C. bureau chief at American Banker.

David Ray ’07 filed for re-election to the Arkansas House of Representatives. He says he will “never stop fighting for lower taxes, limited government, individual freedom, & opportunity for all!”

Sergei Kelley ’21 is now a legislative assistant for State Rep. Mary Whiteford of Michigan.

Emilio Ruiz ’20 is starting a new position as a legal assistant in the dispute resolution practice at Linklaters.

Gil Guerra, PPF ’21, was awarded the Ricardo Salinas Scholarship to study the future of warfare through The Aspen Institute’s Socrates seminar program.

Mark Stansberry ’76 interviews Gray Frederickson in a new “National Energy Talk” podcast episode.

Eric McLain, Law ’21, will intern with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia this summer.

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