SIPA Magazine

SIPA Responds to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Posted Jun 24 2022
Through the month of March 2022, Low Library was illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, marking the university's support for the Ukrainian people in the face of the ongoing invasion of their country by Russian forces. (Photo by Eileen Barroso)
The Columbia community holds a candlelight vigil in support of Ukraine on March 8. Photo by Diane Bondareff

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, SIPA and Columbia faculty have been prominent and prolific commentators, in the media and at Columbia University panel discussions. As the war has continued, so has their writing and commentary for varied news outlets. SIPA students and alumni have engaged in the war as activists, journalists, and more.

The invasion represents perhaps the most significant threat to peace and security in Europe since the end of the Cold War.”

– Thomas J. Christensen, April 26

Student Yuliya Petsyk is Voice on Ukraine

Yuliya Petsyk IF ’21, MPA-DP ’22, former monitoring and evaluation officer, UNDP Ukraine, appeared on a European Union Delegation to the United Nations “EU Talks” panel on May 23.

Petsyk also participated in the SIPA panel “Russia’s War Against Ukraine: What Happened — and What Happens Next?” on April 26, which also featured moderator Stephen Sestanovich, the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor for the Practice of International Diplomacy and director of the International Fellows Program; Timothy M. Frye MIA ’91, the Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Post- Soviet Foreign Policy, Columbia University; and Joshua Yaffa MIA ’08, IF ’08, a contributing writer at the New Yorker and author of Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin’s Russia.

It’s hard to imagine a president who has more in his bones a sense of what’s at stake in an issue like this than Biden, who has been the ultimate transatlanticist.”

— Stephen Sestanovich, February 25

University Panel Discussion on Ukraine Features SIPA Faculty

On March 8 Columbia University convened a panel discussion on the war in Ukraine in Low Library. Lisa Anderson, the James T. Shotwell Professor Emerita of International Relations and a former dean of SIPA, moderated the discussion, which included panelists Keren Yarhi-Milo (now dean of SIPA), director of the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies and Arnold A. Saltzman Professor of War and Peace Studies, and Valerii Kuchynskyi, adjunct professor of international and public affairs and former permanent representative of Ukraine to the United Nations.

That same evening the Columbia community held a candlelight vigil on the steps of Low Library, with the front of the building lit yellow and blue in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

The question about [Putin’s] motivation is not just a philosophical question, it’s one that we really have to wrestle with because it gives us clues as to what he might do next and how we could possibly end it.”

— Keren Yarhi-Milo, March 8

Student Conducts Humanitarian Efforts In Ukraine

Through her NGO, NoirUnited International, Macire Aribot MIA ’23 is working to help Black refugee students who have faced discrimination while fleeing the war. Aribot and her team traveled throughout Europe to meet and directly assist the refugee students and families, helping to raise over $125,000 and coordinating the evacuation of 41 students from Kherson, Ukraine.

Ukrainian Minister Discusses the Digital Front of the War

On April 6 the Picker Center for Executive Education’s Food for Thought lecture series welcomed Alex Bornyakov MPA ’19, Ukraine’s deputy minister of digital transformation, for a discussion with SIPA adjunct professor Matthew Murray MIA ’88 called “Fighting the War in Ukraine on the

Digital Technology Front.”

We thought we kind of knew Putin. Why is it that nobody in Kyiv, in Kharkiv, prepared for this? Why? Because it was inconceivable that a shrewd guy like Putin would actually do this and launch a massive invasion.”

— Peter Clement, February 25

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