MISSOULA – Iuliia Mendel, the former press secretary to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, will launch the Fall 2022 Mansfield Dialogues at the University of Montana on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Mendel will present “Ukraine: Our Fight for Independence” at 7 p.m. MDT via Zoom. She will share her first-person account from the ground in Ukraine during Russia’s invasion and describe from her front-row seat many of the key events preceding the 2022 Russian invasion. She attended meetings between Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin, visited the front lines in Donbas and fielded press inquiries after the infamous phone calls between former U.S. President Donald Trump and Zelenskyy.
The event is free and open to the public, but Zoom seats are limited. Advance registration is required at https://www.umt.edu/mansfield/.
“The war in Ukraine is of critical importance to Montanans given shared challenges in oil and gas, wheat, nuclear issues and democracy,” said Deena Mansour, executive director of UM’s Mansfield Center. “We welcome former Iuliia Mendel as part of our work to support a knowledgeable and engaged citizenry.”
When Mendel, a Ukrainian journalist, got the call that she had been hired to work for Zelenskyy, she had no idea what was to come. As a young, female journalist thrust into a high-profile job on the international stage, Mendel experienced major historical events firsthand.
She saw Zelenskyy’s efforts to transform his country into a vibrant, prosperous European democracy. Mendel can shed light on the massive economic problems facing Ukraine and the entrenched corrupt oligarchs in league with Russia. She witnessed the Kremlin’s repeated attacks to discredit Zelenskyy through disinformation and an army of bots and trolls. She can detail her own life as a millennial in Zelenskyy’s new Ukraine, where she said goodbye to her fiancé who joined the front lines, like so many other Ukrainian men.
Students from high schools across Montana – including communities in Hardin, Brockton, Whitefish and Bozeman – will view the Mansfield Dialogue and submit questions. With the support of its bookseller partner, Fact and Fiction, the Mansfield Center will distribute more than 120 copies of Mendel’s book, “The Fight of Our Lives,” to Montana students.
Founded by an Act of Congress in 1983, the Mansfield Center fosters globally minded leaders of integrity to honor Mike Mansfield’s legacy of patriotic statesmanship. As the U.S. Senate’s longest-serving majority leader during polarizing times, Mansfield’s steady hand was a stabilizing force for our country.
Contact: Deena Mansour, executive director, UM Mansfield Center, 406-274-0992, firstname.lastname@example.org.