On the Occasion of the One-year Anniversary of Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

Authored by:
James P. Pellow, Ed.D.

James P. Pellow, Ed.D.

This week will mark one year since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

CIEE was founded in the wake of World War II to advance peace by building bridges of trust and mutual understanding through people-to-people exchange. For 75 years, CIEE has responded to times of conflict with continued efforts to foster peaceful interaction between different nations, people, and cultures. This work has never been more important to our communities and our world.

CIEE continues to condemn Putin’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine and the assault it represents to the inalienable right of peace and freedom for independent nations everywhere.

The CIEE community around the world stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and has been finding ways to offer support for the Ukrainian people – from Ukrainian high school students who were in the U.S. at the time of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to families displaced by Russian bombing.

It has been nearly a year since we closed CIEE St. Petersburg, our oldest and longest serving international center that was opened in 1967. CIEE has promoted peaceful exchanges in Russia for more than 50 years, through the Cold War and many other challenging world events. On this anniversary of Russia’s initiation of war, we are thinking of the millions of Russian patriots and citizens who condemn their nation’s aggression, and we look forward to the day CIEE can again promote programs in Russia that focus on breaking down barriers, building bridges, and promoting respectful, peaceful exchange.

To remain engaged in building bridges in the region, CIEE will open a center in Tallinn, Estonia that will provide American college and high school students opportunities to expand their intercultural awareness, develop language fluency in Baltic and Russian languages, and embrace a multitude of academic and cultural learning options that are unique to Estonia.

CIEE also recommits in a special way to our strong, ten-year partnership with the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation (BAFF), whose mission is to deepen the ties between and among Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the United States through programs of education and exchange centering on economic growth and democratic values. By facilitating meaningful study abroad and exchange programs, we at CIEE aim to equip the next generation of leaders with the intercultural sensitivity and communication skills required to make the world more peaceful.

On this solemn anniversary, all of us at CIEE are reflecting on the importance of nurturing positive cross-cultural connections – in regions of conflict and all around the world. We are grateful for your partnership in this important work.

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