Ambassador of Ukraine to the US at HURI

motsyk 2Ambassador Olexander Motsyk.

On September 30–October 1, 2013 HURI hosted Olexander Motsyk, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the USA.

While at Harvard, Ambassador Motsyk met with University Marshal Jackie O’Neill, visited the Institute, had lunch with the HURI staff and visiting scholars, and gave a presentation at the weekly Seminar in Ukrainian Studies at the Center for Government and International Studies (CGIS).

Ambassador Motsyk is a summa cum laude graduate of the Taras Shevchenko Kyiv State University (now Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv) School of International Relations (Department of International Law). He is a career diplomat who served as ambassador to Turkey (1997–2001), Poland (2006–2010), and the US (2011–present). As a high-ranking officer of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs he headed the Directorate General for Treaties and Legal Affairs, and as first deputy minister he was responsible for Ukraine’s European integration.

Ambassador Motsyk is widely recognized as a skillful negotiator. He represented Ukraine at high-level talks with Moldova, Romania, and the Russian Federation. The successful resolution of many controversial and potentially explosive issues in Russo-Ukrainian relations are largely attributed to Mr. Motsyk’s talent and experience, including the delimitation of state borders, the demarcation of maritime zones in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov (including the contested Tuzla Spit Island), and the temporary deployment and operation of the Russian Black Sea Fleet on the territory of Ukraine.

In his talk “Ukraine in World Politics Today: Prospects and Challenges,” Ambassador Motsyk gave an impressive overview of Ukraine’s place in the contemporary world and described in great detail the state of Ukrainian-American relations. But perhaps the most exciting part of his presentation dealt with the process of Ukraine’s European integration.

According to the ambassador, the forthcoming November European Union Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, will mark a very important step in Ukraine’s return to Europe. Hopefully, this summit will endorse the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, thus raising the level of partnership with Europe and opening the way for Ukraine to “eventually become a member of the European family of nations.” “We fully understand,” said Ambassador Motsyk, “that the agreement itself will be only the beginning. European social, economic, and cultural standards are very high and if we honestly want to reach them there is a lot of work to be done. But the most important thing is that Ukraine attaches paramount importance to improving its economy, strengthening the constitutional system, and the rule of law, as well as its democratic institutions, in order to transform a former Soviet republic into a truly democratic and prosperous European country.”

During the open and candid discussion that followed, the ambassador once again reiterated his conviction that European integration was, is, and will always be the “true priority” of the Ukrainian state and of the current government. “Our European association,” concluded Mr. Motsyk, “will be a win-win solution for everyone. Not only for Europe and Ukraine, but also for the United States and, eventually, for Russia.”

It was extremely encouraging to hear that statement from Ambassador Motsyk. It gives everyone renewed hope that the promises made at the dawn of Ukrainian independence will finally be acted upon and eventually fulfilled.

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