McCain Institute’s Dr. Evelyn Farkas led a delegation of American technology and defense executives to Kyiv and Lviv for meetings with senior Ukrainian officials
KYIV, Ukraine — The McCain Institute at Arizona State University (ASU) last week led a business delegation of executives and policy leaders on a trip to Kyiv and Lviv for meetings with senior Ukrainian officials, thought leaders, and NGO leaders.
McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn N. Farkas was joined on the trip by technology and defense executives from the McCain Institute’s Ukraine Business Alliance, including Palantir Technologies, Microsoft, Skydio, and Fortem Technologies. The purpose of the visit was to further understand how the American private sector can support Ukraine’s war effort, hold Russian war criminals accountable, and assist in reconstruction.
“If Senator John McCain were here today, he would be a constant presence in Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine, urging the U.S. government and business community to continue their supporting efforts and letting the Ukrainians know that America stands with them,” said McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn N. Farkas. “That is why this trip is so important. It is imperative that we remain steadfast in backing Ukraine’s determination to defeat Vladimir Putin and stop the spread of tyranny.”
During the weeklong trip, Dr. Farkas led the group in meeting with current government leaders, former ministers, members of the parliament, members of civil society, and the media, including the prime minister of Ukraine, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and the prosecutor general. Dr. Farkas also spoke with American University Kyiv about global democracy.
The McCain Institute was also proud to give a $10,000 donation to the Olena Zelenska Foundation, whose aim is the reconstruction of medical and educational institutions in Ukraine. The delegation met with representatives of the foundation, which was started by the current First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska.
The Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal highlighted “business opportunities for investment and work in Ukraine” with the delegation and called on American “companies to participate in the rapid recovery.”
The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget A. Brink said that it was a “great meeting” with the “Ukraine Business Alliance to discuss the importance of private sector investment to Ukraine’s recovery.”
The Prosecutor General Of Ukraine Andriy Kostin quoted Senator McCain and expressed his gratitude for meeting with the delegation, writing, “John McCain aptly wrote in ‘Why Courage Matters,’ ‘Be brave. The rest is easy.’ Since Russia’s full-scale aggression began, Ukrainians have had a very similar motto: ‘Be brave like Ukraine’ … Pleased to have another meaningful meeting with the McCain Institute delegation. I’m deeply grateful for the Institute’s robust support.”
Accompanying Dr. Farkas on the trip were Michael Allen, Managing Director and Partner, Beacon Global Strategies; Wendy R. Anderson, Senior Vice President, Federal, National Security, Palantir Technologies; Ginny Badanes, Senior Director, Democracy Forward, Microsoft; Matt Chandler, Federal Manager, Skydio; Jon Gruen, CEO, Fortem Technologies; David Ignatius, Columnist, The Washington Post; Tom Malinowski, Non-Resident Senior Fellow, McCain Institute and former U.S. Congressman; and Tilemachos Moraitis, Government Affairs Manager, Microsoft.
“Palantir, as a founding member of the McCain Institute’s Ukraine Business Alliance, is honored to continue our steadfast and comprehensive support for Ukraine,” said Wendy R. Anderson, senior vice president, federal, national security, Palantir Technologies. “Our engagement, which began soon after the Russian invasion, spans from aiding in defense and the resettlement of refugees to facilitating the processing of crucial data pertaining to alleged war crimes and supporting the nation’s reconstruction endeavors. We are proud to stand alongside other innovative tech and defense technology firms, unified in commitment to share our resources, capabilities, and expertise to assist Ukraine and defend its sovereignty.”
“Microsoft was honored to join the McCain delegation to Ukraine where we were able to hear directly from the Ukrainian government and civil society about the situation on the ground,” said Ginny Badanes, senior director for Microsoft’s Democracy Forward Program. “Microsoft has been working closely with Ukraine since before the full-scale invasion and is proud to support their efforts to protect critical infrastructure against destructive cyberattacks, build operational continuity in the Azure cloud, and to continue their innovative digital transformation efforts.”
“Since day one of Russia’s invasion, Fortem has led the private sector’s support to Ukraine and the McCain Institute provided a critical forum for our engagement with Ukrainian leadership,” said Jon Gruen, CEO of Fortem Techonologies. “As the leader in airspace awareness, security, and defense for detecting and defeating dangerous drones, we are committed to constantly evolving our countermeasures to provide the flexibility needed to support our Ukrainian partners through the end of this conflict.”
“I was proud to join a delegation of American business and policy leaders to Ukraine last week. I was inspired as always by the courage of the Ukrainian people, who are fighting not just for their freedom and security, but for ours,” said Tom Malinowski, senior fellow at the McCain Institute. “Now is the time for the United States to renew and strengthen our support for their victory, and this visit helped us better understand what can and must be done.”
In November 2022, the McCain Institute launched the Ukraine Business Alliance to convene senior executives from American technology and defense companies, U.S. and Ukrainian government and military leaders, and foreign policy experts to strategize innovative public-private partnerships to support Ukraine. The Ukraine Business Alliance, conceived in partnership with Palantir Technologies, meets regularly to encourage cross-collaboration to support Ukraine’s victory.
Additional photos from the trip are included below: