Directors

Ambassador Roman Popadiuk

Chairman, Board of Directors
Roman Popadiuk is a retired member of the career Senior Foreign Service. He served as the first U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. He has written about and is frequently interviewed on issues relating to U.S.-Ukraine relations, the situation in Ukraine and other national security and global issues. He currently serves as President of the Diplomacy Center Foundation, a non-profit engaged with the State Department in building an American diplomacy museum at the State Department.

Roman began his career in the Foreign Service in 1981. He served in Mexico City from 1982-1984 where he did consular and political work and was special assistant to the ambassador. From 1989-1992, Roman served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs under President George H.W. Bush, positions he also held toward the end of President Ronald Reagan’s administration.

He served as International Affairs Advisor and senior civilian on the staff of the Commandant of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (Eisenhower School) from 1995-1998. Prior to serving in that capacity, Roman spent two years as a member of the faculty of the school of Area Studies at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. From 1999 to 2012 he served as the executive director of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation at Texas A&M University. At Texas A&M, Roman also served as chairman of the executive committee of the China-U.S. Relations Conference, a biennial conference that examined the mutual relationship between the two countries.

Roman is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the World Affairs Councils of America. He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior advisor to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council. He is the author of The Leadership of George Bush and a co-author of Privileged and Confidential: The Secret History of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. He has been awarded the State Department’s Meritorious and Superior Honor awards.

Roman graduated with a B.A. from Hunter College and received a Ph.D. from the Graduate School, CUNY. He and his wife Judith have four children.

Ambassador Temuri Yakobashvili

Member, Board of Directors
Ambassador Temuri Yakobashvili has distinguished himself as a senior leader in government, international diplomacy, crisis management and negotiations, institution building, and leadership development. Currently founder and President of the TY Strategies LLC, boutique consultancy company and Executive Vice President of PASS LLC, a global social-impact consultancy, Yakobashvili also founded and remains president of the New International Leadership Institute, an NGO dedicated to fighting corruption and promoting good governance. From 2011-13 Yakobashvili served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia to the United States. From 2008-11, Yakobashvili served as Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister of Reintegration in the Republic of Georgia. In those positions, he led the transformation of the failed state into a functioning democracy. The World Bank has credited Georgia as the country with the most effective government reforms in the world, including the most successful anti-corruption efforts. Ambassador Yakobashvili put his diplomatic and negotiating expertise to use in crisis management during the Russo-Georgian war. After Russia occupied Georgian territories, he developed the internationally recognized Engagement Strategy for dealing with Russia occupied territories of Georgia. He has led negotiations with international organizations and individual states on conflict resolution matters. Prior to working as Deputy Prime Minister, Ambassador Yakobashvili served as a career diplomat. He holds diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. In 2012, he was decorated with Presidential Medal of Excellence. To develop the next generation of leaders, in 1998 Ambassador Yakobashvili co-founded the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS, currently Rondeli Foundation), the leading think tank in the Caucasus region. Graduates of its leadership development program now populate the senior ranks of the Georgian and other governments. Ambassador Yakobashvili holds a degree in physics from Tbilisi State University. In 1998, while at the Foreign Ministry, he pursued mid-career training at the Center for Political and Diplomatic Studies at Oxford University. In addition, he is a Yale World Fellow (2002) and in 2004 participated in the Executive Security Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In 2006 he was a visiting researcher at the Silk Road Study Center of Uppsala University, Sweden. During 2013-14, held the post of the resident Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. Fluent in Georgian, English, Russian and Hebrew, Ambassador Yakobashvili frequently contributes to local and international media on regional security and government reform.

David Rigsby

Member, Board of Directors
David Rigsby has enjoyed extensive experience from a career in the defense sector, including in the US Army as well as a consultant to private companies. Most recently, he developed WatchStander, which is an artificial intelligence-based system for sensor to attack. He chairs the Defense Committee of the Friends of Ukraine Network for the U.S. – Ukraine Foundation.

Ed Chow

Member, Board of Directors
Edward C. Chow, senior associate in the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, is an international energy expert with 40 years of industry experience. He has worked in Asia, Middle East, Africa, South America, Europe, Russia, Black Sea and Caspian regions. He has developed government policy and business strategy, while advising governments, international financial institutions, major oil companies, and leading multinational corporations. He has negotiated successfully multibillion-dollar oil and gas agreements and specializes in investments in emerging economies. Chow spent 20 years with Chevron Corporation in headquarter and overseas assignments, including head of international external relations and country manager in China. Chow is a graduate of Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in international affairs. He has published articles in leading academic and foreign policy journals on global energy developments, spoken on energy at international conferences, universities, and think tanks in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America, and appeared on major international media. He currently teaches at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

George Masiuk

Member, Board of Directors
George Masiuk has held many elected positions on The Washington Group's (TWG), Board of Directors. TWG is an Association of Ukrainian-American professionals. He served as TWG's president 1995-1997. He also chaired numerous TWG Leadership Conferences where U.S.-Ukraine relations were discussed. Presently, he is on the Board of Directors of the TWG Cultural Fund, whose mission is to preserve and nurture Ukrainian performing, literary and fine arts, and to share these treasures with the greater Washington community. In his professional life Mr. Masiuk worked as a telecommunications engineer in support of NASA, the DoD, and the FAA.

Jim O’Beirne

Member, Board of Directors
Retired Army Colonel, former Assistant Director of US Catholic Conference of Bishops , former Special Asst to Secretary of Defense for White House Liaison.

Jon Queen

Member, Board of Directors
Jon Queen has more than 20 years of investment banking, financial and corporate advisory experience. He is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst and he holds a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from the Kyiv School of Economics and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Cornell University. Mr. Queen began his career at John Hancock Financial Services in 1997, later moving to Latham & Watkins LLP where he worked as a corporate attorney. He left Latham & Watkins to begin trading commodities in Hong Kong for the International Environmental Trading Group, a subsidiary of the Japanese investment bank Capital Partners Securities, and later the Anemone Group, a joint venture partner with the world’s largest oil and gas trading company Vitol SA. During this period, he moved to Ukraine where he advised Ukraine's National Environmental Investments Agency and worked in leadership capacities at different Ukrainian investment banks. By the latter years of the Kyoto Protocol, Mr. Queen became one of the most active secondary market traders for carbon credits worldwide. He continues to have significant business and personal connections to Ukraine and speaks Russian as well as basic level Ukrainian.

Nadia K. McConnell

Member, Board of Directors
Nadia Komarnyckyj McConnell is the Founder and the President of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, one of Washington’s most visible organizations focused on US-Ukraine relations. Mrs. McConnell has been recognized through the years as a social entrepreneur visionary using her unique, steady, approach to building solid organizations and structures that make a difference in the world. Today in this critical time for the nation and people of Ukraine, Mrs. McConnell directs the development and implementation of projects and represents the Foundation in all related U.S.-Ukraine affairs. Prior to establishing the Foundation, Mrs. McConnel held several positions in the United States government including Director of Congressional Relations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Deputy Assistant Administrator for Legislative Affairs for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (1983 - 1987). While in the private sector Mrs. McConnell was involved in numerous activities related to Ukraine. She established and chaired Ukraine 2000, a Washington-based organization that played an active role in educating the American administration and Congress regarding Ukraine and urged stronger relations between the Untied States and Ukraine. Mrs. McConnel has received a number of awards for her community service, an Alumni Achievement Award from Arizona State University and several meritorious citations for her accomplishments from Presidents Kuchma and Yushchenko.

Orest Deychakiwsky

Vice-Chairman, Board of Directors
Orest Deychakiwsky worked at the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), an independent US government agency, from November 1981 to May 2017. His country responsibilities throughout most of his tenure included Ukraine, Belarus and Bulgaria. Other country responsibilities, for shorter durations, included Romania, Moldova, Hungary. Prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he served as casework supervisor, overseeing Soviet and Romanian emigration and family reunification cases and worked on Soviet political prisoner and other human rights issues. For many years, at varying times, he also held the positions of Intern Coordinator, NGO liaison, and Security Officer.

While at the Commission, Orest served as a member of official US delegations to numerous conferences and meetings of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and its predecessor, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). He has observed nearly three dozen elections in nine countries, mostly as a member of US delegations to OSCE Parliamentary Assembly international election observation missions.

Orest took the lead or assisted in the drafting of Congressional bills, resolutions, speeches and authored many Helsinki Commission and other publications. He has appeared at various policy and media forums addressing issues pertaining to his areas of responsibility. He is the author of many articles that have appeared in various publications over the decades.

Currently, Orest is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and a Senior Advisor at the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council. He writes a column called “Focus on Washington” for The Ukrainian Weekly. Past NGO activities include long-time Board Member and President of The Washington Group (1998-2000), at the time the largest Ukrainian-American professionals’ organization.

Orest is the recipient of Ukraine’s State Order of Merit III Degree and various awards and recognitions from Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Ukraine to the United States, and an award from the Government of Bulgaria. He is also the recipient of awards for his work from various organizations dealing with Ukraine and U.S-Ukraine relations, as well as from the Belarusian-American diaspora.

Orest’s education earned him a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and an M.A. from Georgetown University in Government and International Relations. He speaks fluent Ukrainian and has a good working knowledge of Belarusian and Russian.

Robert C. Heath

Treasurer, Board of Directors
Bob is Treasurer of the U.S. Ukraine Foundation. He is also Executive Director of the Diplomacy Center Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising private money to design and build the United States Diplomacy Center, a museum of American diplomacy to be located at the Department of State building that will feature the history, practice and challenges of American diplomacy. Bob is also Executive Director of the Public Diplomacy Council, a nonprofit committed to the academic study, professional practice, and responsible advocacy of public diplomacy as well as a Trustee of the American Council for International Education, a nonprofit that administrates major international exchange program.

In 1997, Bob completed 27 years as a career diplomat in the United States Foreign Service that included assignments for the United States Information Agency (USIA) in seven countries on four continents. His last assignment was as director of the United States Information Service in Kiev, Ukraine, from 1994-1997. During that period, he also occasionally served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé of the Embassy.

Previously, Bob was Spokesman and Public Affairs Advisor for the U.S. Delegation to the Negotiations on Nuclear and Space Arms in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1983-1984 and again from 1989 until the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START I) Treaty in Moscow on July 31, 1991.

In addition, Bob served as Spokesman and Press Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Bonn, West Germany; Director of the American Cultural Centers in Cape Town, South Africa, and Karachi, Pakistan and Assistant Information Officer in Kinshasa, Zaire.

Bob also served in the Washington headquarters of USIA as Deputy Director of the Office of Policy Guidance; Senior Policy Officer for Arms Control, Security Issues and European Affairs; Policy Guidance Coordinator; and Regional Projects Coordinator for Africa.

He holds a BA in Physical Science from the University of California at Riverside and an MA in International Studies from American University in Washington, DC.

Bob was born in Loma Linda, California in 1938, and has resided in Washington, DC since 1965 when not on assignment overseas.

Rusty Brooks

Member, Board of Directors
Rusty Brooks administers the International Center’s programs to help governments throughout the world be more effective, efficient, and responsive. He has extensive international experience with both governmental and nongovernmental entities in public administration and economic development policies and practices and in efforts that support heritage and cultural tourism. Dr. Brooks has worked on international development activities in Australia, the Bahamas, Croatia, Germany, Slovenia, Ukraine, Zimbabwe, China, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and other regions. Dr. Brooks received the 2004 Walter Barnard Hill Award for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service and Outreach for distinguished achievement in public service and outreach at the University of Georgia.

Tania Chomiak-Salvi

Member, Board of Directors
Tania Chomiak-Salvi is a creative advocacy professional with 25 years’ experience designing and delivering outreach programs in foreign policy. Tania currently works as a board member for non-profit organizations and continues to pursue efforts to maintain the Transatlantic relationship.

As a Foreign Service Officer in the Department of State, Tania specialized in building foreign public support for U.S. national security and prosperity goals.   She represented the ideas and people of the United States to foreign publics in Kazakhstan, Belgium, Poland, the UK, and at the United Nations.  She also held leadership positions in the State Department, including in educational and cultural exchange, digital communications, European issues and on national Fulbright boards.

Tania trains diplomats in public diplomacy, and she consults non-profit organizations on strategic planning and communication. Her own non-profit service includes a wide array of topics, including Ukraine, education, breast cancer, and public diplomacy.

Tania received her Master’s of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School in 1993 and her BA from the University of Virginia in 1989.