About Us

 

We are a bipartisan American organization that advocates for a strategic partnership between the United States and Ukraine.

Our mission is to encourage and persuade the U.S. government to enact specific policies that create ever stronger, more enduring, and mutually beneficial ties with the Ukrainian nation..

Our Mission

CUSUR—What It Intends To Do

The Center for US-Ukrainian Relations (CUSUR) has been designed to provide a set of “informational platforms” or venues for senior-level representatives of the political, economic, security and diplomatic establishments of the United States and Ukraine to exchange views on a wide range of issues of mutual interest and to showcase what has been referred to as a “burgeoning relationship of notable geopolitical import” between the two nations.

Five such “platforms”, the UA Quest Roundtable Series, the UA Historical Encounters Series, the US-UA Security Dialogue Series, the UA-US Business Networking Forum Series and the US-UA Energy Dialogue Series—planned as annual events, intend to review everything from joint operations by US and Ukrainian armed forces to the creation of “bilateral strategic plans for energy diversification”.

The Center also hopes to track the progress of Ukraine’s broader professed “Euro-Atlantic” ambitions—or, more precisely, monitor the pace of Ukraine’s NATO and EU accession process, though obviously in the context of the stated US-Ukrainian partnership. To facilitate the tracking, the Center intends to run a sixth conference series, to be held in various Ukrainian cities and at various European venues, entitled Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic Future.

To widen the base of information dissemination, the Center intends to distribute the complete & annotated proceedings of the various symposia that the institution will organize as well as publish a projected bi-annual “Journal of Ukrainian Affairs”.

As its final ambition, CUSUR intends to form a US-UA Working Group—made up of 20 government and non-government experts from each of the countries involved. The Group’s purpose will be to monitor the existing state of relations between the US and Ukraine and to suggest ways and means to improve the ties. The Group will engage in the mentioned efforts along lines of mutual interest: Diplomatic/Political Issues, Economic Issues, Defense/Security Issues, and Humanitarian Issues [4 units with 10 members apiece]. Each year, the WG will gather at an annual Leadership Summit to discuss & evaluate “future trends” in US-UA bilateral links.

CUSUR received Not for Profit status in the Summer of 2006. In financial terms, the Center’s ultimate goal is to raise 5 million dollars [US] and find the optimal instrument to operate the raised funds in such a way as to cover the basic yearly costs of the institution.

Our History

CUSUR—How It All Started

Amidst millennial celebrations and expectations two decades ago, Ukraine and the United States began an exchange of increasingly strong signals intimating that their ties should be closer—that, in fact, their relationship should ultimately take on strategic coloration. In December 1999, both the executive and the legislative branches of Ukraine’s government—the Presidential Administration and the Verkhovna Rada—took clear steps to indicate a serious interest in pursuing a course of ‘eventual integration into the structures of the Euro-Atlantic world’. Their ‘message’ was answered by Secretary of State Madeline Albright during a speech delivered at Johns Hopkins University in January 2000 in which she named Ukraine as one of the four key countries with whom the US had to deepen bilateral economic and security relations. In short order, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk responded with an energetic embrace of Secretary Albright’s position and proceeded to append a dimension to the envisioned links—coordinated responses to diplomatic issues of common concern. In June 2000, President Clinton, during his final visit to Kyiv, raised the ‘engagement’ bar significantly higher by referring to US-Ukrainian relations as a ‘strategic partnership’. The Ukrainian leadership lost no time replying; it wholeheartedly endorsed the assessment. President Bush’s inaugural trip to Europe in June 2001, and particularly his visit to Warsaw, yielded one more message on the subject, possessing what might be characterized as ‘critical mass’. The newly elected American leader expressed a clear desire to retain the term ‘strategic partnership’ to describe the relationship between the United States and Ukraine, emphatically underscoring the bipartisan nature of US support for Ukraine’s “Western” geopolitical aspirations. (1) (2)

The significance of the emerging exchange was not lost on the Ukrainian American community. In April 2000, the community’s most prominent organizations convened to consider ways to support the ‘dialogue’ that was unfolding between the two nations they held in the highest regard. The deliberations gave rise to a commitment: ‘to stage a conference that would bring together prominent representatives from academia and the governments of Ukraine and the United States to assess Ukraine’s prospects for fuller ties to the Euro-Atlantic world in general and stronger bilateral relations with the US in particular’. To help fulfill the commitment, four key sources were tapped. The Ukrainian Congressional Caucus was asked to garner political support in the US. The Ukrainian Embassy was asked to garner political support in Ukraine. Major American universities, think tanks, and NGOs were invited to serve as sponsors—to lend their good names and supply important contacts. Major American commercial institutions were invited to serve as patrons—to provide the necessary financial wherewithal. In September 2000, the several requested efforts converged and produced a remarkable event in Washington DC entitled: Ukraine’s Quest for Mature Nation Statehood: A Roundtable. The Roundtable proved to be a veritable gathering of the Who’s Who of the foreign policy establishments of both countries. Large portions of the conference were webcast live worldwide; the entire conference was video taped to provide a full transcript of the proceedings for purposes of publication.

Enthused by the success of their initiat ive, the various entities involved with organizing the Roundtable reconvened in November 2000. The rendezvous led to a second commitment: to make the conference an annual affair and to use the event to monitor further developments in US-Ukrainian relations, particularly those of a strategic character. In line with the follow up commitment, the said entities [operating as the UA Quest RT Series Steering Committee] have now reassembled twenty two times and each gathering has found a way to outshine Roundtable I.  In addition, RT IV saw the introduction of a new ingredient to the proceedings—a series of business to business networking sessions that ran parallel to the traditional symposium. The organizers were advised to turn the B2B fora into a unified stand alone event. The advice was taken and resulted in a highly successful US-UA Business Networking Forum [II]. Launching a specialized US-Ukrainian business/investment conference series, by turns, spurred interest in the running of conferences dealing with bilateral security matters, energy issues and humanitarian concerns; the result has been the emergence of the US-UA Security Dialogue Series, US-UA Energy Dialogue Series and the highly regarded UA Historical Encounters Series.

By 2005, the organizers were rightfully proud of what had been accomplished. Without doubt, much had been done to meet the goals that had been set; in many ways, the goals had been surpassed. But, quite frankly, their pride was tempered by an important fact: the work performed remained ad hoc in nature. In the absence of a formal structure to tend to the various named series and to the publication of the said series proceedings (often well described as ‘valuable caches of information and analysis pertinent to US policy formulation vis-à-vis Ukraine’), two problems loomed large with regard to sustaining the follow-up commitment. For one, there existed the likelihood, in operational terms, of having to constantly ‘reinvent the wheel’—a nightmare scenario, whether dealing with human or material resources. Equally troubling, there existed the possibility of an ‘analytical disconnect’—an eventual descent into the intellectually sterile realm of yearly handshake photo-ops. To forestall the appearance of such problems, the organizers agreed to a simple solution: the formation of an entity capable of systematizing and, when deemed appropriate, expanding the Roundtable format—or, in short, the creation of a ‘Center for US-Ukrainian Relations’.

Our Focus & Structure

A. Administrative Sector

B. Analytic Sector [The “US-UA Working Group”]

C. Program Development Sector

A. Administrative Sector

  • Center Website
  • Center Quarterly Newsletter
  • Center Bi-Annual Journal [Journal of Ukrainian Affairs]
  • Published Proceedings of Center Events [Bilingual]

B. Analytic Sector [The “US-UA Working Group”]

  • Economic Affairs Division:
    • Trade
    • Investment
    • Technical Assistance
    • Energy Issues
  • Security Affairs Division:
    • Training—Defense/Intel
    • Coordination—Defense/Intel
    • Joint Operations—Defense/Intel
    • Organized Crime Issues
  • Humanitarian Affairs Division:
    • Cultural Exchange
    • Academic Exchange
    • NGO Development
    • Mass Media Development
  • Diplomatic Affairs Division:
    • Visegrad Group/Policy Cooperation
    • GUAM/Policy Cooperation
    • European Union/Policy Cooperation
    • NATO/Policy Cooperation

C. Program Development Sector

  • UA Quest Roundtable Series (Venue: Washington DC)
  • UA B2B Networking Forum Series (Venue: Chicago IL)
  • UA Historical Encounters Series (Venue: New York NY)
  • UA Security Dialogue Series (Venue: Washington DC)
  • UA Energy Dialogue Series (Venue: Houston TX)
  • UA Euro-Atlantic Future Int’l Forum Series/Europe (Venue: European Capitals)
  • UA Euro-Atlantic Future Int’l Forum Series/Ukraine (Venue: Kyiv)
  • US-UA Working Group Annual Summit (Venue: Boulder CO)