I’m pleased to announce that the Institute has appointed Gregory Feifer as its new Executive Director. Greg has been interim director since last June. Before that, he served as a Trustee from 2015 to 2017. He was also an ICWA fellow in Russia in 2000-2002, observing the intersection of culture and politics under Vladimir Putin, who first took power at the start of his fellowship.

Greg went on to work as a journalist in Russia for almost a decade, including as NPR’s bureau chief in Moscow, when he reported about the country’s resurgence under Putin. His book Russians (Twelve, 2014) explains the social behavior behind the country’s political culture. His other books include The Great Gamble (HarperCollins, 2009), a history of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and Spy Handler (Basic Books, 2005), co-written with former KGB officer Victor Cherkashin, who recruited the spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen in Washington in 1986. Greg’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The New Republic. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from Harvard University.

As Greg takes the helm, the institute is embarking on the next, exciting stage of its development. We plan to increase the number of fellows this year, hold more events in Washington and elsewhere such as our recent discussions about the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution and foreign intervention, and secure our mission well into the future.

For nearly a century, ICWA has identified highly promising young professionals and supported them during culturally immersive fellowships to study countries, regions and globally important issues. Please join us to further that goal at a time that the kind of deep knowledge of foreign cultures ICWA fellowships provide is as necessary as ever.

Diederik Vandewalle,
Chairman of the Board of Trustees