Contact: James Carskadon
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly encouraged a full auditorium to strive to make a difference and keep a global perspective during a Wednesday [Aug. 31] afternoon speech at Mississippi State University.
“Every man and woman can make a grand impact on their country,” Chaly said.
Chaly’s lecture, held in the Bost Extension Center, was part of the MSU International Institute’s 2016-17 MSU Global Engagement Lecture Series. The ambassador spent Wednesday morning touring MSU’s high-technology research facilities with MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw. Chaly will spend Thursday [Sept. 1] in Jackson, where he will meet with Governor Phil Bryant and Mississippi Development Authority officials, among others.
The ambassador spoke at length regarding Ukraine’s relationship with Russia, which has been tense following Russia’s 2014 invasion and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. The invasion has received condemnation from members of the international community. Chaly said the peninsula is a beautiful place to visit, but has become mostly a military base.
“Ukrainians understand that we must keep the future of our country in our own hands,” Chaly said.
Chaly became Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States last July and has a distinguished history of public service in his home country. MSU Associate Vice President for International Programs Richard Nader said Chaly’s visit was an opportunity for students to gain new perspectives on international affairs. Nader moderated a question and answer session with the capacity crowd in attendance. Questions to Chaly touched on the 2016 U.S. presidential election and agricultural similarities and differences between Ukraine and Mississippi.
“I’m very proud of the Mississippi State student body for showing up in such large numbers and asking such good questions,” Nader said. “I hope students take the opportunity become aware and get knowledgeable about international affairs, international politics and other things that impact the United States and their lives.
“Also, get involved. Study abroad or take a class in international affairs. Get to know some international students. Take the time to do it. It’s very enriching.”
Ukraine—a nation of more than 233,000 square miles and 44 million citizens—is bordered by Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova, as well as the Black Sea and Sea of Azov.
Chaly said Ukraine is looking to expand and modernize its agriculture industry, which is primarily known for its wheat production. Ukraine is “at the heart of Europe” geographically and politically, Chaly said. He also stressed the importance of knowing the impact of international issues.
“Everything in this world is very connected now,” Chaly said. “If you are secure today, it does not mean you will be secure forever.”
For more information on Chaly, visit http://usa.mfa.gov.ua/en/embassy/ambassador/cv.
More information on the MSU International Institute can be found at www.international.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.