Announcing the First 20 Ukrainian U.S. Ambassadors for Global Democracy | December 16, 2022


From the Lubetzky Family Foundation.

“NEW YORKDec. 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Chef and humanitarian José Andrés; global human rights and pro-democracy activist Garry Kasparov; social entrepreneur and KIND Snacks Founder Daniel Lubetzky; and Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman have welcomed 20 Ukrainian students into the inaugural cohort of their pro-democracy scholarship program at U.S. colleges and universities. The initiative is designed to foster on-campus alliances in support of democratic values, which the program’s co-chairs, all U.S. immigrants, warn are under threat both internationally and at home.

As the war in Ukraine enters a new phase of disruption, in which over 2,600 schools have been damaged and in which Russians are introducing propaganda to educational curricula within occupied territories, Andrés, Kasparov, Lubetzky, and Vindman seek to empower Ukrainian students to continue their educations safely by participating in a funded year-long academic exchange. They also want to equip scholars with resources to educate their peers on the fragility and importance of democracy, and to assist them with developing skills to rebuild their fledgling democracy in Ukraine.

Across over 450 applications to the program, Ukrainian pride, a commitment to defending democracy, and a desire to help rebuild Ukraine were common themes. Among the 20 Ukrainian scholars selected based on need, academic record, and motivation to promote democratic values, ten students are currently attending American universities while another ten reside in Ukraine and will travel to the U.S. with the program. Scholars hail from 15 regions across Ukraine and are pursuing a diversity of majors, spanning film studies to economics.

Andrii Umanskyi, an International Relations major at American University expressed, “Ukrainians persevered through eras of resistance to Soviet oppressions against their democratic yearnings and three tumultuous decades of independence. The result is a complete awareness of the Ukrainian people about the cost they paid for their freedom so far and a determination to defend what is essentially a century and beyond of tireless attempts to establish sovereignty and independence.”

Alisa Rotova, a Business major at The New School’s Parsons School of Design said, “Ukraine now faces a unique opportunity – a fresh start for rebuilding and redesigning the way our country functions. We can choose to implement new technologies within sustainable development, build innovative systems, and explore never-ending opportunities. I plan to be a part of that.”

Students were personally welcomed into the program by co-chairs Andrés, Kasparov, Lubetzky, and Vindman through a Zoom video call on December 8, during which the four leaders thanked students for their bravery and accomplishments.

Led by the Lubetzky Family Foundation (LFF) and Renew Democracy Initiative (RDI), in partnership with the International Institute of Education (IIE), student programming will kick off following holiday break, equipping students with resources for organizing pro-democracy events on campus and inviting them to participate in a series of virtual pro-democracy seminars featuring speakers like Cambodian democracy activist Mu Sochua and Sonny Cheung, the first winning representative of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primary election.

For more information or to help scale the Global Democracy Ambassador Scholarship, visit www.lubetzkyfamilyfoundation.org.

Global Democracy Ambassador Scholarship

In September 2022, global leaders José Andrés, Garry Kasparov, Daniel Lubetzky and Alexander Vindman launched the Global Democracy Ambassador Scholarship to help Ukrainian students continue their studies at US colleges and universities; gain tools to rebuild their fledgling democracy at home; and educate global peers on the fragility and importance of democracy. In addition to supporting Ukrainians whose educations have been negatively impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the program empowers Ukrainian youth to be campus ambassadors for democratic values, which the program’s co-chairs, all immigrants to the United States, understand to be under threat globally. Learn more at LubetzkyFamilyFoundation.org.

SOURCE Lubetzky Family Foundation”


Garry’s Timeline

Follow Garry's extraordinary path through years of relentless activism.

View the full Biography