About the Event
Ukrainians have suffered the consequences of Russian aggression since the invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the consequences for Crimea and its people have only grown, as Crimea continues to be used as a Russian base for launching military operations to occupy other regions of Ukraine, including nearby Kherson. The National Endowment for Democracy welcomed two key Ukrainian leaders to discuss the situation on the ground in Crimea and the human rights implications of Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country, with particular focus on the residents of Crimea including indigenous people. Tamila Tasheva, the founder of the civic initiative Crimea SOS, and now the Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, joined Maria Tomak, head of the Crimea Platform Department at the Mission of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, in conversation with NED President and CEO Damon Wilson.
About the Speakers
Tamila Tasheva was appointed Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in April 2022 and had served as the Deputy Permanent Representative since November 2019. Tasheva previously worked as a human rights activist, civil society leader, and key member of a new generation of young Crimean Tatar leaders. She was the co-founder and Chairwoman of Crimea SOS, which in 2014 became an implementing partner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine. Tasheva has wide-ranging expertise in IDP issues, human rights in Crimea, and humanitarian law.
Maria Tomak was appointed the Head of the Crimea Platform Department at the Mission of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in January 2022. Tomak has worked as a human rights activist, civil society leader, and journalist. She is the co-founder of the Media Initiative for Human Rights and has been a leader in documenting human rights violations in eastern Ukraine and Crimea and advocating for the release of Ukrainians illegally held in Russia. She is also the co-author of several documentaries about Euromaidan and the war in Donbas.
Ambassador Melanne Verveer is the Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute of Women, Peace and Security and the Special Representative on Gender Issues for the OSCE Chairmanship. She previously served as the first US Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, a position to which she was nominated by President Obama in 2009. She coordinated foreign policy issues and activities relating to the political, economic and social advancement of women, traveling to nearly sixty countries. She worked to ensure that women’s participation and rights are fully integrated into U.S. foreign policy, and she played a leadership role in the Administration’s development of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. From 2000-2008, she was the Chair and Co-CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international NGO that she co-founded to invest in emerging women leaders. During the Clinton administration, she served as Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady. Ambassador Verveer has a B.S. and M.S. from Georgetown University and holds several honorary degrees.
Damon Wilson is the president and chief executive officer of the National Endowment for Democracy. Prior to joining NED, Mr. Wilson was the executive vice president of the Atlantic Council, worked at the National Security Council (NSC) as the director for Central, Eastern, and Northern European Affairs from 2004 to 2006, special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs at the NSC from 2007 to 2009, and as the executive secretary and chief of staff at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.