Secretary of State, senator to share thoughts on Ukraine war


The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy will host a virtual event April 14 examining the domestic and foreign policy implications of the war in Ukraine, featuring discussions with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shaken the international community, creating scenes of destruction, a refugee crisis not seen in Europe since World War II and a reaffirmation of NATO, as well as spurring unprecedented economic sanctions on Russia.

Blinken has been meeting with allies at NATO, the European Union and around the world coordinating defense, economic and humanitarian responses.

In a conversation with Ford School Dean Michael Barr, Coons will offer insights into strengthening alliances, the importance of countering Russian aggression and the long-term implications for the people of Ukraine and international relations with Russia.

Coons is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds U.S. foreign assistance. He played a key role in negotiating March’s $13.6 billion emergency supplemental spending package to provide military and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.

He has used his position on the Foreign Relations Committee to advocate for foreign policy and national security priorities. He will discuss how the emerging situation has reignited the needs for — and importance of — bipartisan foreign policy.

President Mary Sue Coleman will provide a welcome at noon, followed by the discussion between Coons and Barr for one hour on the domestic landscape. Then at 1:15 p.m., Weiser Diplomacy Center Director John Ciorciari will introduce Blinken for a conversation with Barr and Ford School students.  


Members of the public can view the conversations online. The events will be streamed live from the Ford School website.

The discussions comprise the Ford School’s fourth annual Vandenberg Lecture. The Meijer family established the Vandenberg Fund to honor Michigan U.S. Sen. Arthur Vandenberg, who served from 1928-51.

Vandenberg forged bipartisan support for significant and enduring foreign policies of the 20th century, including the Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, NATO and creation of the United Nations.

The talks are co-sponsored by U-M’s Democracy & Debate initiative and the Weiser Diplomacy Center.


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