Foreign and domestic policy implications of the war in Ukraine: Discussions on global challenges with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Senator Chris Coons

April 11, 2022

The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy will host an event examining the domestic and foreign policy implications of the war in Ukraine, and broader global and diplomatic challenges, in a pair of discussions with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), on April 14, from noon to 2 PM EDT. The events will be streamed live from the Ford School website.

The war in Ukraine has shaken the international community, creating horrible scenes of destruction, a refugee crisis not seen in Europe since World War II, a reaffirmation of NATO, and has led to unprecedented economic sanctions on Russia.  

Sec. Blinken has been meeting with allies at NATO, the EU and around the world coordinating defense, economic, and humanitarian responses. In conversation with Ford School Dean Michael S. Barr, he will give insight into strengthening alliances, the importance of countering Russian aggression, and the long-term implications for the people of Ukraine and international relations with Russia. He will address 21st century diplomacy, modernization of the State Department and Foreign Service, and how the U.S. is tackling 21st century global challenges including human rights and the climate crisis. 

Sen. Coons, a senator from Delaware since 2010, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is chair of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds U.S. foreign assistance. He played a key role in negotiating last month’s $13.6 billion emergency supplemental spending package to provide military and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine. He has used his position in the Senate to advance key foreign policy and national security priorities. He will discuss how the conflict in Ukraine has created an opportunity to re-examine our approach to foreign policy and re-establish U.S. global leadership.

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

The discussions comprise the Ford School's fourth annual Vandenberg Lecture. The Meijer Family established the Vandenberg Fund to honor U.S. Senator Arthur Vandenberg, who served the State of Michigan in the U.S. Senate from 1928-1951. Senator Vandenberg forged bipartisan support for our country's most significant and enduring foreign policies of the twentieth century, including the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, NATO and the creation of the United Nations.

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