Ambassador Thomas Pickering, one of America’s most distinguished and longest serving diplomats, spoke to Eurasia Foundation’s Young Professionals Network at a private breakfast briefing on January 15, 2013. In a discussion focused on Iran’s nuclear program, he outlined US options and the various paths to negotiation. He also addressed the relationship between Russia and Syria and the options open to US policymakers. Pickering’s talk combined extensive regional knowledge with negotiation theory, human psychology and an encyclopedic understanding of US diplomatic history. Having served as US Ambassador in seven postings – to Russia, India, Israel, Nigeria, Jordan, El Salvador and the UN – Pickering also provided insight into the US Foreign Service and how the institution has changed over time.
“I really enjoyed a broad picture of US foreign policy from Ambassador Tom Pickering, a man that every generation should look up to,” said journalist Alakbar Raufoglu, a member of Eurasia Foundation’s Young Professionals Network.
The Young Professionals Network is a nine-month program that creates monthly opportunities for young people in Washington to discuss developments in the Eurasia region and interact with diplomats, journalists and analysts. The network’s other events have included a breakfast briefing on the 2012 parliamentary elections in Georgia and Ukraine with Caucasus expert Thomas de Waal and BBC Ukraine correspondent Nataliya Jensen, special access to Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner and American media personality Phil Donahue at the Sarah Carey Forum, and an opportunity to meet Her Excellency Roza Otunbayeva, the former president of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Within the Young Professionals Network, there are Afghan specialists, Russia watchers, Georgia hands, Central Asia scholars, as well as journalists, bloggers, analysts, development economists, energy and defense experts and human rights advocates. The group speaks Azerbaijani, Belorussian, Chinese, Georgian, German, Persian, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Uzbek.
To apply for the 2013-2014 Young Professionals Network, please visit EF’s website in July 2013.