On Wednesday, June 30, Eurasia Foundation hosted a virtual graduation ceremony to close out the 2020-2021 Young Professionals Network fellowship year. Lisa Coll, Eurasia Foundation president, opened the ceremony with welcome remarks. Matthew Rojansky, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, delivered a keynote address. His remarks focused on the changing U.S.-Russia relationship and the importance of field experience in preparing fellows for their careers. Rojansky also shared his assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Eurasia and dynamics on the ground, emphasizing the importance of connecting directly with communities in Eurasia.

The ceremony closed with remarks from Hrach Topalyan, director of Education, Leadership, and Exchange at Eurasia Foundation, and an opportunity for fellows to share their upcoming professional and academic plans during a reflection session. Fellows emphasized their commitment to stay in touch with their cohort and to continue their engagement with the YPN network. We are excited to see what our fellows will accomplish, and look forward to welcoming the next YPN cohort later this year.