Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky, a foreign policy expert and diplomat specializing in national security affairs, is a Senior Fellow in Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Vice Chair of the Atlantic Council's Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.  She brings over 30 years of government and international experience across senior levels of diplomacy, business and defense.     

From 2010-2012, Ambassador Dobriansky was Senior Vice President and Global Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Thomson Reuters. In this position, she was responsible for designing and implementing a corporate approach for engagement in Washington, D.C. and other key capitals around the globe.  During this time, she was also appointed the Distinguished National Security Chair at the U.S. Naval Academy.    

Ambassador Dobriansky served as Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs from 2001 to 2009.  Among her primary accomplishments, she established and led the U.S.-India, U.S.-China, and U.S.-Brazil Global Issues Fora, which advanced crucial work and international cooperation on environment, energy, health, development, and humanitarian issues.  Additionally, she was head of delegation and lead negotiator on U.S. climate change policy.  

In February 2007, as the President's Envoy to Northern Ireland, Ambassador Dobriansky received the Secretary of State’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, for her contribution to the historic devolution of power in Belfast.  She has also held many Senate-confirmed and senior level positions in the U.S. Government including Director of European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council, the White House, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Deputy Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 1990 Copenhagen Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and Associate Director for Policy and Programs at the United States Information Agency.    

From 1997-2001, Ambassador Dobriansky served as Senior Vice President and Director of the Washington Office of the Council on Foreign Relations and was the first George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies.  During this time, she held a Presidential appointment on the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.  

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Diplomacy, Ambassador Dobriansky served on the Defense Policy Board, the Secretary of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board, and as Chair of the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank’s Council on China Competition.  She is a Trilateral Commission Trustee, a member of EXIM's Advisory Subcommittee on Strategic Competition with the People’s Republic of China, and a member of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service's Board.  Dobriansky also sits on corporate and advisory boards including Rubicon, LLC, Veracity Worldwide and is Co-Chair of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Commission on Ukraine's Economic Reconstruction.

Dobriansky received a B.S.F.S. summa cum laude in International Politics from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Soviet political/military affairs from Harvard University.  She is a Fulbright-Hays scholar, Ford and Rotary Foundation Fellow, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a recipient of various honors such as the Foreign Policy Association Medal for her service to country and leadership of the World Affairs Councils of America and the International Republican Institute's Women's Democracy Network Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award (2008).  She has received other high-level international recognition including the Commander Cross of the Order of Merit of Poland, Poland's Highest Medal of Merit, Grand Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, National Order "Star of Romania", Hungary’s Commander’s Cross Order of Merit, Ukraine’s Order of Merit and Colombia's Comendador's Medal.  She has also received three Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters, one Honorary Doctor of Laws, and one Honorary Doctorate of International Affairs.   

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Image of Kiev, Ukraine.

Kyiv Tourism: Best of Kyiv

Report - Center for Strategic & International Studies

Enabling an Economic Transformation of Ukraine: Recovery, Reconstruction, and Modernization

Jan. 10, 2022

To support the commission, CSIS convened a series of working groups to address a range of issue-specific areas that are critical for reconstruction and modernization of the Ukrainian economy, including agriculture, energy, and transportation and logistics, as well as addressing the impact of corruption on private sector investment.

Experience has shown that countries should begin planning for the postwar period before the end of a war. The geostrategic stakes in Ukraine are such that failure could have disastrous consequences not just for Ukraine but also for the broader region. The war has already caused repercussions around the world through global food insecurity, a growing energy crisis, and disruptions of the broader global supply chains. It is in the national security interest of the G7 and European Union for Ukraine to become a modernized economy and remain a secure democracy.

The United States, European Union, and G7 should do everything possible to realize this vision after Ukraine wins the war with Russia. However, there will not be enough foreign assistance to rebuild Ukraine. Therefore, Ukraine and its allies need to create an environment within which businesses and companies have the confidence to invest and deliver the reconstruction the country critically needs.

This report is made possible by general support to CSIS and the support of the Royal Danish Embassy. 

Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky serves as Co-Chair of the Commission tasked with creating the report.

A large highway with many shipping trucks struggling to get through

Stephen B. Morton/Georgia Port Authority via AP

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

The Market Rewards Companies That Prioritize National Security

| Aug. 12, 2022

Companies that rely on certain countries in Asia for their supply lines will face continued challenges as geopolitical stresses, let alone global pandemics, cause supply shortages. Beyond causing economic harm, these shortages pose a direct threat to U.S. national security interests.

Analysis & Opinions - World Economic Forum

5 experts on how to advance global peace and stability in a new era of geopolitics

| May 24, 2022

The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2022 convenes at the most consequential geopolitical and geo-economic moment of the past three decades and against the backdrop of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine appears to have signalled the emergence of a new geopolitical era – one that is being shaped by heightened and hostile competition over security, economic, energy, and ideological interests.

To respond to this new reality, the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Geopolitics is reflecting on the role leaders must play to address urgent humanitarian and security challenges as they simultaneously advance long-standing economic, environmental and societal priorities.

Five members of the council discuss what they see as priorities in the advancement of global peace and stability, and the steps that could be taken to stabilize specific sectors that are frontlines of conflict.

'Helping Ukraine defeat Russia's invasion is the key priority '

Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, Co-Chair, Global Future Council on Geopolitics

While Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity, which are threatened by Russia, merit support, a great deal more is at stake. Putin’s blatant aggression, if successful, will destroy the post-World War II European security architecture and will legitimize the use of force as a legitimate instrument of statecraft, making warfare a permanent feature of the international system.

Meanwhile, Moscow’s war crimes and genocidal strategies, unless their perpetrators are held accountable, will strip warfare of all limitations, and render it particularly brutal and destructive. To prevent these calamitous developments from occurring, helping Ukraine decisively defeat Russia's invasion is the key priority.

But, while mishandling Russia's aggression against Ukraine would cause grave regional and global problems, tackling it well is likely to produce considerable security benefits. Indeed, there is already abundant evidence that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and many, albeit not all, Asian democracies are cooperating to an unprecedented extent in supporting Ukraine and sanctioning Moscow.

The unfolding NATO accession by Finland and Sweden is but one example of the growing NATO strength. The commitment by Germany to increase defence spending to comport with NATO's 2% of the GDP benchmark, will both greatly augment its military capabilities and help reduce long-standing trans-Atlantic tensions over burden-sharing. This cooperative network can and should be sustained and might well evolve into a broader democratic partnership for handling a range of security threats.

How is the World Economic Forum helping to improve humanitarian assistance?

'Rather than ending connectivity, we should try to devise rules and norms that take the sting out of it '

Mark Leonard, Director, European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

In the longer term, we need to rebuild the European security order and prepare for a world of unpeace. We do not just see the tragedy of war in Ukraine – every aspect of globalization is being turned into a weapon. Putin is using high energy bills, refugees, disinformation and cyberattacks to weaken Ukraine and the countries that are supporting it.

In response, many governments have cut Russia off from the global financial system, diversified their energy supplies and tried to decouple their economies and societies from Russia. Many countries, citizens and companies across the world will be inadvertent victims of this conflict.

In my book The Age of Unpeace I show how the good and bad features of connectivity are inextricably entwined – and that it is impossible to untangle them without destroying many of the biggest advances in our civilization. Rather than ending connectivity, we should try to devise rules and norms that take the sting out of it or disarm it. If the Cold War was eased by arms control, the equivalent for our age is “disarming connectivity”.

'It is imperative for those with voice and influence to be equally creative in the pursuit of peace '

Samir Saran, President, Observer Research Foundation (ORF)

The Russia-Ukraine war has reached an unstoppable force-immovable object impasse. The political emotions invested in it are appreciable, but it is moot if they are worth the unfolding human tragedy and resultant upheaval in the global economy. Post-pandemic recovery, patchy and uneven in any case, has been seriously imperilled by a worldwide inflation in food and energy prices. Governments and societies far away from Europe are feeling the pressure. It is imperative for those with voice and influence to step up and be equally creative in the pursuit of peace.

The war has only exacerbated the pandemic’s continuing hollowing out of global supply chains. From Shanghai to the Steppes, from finance, commodities and resources to components and finished goods, chokepoints have strangulated world markets. There is an urgent need to both de-crinkle supply lines, as politically feasible, and diversify supply lines, as economically practical.

Finally, as summer temperatures soar in South Asia and beyond, climate change is an everyday, every-person crisis. The commitment to climate finance and green technology flows to countries such as India, where the battle for our ecology’s future will be truly and meaningfully fought, is loud; the action is muted. This has to change – now.

'Rules-based order must be sustained and strengthened'

Ivo Daalder, President, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

The 20th century was divided into two halves: the first was characterized by two world wars that killed over 100 million people; the second by the longest period of great power peace in history. The essential difference between the two eras was the prevalence of a rules-based order based on the concepts of collective security, shared prosperity, and respect for the rule of law. All of these rules have been violated by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Our most important priority must be to ensure Moscow fails in its evil designs on a neighbouring country and to make upholding the rules-based order the most important, collective responsibility of those states committed to, and benefitting from, that order. This responsibility falls on all states – not just those who have responded most swiftly to Russia’s aggression.

While states no doubt differ on the best way to respond to Russia, there can be no doubt that it is in the fundamental interest of all of them that the rules-based order is sustained and strengthened lest we return to a world of the early 20th century, where the strong did as they will and the weak as they must.

'Peace and security require being judicious about joining the right dots'

Lynn Kuok, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security, International Institute for Strategic Studies

Advancing global peace and security will require the world to connect the dots across regions but refrain from linking them where unwarranted. While many in Asia see what is happening in Europe as a fairly contained event that does not risk reshaping the global order, this neglects its implications for international law if not properly addressed.

Countries that sit on the fence on this issue, rationalizing that Europe is far away, overlook how an assault on the rules-based order in one part of the world hurts it everywhere. In the same way that – quite apart from economic repercussions – developments in Europe should concern Asia, Europe should not neglect the Indo-Pacific as it battles a crisis closer to home. Though less dramatic than open conflict, the slow burn of an eroding rules-based order also hurts peace and security. Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, international law was being undermined in Asia, most notably by China’s actions in the South China Sea.

It is equally important, however, not to make erroneous linkages which are counterproductive. China and Russia have proclaimed a “no-limits” partnership, but Beijing’s response since their joint statement in early February suggests discomfiture over Moscow’s subsequent invasion of Ukraine or at least how it has gone so wrong. While there are likely natural limits to the China-Russia partnership and the acts of the two countries are not equivalent, this appears irrelevant to the at times cynical propensity to paint the two countries with the same brush.

Doing so, however, is a mistake if one’s goal is peace and security. Framing the contest as one between liberal democracies and authoritarian states unnecessarily deepens divisions, makes cooperation difficult, alienates potential partners, and opens up strategic space to China. Peace and security require being judicious about joining the right dots.