U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine: Who Is Marie Yovanovitch?

Sunday, September 11, 2016
Marie Yovanovich

Marie Yovanovitch was sworn in August 18, 2016, as the United States’ ambassador to Ukraine. It’s the third such appointment for the career member of the Foreign Service.


Yovanovitch was born in 1958 in Montreal to Russian emigres and moved with her family to Connecticut when she was 3. She attended the Kent School, graduating in 1976, and went on to earn a B.A. in history and Russian studies from Princeton in 1980. In 2001, she earned an M.S. from the National War College.


Yovanovitch joined the Foreign Service in 1986. Her early assignments included postings in Ottawa, Moscow, London, and Mogadishu. But with her educational background, she began to focus on Russia and its neighbors. She was deputy director of the State Department’s Russian desk from 1998 to 2000. The following year, she was sent to Kiev, Ukraine, as Deputy Chief of Mission in the embassy there.


She returned to Washington in 2004 as senior adviser to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Yovanovitch was named an ambassador for the first time the following year, when she took over the U.S. embassy in Kyrgyzstan, which served as a vital base in the U.S. war in Afghanistan.


In 2008, Yovanovitch was nominated to be ambassador to Armenia. She was confirmed by the Senate, but not before going through hard questioning on why she wouldn’t use the term “genocide” to refer to the killing by Turkey of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1917. By 2011, she was back in Washington, first as Deputy Assistant Secretary and beginning in 2012 as principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. In 2013, she was named Deputy Commandant of the Eisenhower School at National Defense University and the following year was made Dean of the Foreign Service Institute’s School of Language Studies.


Yovanovitch speaks Russian and French.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Official Announcement

Marie Yovanovitch (Wikipedia)


Craig 4 years ago
At whose leisure does any ambassador serve? If it is, as I suspect, the president's, then doesn't any president have the authority to dismiss them at any time for any reason?
Arthur Darboven 4 years ago
I'm so glad to see civil servants of the USA with so much valor as Mrs. Yovanovitch is displaying. She is a motivator for people considering to join the foreign service. The USA belongs to the people and not to some yawning yahoo like Trump.
Iva Lindsay 4 years ago
trump tweeted something about Somalia and look what happened there. what happened in Somalia? or is it the same thing as what happens in vegas, stays in vegas? ;-)
Taylor 4 years ago
Ms Yovanovitch words: Equally fictitious is the notion that I am disloyal to President Trump. I have heard the allegation in the media that I supposedly told the Embassy team to ignore the President’s orders “since he was going to be impeached.” That allegation is false. I have never said such a thing, to my Embassy colleagues or to anyone else.
Theresa stachelski 4 years ago
Ms. Yovanovitch iѕ a badass with nerves of steel and after what she marched in and did today, I will always be grateful, always be proud to know that there’s still people like this in our government amidst all this corruption. Thank you so much MARIE
Shelly 4 years ago
This is just the interrogation of a planted and prepped land mine placed by the Obama administration. Obama knew Hillary could not be counted in to beat trump the same way she couldn’t beat him when he was NOBODY.
V.Pisko 5 years ago
According to Fox News,Ms.Yovanoglu stated to a visitor at the US Embassy in Republic of Ukraine that there is no need to worry about President of USA,Donald J. Trump as he will be impeached before the end of his first term. 3/20/2019
Julian 7 years ago
Well let's hope her degree in Russian studies does not influence her thinking. She has very big shoes to fill.
Berge Jololian 7 years ago
Yovanovitch was a disaster of an Ambassador to Armenia. She was never liked in Armenia and did not help one bit in deepening or furthering American-Armenian relations. A post in Turkey or Azerbaijan suits her Turk-ophile tendencies. She was nicknamed in Armenia by a Turkish surname of Yovanoglu.

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