Max Rosenn Lecture Series in Law and Humanities

2024 Lecture

Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch

March 2024

The former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and New York Times Bestselling Author of Lessons from the Edge shared insights on the region and the current crisis as well as experiences from her 33-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Funding Ukraine Resources

Razom for Ukraine external website
This organization is a clearing house for reputable organizations and has been doing great work focused on humanitarian assistance (medical and food) since 2014. They have recently expanded into advocacy due to their track record and expertise.
Superhumans Center external website
A state-of-the-art rehab center established to help those injured in the war. They are focused on those who have lost limbs or have had brain trauma.
Safe Skies external website
Yale historian Timothy Snyder’s project to fund a passive drone detection system. It is already protecting four Ukrainian regions and is now being extended to another four. It allows Ukrainians to find Iranian-made or -modelled drones and shoot them down before they cause harm. It works on cruise missiles too.
The Kyiv Independent - News from Ukraine, Eastern Europe external website
Support independent English-language news by subscribing to a daily news update. A free press is crucial for a democratic Ukraine, and you can personally benefit by reading breaking news every morning from Ukrainian sources – in English.
World Central Kitchen ( external website
Jose Andres and his team are doing amazing work feeding the millions of refugees and internally displaced people in Ukraine.
UKR Frreedom Fund external website
This organizations helps source helmets, body armor, thermal vision monoculars, drones, medical packs and more for my friends in the Territorial Defense Forces.
Operation White Stork external website
This U.S. veterans organization evacuates Ukrainians and brings medical supplies in on the return journey.
Mountain Seed Foundation external website
A charity established by former American employees of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv to help Ukrainian partners and their families.
Welcome.US external website
This organization was established to help Afghan refugees coming to the U.S. and has branched out to help Ukrainian refugees, perhaps in your community.

Marie Yovanovitch served three times as U.S. Ambassador, most recently in Kyiv as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. She previously served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic from 2005-08 and the Republic of Armenia from 2008-11. Yovanovitch retired from the Foreign Service in 2020 and is currently a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a non-Resident Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.

Born into a family that survived both Soviet and Nazi terror before emigrating to the U.S., Yovanovitch rose to the top of her profession in the crucible of the former USSR. Following early assignments in Moscow, London, Ottawa and Mogadishu, she served as Deputy Director of the Russia Desk and then, as a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, she was named Deputy Chief in Ukraine.

Within the Department of State, Yovanovitch worked on the Russia desk, the Office of European Security Affairs and the Operations Center. She also served as the Dean of the School of Language Studies at the Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State, and as the Deputy Commandant and International Advisor at the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, National Defense University.  

Yovanovitch earned the Senior Foreign Service Performance Award eight times and the State Department’s Superior Honor Award on nine occasions. She is the recipient of two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and the Secretary’s Diplomacy in Human Rights Award. 

Following her retirement, Yovanovitch received the Trainor Award for Excellence in the Conduct of Diplomacy from Georgetown University, the inaugural Richard G. Lugar Award from Indiana University, the 2020 PEN/Benenson Courage Award from Pen/America, the Morgenthau Award from the Armenian Assembly of America, the American Spirit Award for Distinguished Public Service from the Common Good and the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government.

Yovanovitch’s memoir, Lessons from the Edge, released in 2022, was an instant New York Times bestseller. The late Madeleine Albright called the book “A brilliant, engaging, and inspiring memoir from one of America’s wisest and most courageous diplomats—essential reading for current policymakers, aspiring public servants, and anyone who cares about America’s role in the world.”

About the Rosenn Lecture Series

The Max Rosenn Lecture in Law and Humanities was established at Wilkes University in 1980 in recognition of Judge Rosenn’s exceptional contributions to public service.

Judge Max Rosenn’s long career as a public servant spanned many fields, including law, philanthropy, public welfare, health and religion. He made innumerable contributions to the enhancement of northeastern Pennsylvania, to state government, and to the federal judiciary. Following the Hurricane Agnes Disaster of 1972, he played a vital role in the rehabilitation of Greater Wilkes-Barre and its many neighboring communities as chairman of the Flood Recovery Task Force for Wyoming Valley.

The Honorable Judge Max Rosenn

After receiving an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Judge Rosenn commenced his legal career. He interrupted that career to enter military service in World War II. After several years in the South Pacific, he returned to his wife and sons and resumed the practice of law. He entered state government in 1966 as secretary of public welfare for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As secretary, Judge Rosenn also served as a member of the cabinet of Governor William W. Scranton and in the cabinet of his successor, Raymond Shafer, and as chairman of the Governor’s Council for Human Services. Following his resignation as Secretary and resumption of the practice of law, he served as chairman of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and chairman of the Legislative Executive Task Force to Restructure Human Services for Pennsylvania. He also served as a member of the 1968 Governor’s Commission to Revise the Public Employee Laws of Pennsylvania. President Nixon appointed him to the United States Court of Appeals in 1970.

He and wife Tillie were lifetime residents of the Wyoming Valley, have two sons, Professor Keith and Dr. Daniel, and six grandchildren.

In recognition of his exceptional contributions and his warm relationship with them, Judge Rosenn’s former law clerks and former law firm Rosenn, Jenkins & Greenwald, with the assistance of his family and friends, established in 1980 the Max Rosenn Lecture Series in Law and Humanities.

Justice Bound: A Tribute to Max Rosenn

Judge Rosenn served on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals from 1970 until 2006. In that time, he had 71 law clerks who assisted him. This film was commissioned by them, in partnership with Wilkes University and the Rosenn family, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Rosenn Lecture Series.

Past Speakers

The Rosenn Lecture Series has brought speakers with expertise in diverse fields and interests, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bryan Stevenson, Anna Deavere Smith, Anthony Lewis, Cory Booker and Bob Woodward.

  • Jill Lepore | Award-winning Author & Historian, Journalist and Professor of History | 2023
  • Jon Meacham | Presidential Historian and Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author | 2022
  • Terry Gross | Award-winning host of NPR’s Fresh Air | 2021
  • Bryan Stevenson | Attorney, human rights activist, executive director of the Equal Justice Intiative, and Author | 2019
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar | All-time Leading Scorer in NBA history, New York Times best-selling author, Civil Rights Activist | 2018
  • Anna Deavere Smith | Playwright, actor, and professor | 2017
  • Ron Prosor | Abba Eban Chair of International Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC) | 2016
  • Brian Greene | String Theorist | 2015
  • Richard Lugar | Retired United States Senator | 2014
  • Noah Feldman | Bemis Professor - Harvard University | 2013
  • Cory Booker | Mayor - Newark, New Jersey | 2012
  • Michelle Rhee | Founder and CEO of StudentsFIrst | 2011
  • Greg Mortenson | Best-selling author and humanitarian | 2010
  • Zanny Minton-Beddoes | Economics Editor, The Economist | 2009
  • Richard Leakey | Paleoanthropologist | 2008
  • Christopher Dillon Quinn | Award-winning documentary film director and John Bul Dau | one of The Lost Boys of Sudan | 2007
  • Bob Woodward | Assistant Managing Editor of the Washington Post | 2006
  • Irshad Manji | Award-winning journalist | 2005
  • Amy Chua | Author, Yale Law School Professor | 2004
  • Robin Wright | Author and Chief diplomatic correspondent | 2003
  • Fareed Zakaria | Editor if Newsweek International | 2002
  • Norman Mailer | Novelist, Biographer, and Historian | 2001
  • David Halberstam | Author, Journalist, and Historian | 2000
  • Abner J. Mikva | Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law and Senior Fellow, IGPA University of Illinois | 1999
  • Morris S. Dees Jr. | Chief Trial Counsel, Southern Poverty Law Center | 1998
  • Paul Simon | Retired United States Senator | 1997
  • Honorable A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. | Chief Judge Emeritus, United States Court of Appeals | 1996
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin, Ph.D. | Author, Historian | 1995
  • Tom J. Farer, J.D. | Director, International Relations Program | 1994
  • Leslie H. Gelb, Ph.D. | Author, Journalist, New York Times Columnist | 1993
  • T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. | Author, Educator, Renowned Pediatrician | 1992
  • John Paul Stevens | Justice, U.S. Supreme Court | 1991
  • Ambler Moss | Dean, School of International Studies, University of Miami | 1990
  • Nina Totenberg | Legal Affairs Correspondent | 1989
  • Malcolm Toon | Former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union | 1988
  • Bettina Gregory | Senior Correspondent | 1987
  • Henry Steele Commager | Historian, Professor of Law, Amherst College | 1986
  • Richard Schifter | Former U.S. Ambassador | 1985
  • Joseph J. Sisco | Former Undersecretary of State | 1984
  • Edwin Newman | Correspondent, NBC News | 1983
  • Anthony Lewis | Columnist, New York Times | 1982

Support the Rosenn Lecture Series

The speakers presented by the Max Rosenn Lecture Series in Law and Humanities are made possible through generous contributions to the Max Rosenn Endowment. Your support enables us to continue the tradition of bringing renowned speakers and offering a venue that is free and open to the public.

Support the Max Rosenn Lecture Series external website


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