Georgetown Awards President's Medal to Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko

WASHINGTON, DC -- Georgetown University presented His Excellency Victor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine, with the University's President’s Medal, in honor of his courageous stand on behalf of free and fair elections and commitment to the path of democratic reform. President Yushchenko received the medal yesterday after an address to the Georgetown community.

"President Yushchenko has demonstrated a clear commitment to fostering democracy and freedom for the people of Ukraine," said Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia. “We are honored to welcome him to Georgetown and to present him with the President’s Medal for his brave and steadfast actions.”

President Yushchenko was born in northeastern Ukraine, the son of a schoolteacher. He earned a Ph.D. in economics from Ternopil and Economic Institute and began his career in accounting. He then served in the Soviet Army, and later worked as an economist with Ukraine’s national bank. He was named chairman of the board and president of the bank in 1993 and in the years of post-Soviet control, his monetary policy and introduction of the nation’s first currency helped to stabilize the economy.

In 1999, President Yushchenko was appointed Prime Minister of Ukraine by then President Leonid Kuchma and embarked on an anti-corruption crusade. Two years later he was voted out of parliament by his opposition, provoking thousands of Ukrainians to rally in protest. He then served as director of the Boris Yeltsin Ukrainian-Russian Institute of Management and Business.

In 2002, President Yushchenko became the leader of the “Our Ukraine” political coalition and a member of the Parliamentary Committee on human rights, national minorities and inter-ethnic relations. Two years later he challenged Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich for the Ukraine presidency and the bitterly contested campaign culminated in a historic showdown in Independence Square. On January 23, 2005, Victor Yushchenko was inaugurated as the President of Ukraine.

President Yushchenko is married to Kateryna Yushchenko ( SFS '83 ). The couple has five children and two grandchildren.

The Georgetown University President's Medal was established in 1968 and is awarded by the president of the university with the consent of the chair of the board of directors to persons for meritorious service and for dedication to the goals and objectives of the University. In the past it has been presented to Carey International Chairman and CEO Vincent A. Wolfington, Ambassador Tony Hall, American Ambassador to Holy See James Nicholson, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, and Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, President of the Philippines.

About Georgetown University

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