Confirmed Speakers

Her Excellency Senator Anna Maria Anders
H.E. Sen. Anna Maria Anders is the State Secretary, Plenipotentiary of the Prime Minister of Poland for International Dialogue. Born in London, she is the daughter of General Władysław Anders, a commander of the Polish Armed Forces in the West most famous for his contribution to the Allied victory in the Battle of Monte Cassino during World War II. In 2010, Anders began promoting her father’s legacy among the Polish diaspora and in Poland itself. In 2016, she was elected to the Senate of the Republic of Poland from the Łomża-Suwalski district.
Dr. Murray Bessette is the director of academic programs at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, where he leads its educational and scholarly activities. Before joining the Foundation, Bessette was an associate professor of government at Morehead State University, specializing in political philosophy, national security, intelligence studies, and counter-terrorism. He is the editor of two books and author of numerous articles and book chapters.
Dr. Jonathan Brent is the director of the Annals of Communism series, which he founded in 1992. He is currently the Visiting Alger Hiss Professor of History and Literature at Bard College and is also the CEO and executive director of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City.
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, PhD
Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is the Kosciuszko Chair in Polish Studies and professor of History at the Institute of World Politics. His research interests include the post-Soviet zone, the Second World War and its aftermath, Europe in the 19th and 20th century, Western civilization and its intellectual tradition, extremist movements in history, conspiracy theory and practice, and comparative civilizations.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Senator Ted Cruz is the junior Republican Senator from Texas. He graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Before being elected, he served as the Solicitor General of Texas. Senator Cruz currently serves on the Senate Committee on Armed Services; the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; the Committee on the Judiciary; the Joint Economic Committee; and the Committee on Rules and Administration.
Dr. Frank Dikötter is the author of "The People's Trilogy," a series of books that document the impact of communism on the lives of ordinary people in China on the basis of new archival material. He has published a dozen books that have changed the ways historians view modern China. Dikötter has been Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong since 2006 and is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Amb. Paula J. Dobriansky is a Senior Fellow at the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Vice Chair of the National Executive Committee, US Water Partnership. She has received many high-level international awards including the Commander Cross of the Order of Merit of Poland, 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, and Ukraine’s Order of Merit. Dobriansky serves on the Board of Trustees of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
Lee Edwards, PhD
Dr. Lee Edwards is co-founder and Chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. He is a Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at the B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies at The Heritage Foundation, and an adjunct professor of politics at the Catholic University of America. His many awards include the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, the Millennium Star of Lithuania, the Cross of Terra Mariana of Estonia, and the Friendship Medal of Diplomacy from the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Niall Ferguson is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies. A prolific writer specializing in finance, economics, and international history, he is the author of many best-selling and acclaimed books, including Civilization: The West and the Rest and, most recently, the first volume of the authorized biography of Henry Kissinger entitled Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist.
Dr. Jeremy Friedman is an assistant professor in the Business, Government, and International Economy Unit of Harvard Business School. Friedman studies the history of communism, socialism, and revolution in Russia, China, and the developing world.
Dr. Mark Galeotti is a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations Prague, where he coordinates the Centre for European Security, and is also the director of the consultancy firm Mayak Intelligence. An expert in transnational organized crime, security affairs and modern Russia, Galeotti founded the interdisciplinary journal Global Crime and wrote a monthly column on post-Soviet affairs in Jane’s Intelligence Review from 1991 to 2007. He has published widely, with 12 authored and edited books to his name.
Paul A. Goble is a former Special Advisor to the Secretary of State and a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. He has edited five volumes on ethnicity and religion in the former Soviet space, and was decorated by the governments of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania for his work in promoting Baltic independence and the withdrawal of Russian forces from those formerly occupied lands. He serves on the National Advisory Council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, and is a Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom Laureate.
Dr. Paul R. Gregory is a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, holds an endowed professorship in the Department of Economics at the University of Houston, Texas, is a research professor at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin, and is emeritus chair of the International Advisory Board of the Kiev School of Economics. Gregory is working with director Marianna Yarovskaya to produce the documentary film Women of the Gulag.
Dr. John Earl Haynes is a prolific author and scholar on the subjects of communism and communist organizations in America. He spent most of his career as a specialist in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Haynes and his research partner, Harvey Klehr, were the first historians to gain access to several major long-closed archives. He serves on the National Advisory Council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
Dr. Paul Hollander is a preeminent American political sociologist and scholar of communism. A professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a center associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, he is author or editor of 15 books on the subject of socialism. He serves on the National Advisory Council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. 
Andrei Illarionov, PhD
Dr. Andrei Illarionov is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity and one of Russia’s most forceful and articulate advocates of an open society and democratic capitalism. Illarionov has coauthored several economic programs for Russian governments and has written three books and more than 300 articles on Russian economic and social policies. Illarionov holds a PhD from St. Petersburg University.
Rep. Kaptur is the Representative from the 8th District of Ohio. Prior to her election, she worked for 15 years as a city and regional planner (primarily in Toledo and Chicago) and served as a domestic policy advisor to President Jimmy Carter. She has a BA in history from the University of Wisconsin and an MA in urban planning from the University of Michigan. Representative Kaptur currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee, where she is the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.
Vladimir Kara-Murza is the coordinator of Open Russia, a platform for civil society and pro-democracy activists launched in 2014 by former political prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky. He is a member of the federal council of the People’s Freedom Party and a senior adviser at the Institute of Modern Russia.
H.E. Dr. Václav Klaus is a Czech economist and statesman. He served as the first Prime Minister of the newly independent Czech Republic from 1993 to 1998, President of the Czech Republic from 2003 to 2013, and co-founder of the Civic Democratic Party. Under his leadership, the new country enjoyed substantial economic growth. In 2013, he was awarded the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom.
Dr. Harvey Klehr, who recently retired as Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Politics and History at Emory University, is a leading expert and author or co-author of thirteen books on the subjects of American communism, Soviet espionage in America, and the treatment of communism within the discipline of history. Klehr and his research partner, John Earl Haynes, were the first historians to gain access to several major long-closed, Russian archives.
Dr. Alan Charles Kors is Henry Charles Lea Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Pennsylvania. A former member of the National Council for the Humanities and a 2005 recipient of the National Humanities Medal, Kors was described by presidential citation as “a widely respected teacher [and] champion of academic freedom.” He serves on the National Advisory Council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
Mark Kramer is director of the Cold War Studies program at Harvard University's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. He is an expert on the history of the Cold War, the Soviet Union, and political and economic change in post-Communist Eastern Europe. Kramer is the author or editor of several books and is editor of the Journal of Cold War Studies, which features peer-reviewed articles based on archival research in the former Communist world and in Western countries.
Sen. Jaroslav Kubera is the Vice-Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. Kubera joined the liberal-conservative Civic Democratic Party ODS in 1992. In 1994, he was elected mayor of the city of Teplice, a position which he continues to hold today.
H.E. Dr. Vytautas Landsbergis is a Lithuanian statesman and scholar. As former chairman of Sajūdis, a signatory of the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania, President of the Seimas, and founder of Homeland Union, he helped shepherd his country’s transition to democracy. In 2017, he was awarded the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom.
Rep. Dan Lipinski is the Democratic Representative from Illinois’s 3rd District. Rep. Lipinski received an MA in Engineering-Economic Systems from Stanford University and a Doctorate in Political Science from Duke University. Prior to his election, he taught American Government at the University of Notre Dame. Rep. Lipinski serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Dr. A. James McAdams is the William M. Scholl Professor of International Affairs, Professor of History, and Director of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He has written widely on European affairs, especially concerning Central Europe, and is an internationally recognized scholar of the two-state period in modern German history (1949-1989) and its aftermath. His latest book, Vanguard of the Revolution: The Global Idea of the Communist Party is considered the first comprehensive history of the communist party.
Hon. Edwin Meese is the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow Emeritus at the Heritage Foundation. Meese served Ronald Reagan as his legal affairs secretary and chief of staff during his governorship of California and as counsellor to the president from 1981 to 1985. From 1985 to 1987 he served as the 75th Attorney General of the United States. During his long association with the Heritage Foundation, Meese held the Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy and led the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Meese has authored or coauthored several books, including The Heritage Guide to the Constitution and With Reagan: The Inside Story. Meese holds a BA from Yale University and a degree from the UC Berkeley School of Law.
Hon. Kornel Morawiecki is a Polish parliamentarian and Senior Marshal of the Sejm. During the communist rule of Poland, Morawiecki was an influential dissident and activist associated with the Solidarity movement. In 1982, he co-founded Fighting Solidarity a harder-line organization within the Solidarity umbrella. Fighting Solidarity was the only organization to call for the complete decommunization from Poland throughout the entirety of its existence. Morawiecki has twice stood for election to the Presidency of Poland, and he now serves as a member of the Sejm and chairman of the Freedom and Solidarity Party.
Andrew Nagorski is an award-winning journalist and chairman of the board of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation. After a career at Newsweek spanning three decades, he became vice president and director of public policy for the EastWest Institute, a think tank focused on conflict resolution and strategic trust-building. Nagorski is the author of six books, including Reluctant Farewell: An American Reporter’s Candid Look Inside the Soviet Union and The Greatest Battle: Stalin, Hitler, and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow That Changed the Course of World War II. His most recent book, The Nazi Hunters, chronicles the determined men and women who scoured the globe to bring to justice fugitive leaders of the totalitarian Nazi regime.
Dr. Arkady Ostrovsky is Russia and Eastern Europe editor for The Economist. Prior to this role, he was the Moscow Bureau Chief for The Economist reporting on the annexation of Crimea and the war in Ukraine among many other subjects. He is the author of The Invention of Russia: The Journey from Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War, which won the Orwell Prize in 2016, and is a regular contributor to radio and television programs around the world, including the BBC and NPR.
Amb. Martin Palouš was the Czech Ambassador to the United States prior to taking office as the Czech Republic’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. One of the first signatories of Charter 77, he was a founding member of the Civic Forum and was elected in 1990 to the Czechoslovak Federal Assembly. Amb. Palouš is currently director of the Václav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy at Florida International University and is also a member of the Prague Society for International Cooperation.
Professor Paul du Quenoy is a Professor of History at the American University of Beirut and Chairman of the Russian Ball of Washington, DC. Twice a Fulbright scholar, he is the author of three books, an internationally recognized music critic, a frequent commentator on international relations, and an adviser to numerous private equity and venture capital funds. He holds a PhD in History from Georgetown University.
Dr. Russell Roberts is the John and Jean De Nault Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Roberts hosts the podcast EconTalk—hour-long conversations with authors, economists, and business leaders. His two rap videos on the ideas of John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Hayek, created with filmmaker John Papola, have had more than seven million views on YouTube, been subtitled in eleven languages, and are used in high school and college classrooms around the world.
Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution specializing in business and politics, where he edits the Hoover Digest and hosts a current affairs television program called Uncommon Knowledge. Robinson has also written three books, including an autobiographical account of his time in the Reagan administration entitled How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life.
Rep. Dennis Ross is the Republican Representative from Florida’s 15th District. Rep. Ross attained a BS in Organizational Management from the School of Business in Auburn University and a Law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Before his election, Rep. Ross started his own law firm, which grew to seven lawyers and 27 employees. Rep. Ross currently serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Financial Services.
Joshua Rubenstein has been professionally involved with human rights and international affairs for over forty years as an activist and independent scholar with particular expertise in Russian affairs. He was on the staff of Amnesty International USA from 1975 to 2012 as the Northeast Regional Director and is a recognized scholar of literature, dissent, and politics in the former Soviet Union. He is now Associate Director for Major Gifts at Harvard Law School.
David Satter, a former Moscow correspondent, is a long-time observer of Russia and the former Soviet Union. He worked in Moscow for six years, from 1976 to 1982, during which time he sought out Soviet citizens with the intention of preserving their accounts of the Soviet totalitarian system for posterity. He is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a fellow of the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
Natan Sharansky is a former Soviet dissident, political prisoner, and lifelong champion of freedom and democracy. After nine years in prison, his release came as a result of intense pressure from an international campaign organized by his wife. He immigrated to Israel where he founded a political party to support Soviet Jews. He served in multiple governments, including as Deputy Prime Minister. He is the author of Fear No Evil and The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny & Terror.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) is the US Representative for New Jersey's Fourth District and Co-Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). Rep. Smith has served as the Fourth District's representative since 1981, and in that time has become a Congressional champion of human rights and global freedom. In addition to serving as Co-Chairman of the CECC, Rep. Smith is also Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Co-Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam, and a member of the Congressional Cuba Democracy Caucus.
Marion Smith is a civil society leader, expert in international affairs, and has been Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation since March 2014. As Executive Director, he provides strategic leadership for VOC and spearheads its educational initiatives. He is also founding president of the Common Sense Society, an international foundation that promotes civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and leadership virtues among young professionals in the United States and Europe. His articles have appeared in various publications and he is a regular guest analyst on major network and cable television news channels, including ABC, NBC, MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN.
The Honorable Edvīns Šnore
Hon. Edvīns Šnore is a film director and member of the Latvian Saeima. Šnore's first feature-length documentary, The Soviet Story, depicts the Bolshevik Revolution and the bloody early history of the Soviet Union. The film goes on to highlight the massive death toll of Soviet communism, the ideological and strategic closeness of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany before 1941, and the origins of modern totalitarianism and political genocide in Marxist theory. For his work on The Soviet Story, Šnore received the Latvian Order of the Three Stars in 2008, and the Estonian Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana in 2009.
Amb. György Szapáry previously served as Hungarian Ambassador to the United States from 2011-2015. Amb. Szapáry was born to an aristocratic Hungarian family in Tiszabura, Hungary. He left Hungary after the 1956 Soviet Invasion of the country, completing his graduate studies at the University of Louvain, in Belgium, where he attained both an MA and a PhD in economics. He returned to Hungary and recuperated his Hungarian citizenship after the fall of communism.
Dr. F. Flagg Taylor, IV is an associate professor of government at Skidmore College. Taylor’s specialty is in the history of political thought and American government, especially the question of executive power. He is the co-author of The Contested Removal Power, 1789-2010, author of numerous articles, and editor of The Great Lie: Classic and Recent Appraisals of Ideology and Totalitarianism and The Long Night of the Watchman: Essays by Václav Benda, 1977-1989.
Marianna Yarovskaya is the director of the film Women of the Gulag, which is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities Bridging Cultures Through Film program. Yarovskaya directed and produced Undesirables, which won a Student Academy Award (Student Oscar), a College Emmy Award, and was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Her film Holy Warriors, about a sniper turned priest, played in 35 countries and won numerous awards.
Elena Zhemkova is the Executive Director of the Russian human rights NGO Memorial Society. She is curator of Memorial’s projects concerning the legacy of World War II in Russia. Additionally, she has been a member of the Council of the Moscow Scientific Informational and Educational Center.
Hon. Emanuelis Zingeris is a Member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania and a signatory of the 1990 Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania. He has chaired both the foreign affairs and human rights committees, and served as Director of the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum, Vice President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and Chairman of the International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania. In 2010, he was awarded the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom.