NEW YORK, May 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sam Kliger, AJC's director of Russian Jewish community affairs and a top expert on the former Soviet Union, will spend the next several months in Kiev to serve as the global advocacy organization's representative to the Ukrainian Jewish community, government and civil society.
"Sam has the experience and expertise to represent AJC on the ground amidst the evolving situation in Ukraine," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "The stakes are extremely high for Ukraine – and for the country's Jewish community. AJC has played a path-breaking role since becoming the first Jewish group, in 1991, to call on the U.S. to recognize the re-establishment of Ukrainian independence, which the Bush Administration did eventually do."
Kliger met with Jewish community leaders in Kiev in February, shortly after the departure of President Viktor Yanukovich.
In April, an AJC delegation, led by Harris and staffed by Kliger, visited Kiev to meet with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyukand other top government officials, as well as with Jewish community leadership. Several Ukrainian Jewish representatives attended the AJC Global Forum in Washington last week, and the prime minister delivered a special video message to the more than 2000 attendees.
"Especially during this turbulent time, we want the Ukrainian people to know that AJC is there in solidarity," said Kliger. "I look forward to further strengthening the unique ties between AJC and Jewish community leadership, and to underscoring our concern for the well-being of the country as a whole."
Kliger immigrated to the U.S. from Moscow in 1990 after being a "refusenik" for many years. He has traveled regularly for AJC to Russia, Ukraine and the region since he joined the staff in 2003.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee