Long before Americans could recognize Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his khaki T-shirt, Iuliia Mendel was barraged with media inquiries about the infamous conversation between the Ukrainian president and President Donald Trump. As Zelenskyy’s press secretary, she was flying off to Moscow to attend his meetings with President Putin, watching his transformation from popular comedian to their nation’s leader—and admiring his success at reshaping a former Soviet state into a prosperous European democracy.
Few individuals have had a better perspective on the tangle of international intrigue, domestic political wrangling and colliding facts that plunged Ukraine into war with Russia, and in her candid and moving new book, The Fight for Our Lives: My Time with Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s Battle for Democracy, and What It Means for the World, she shares those tense realities.
The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center is proud to welcome Ms. Mendel to discuss President Zelenskyy’s unlikely rise to the center of the world stage, the struggle for a new Ukrainian identity in the post-Soviet world—and the challenge of writing a book with Russian bombs and shells exploding in the background.
Before winning a competition to become President Zelenskyy’s press secretary, Iuliia Mendel spent 14 years working as a TV and print journalist and a communications consultant for the World Bank.
Proof of Covid-19 vaccination + booster, along with valid photo identification, required for entry. Masks are no longer required but are encouraged and are available to those who request.