La Jollan appointed U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine

By Ashley Mackin

Geoffrey Pyatt of La Jolla was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine on July 30 at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. His Grace Bishop Daniel of Ukraine participated in the ceremony, and the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns administered the oath of office.

A Ukrainian Orthodox Church press release stated that there were hundreds of people in attendance, including foreign ambassadors to

the United States and various U.S. Ambassadors to foreign nations.

In his acceptance speech, native La Jollan Pyatt said, “I look forward to this opportunity to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and believe this is a critical moment for Ukraine in its long struggle to be a strong independent country in charge of it’s own destiny,” according to the press release.

The appointment comes after more than 20 years in the U.S. State Department, during which time Pyatt served in countries around the world. According to the State Department, Pyatt was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the South and Central Asia Affairs Bureau from May 2010 until his recent appointment. Prior to that, he served in Vienna, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Pakistan and Honduras, in various posts within the Foreign Service.

Despite unfamiliarity with the Ukrainian territory, Pyatt said he is familiar with its culture. He reports having many Ukrainian friends and working for Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, whose grandmother is from Pereyaslav-Khmelnitskyi in Ukraine.

He said in an interview posted on the U.S. Embassy’s website: “Before I came to Ukraine, I sat down to a wonderful lunch with Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, Oleksandr Motsyk. We enjoyed varenyky (dumplings), kulesha (spoon bread) and Ukrainian-style North American trout, as he told me about your own trout here in the Carpathians.”

Pyatt said he plans to use social media as a way to sustain an open relationship between the United States and Ukraine. He posted an introductory video on YouTube explaining his goals, which include a video blog and Facebook page.

In the video, he said that he’s inspired by the U.S. Embassy’s Facebook page, which featured famous Americans with familial connections to Ukraine, and he would move in a similar direction.

Ambassador Pyatt departed for the Ukraine to assume his new duties on Aug. 3, where he will live for the next three years.

On the Web:

YouTube Video Introducing U.S. Ambassador Geoff Pyatt to Ukraine:

Facebook page for U.S.-Ukraine Foundation: