Jamie Fly recently informed the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty board—on which I have the pleasure of serving—that after four and a half years in Europe it’s time for him and his family to return to Washington. Jamie has done a magnificent job as president and CEO. He’s a transformational leader and will be sorely missed. Jamie informed his employees today and the search now begins for his successor.
Meanwhile, the RFE/RL board asked me to step in as acting president/CEO. After careful consideration, I felt it important to accept this role; I’ll be moving to Prague in June for up to six months. Headquartered in the Czech Republic’s capital, RFE/RL, as many of you know, is a congressionally funded, multi-platform media organization producing news and information in twenty-seven languages across twenty-three countries (with bureaus in twenty-one of these countries). RFE/RL serves audiences in closed, semi-closed, and war-torn societies.
As it happens I’m writing for American Purpose from Vilnius, where conditions in neighboring Belarus have led to the opening of a new RFE/RL office here for Belarusian journalists and staff living in exile. Two colleagues and a spouse remain behind in prison in Minsk. RFE/RL's Russian colleagues have been moved to Riga. There’s heroic reporting done by RFE/RL in Ukraine. RFE/RL staff from Iran are remarkable and brave. So, too, the Afghans, Pakistanis, and many others.
I’m privileged to do my part. And there’s opportunity in all of this for American Purpose. As I step back for a moment, our exceptionally gifted managing editor Carolyn Stewart will step forward as acting editor-in-chief. Carolyn and the rest of our formidable team will drive things forward; they already have creative ideas about how to bring new value to our American Purpose content and convening (including by tapping into RFE/RL talent and expertise).
I’m not disappearing. Carolyn, American Purpose colleagues, and I will be in contact. I'll stay in close contact, as well, of course, with our cofounders and trustees, Francis Fukuyama (chair of our editorial board) and Craig Kennedy, and others in our treasured network. Same vision, same values.
So many of you have been generous in so many ways. We’ll turn to you in this phase, as American Purpose moves to a new exciting, level.
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