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UkraineAlertDec 26, 2022
Eight reasons for Ukrainian optimism in 2023
By Brian Mefford
Ukrainians have experienced an incredibly traumatic year but the country enters 2023 with reason for cautious optimism that Vladimir Putin's criminal invasion can be decisively defeated, writes Brian Mefford.
Brian Mefford is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Named by the Kyiv Post newspaper as one of the 20 “Most Influential Expats in Ukraine,” Mefford has lived and worked in Eastern Europe continuously for more than 20 years. He is currently the owner and founder of Wooden Horse Strategies, LLC, a governmental relations and strategic communications firm based in Kyiv.
Born in California, he is a graduate of Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas, with a bachelor’s of business administration degree with an emphasis in finance. After university, Mefford worked in the banking and financial sector while building a political career. Mefford began his political work at the age of 16 and won his first elected office as a city alderman at the age of 18. He won his second office the following year to serve as a school board member. His political activities and campaign experience later resulted in his appointment by then Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee as a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Gifted and Talented Education in 1997.
In the spring of 1999, Mefford joined the International Republican Institute (IRI) as resident program officer in Kyiv, Ukraine. For over a decade, Mefford trained, advised, and consulted with thousands of political activists and governmental officials in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Caucasus, and Iraq. In 2009, Mefford managed an international consulting team working for Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko. Mefford speaks English, Ukrainian, and Russian.