Face to Face with
Ambassador Donald M. Blinken and Mrs. Vera Blinken
Discussing their book
"Vera and the Ambassador: Escape and Return"
Followed by a Wine Reception & Book Signing
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The Levin Institute
116 East 55th Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues)
New York, NY
6:30-7:00 p.m. Registration and Reception
7:00 p.m. Program Presentation
8:00-9:00 p.m. Holiday Party & Book Signing
We sincerely apologise for this cancellation, as the Blinkens cannot attend due to unforseen circumstances. We may reschedule this event at a later date.
Vera and the Ambassador: Escape and Return is a behind-the-scenes look at diplomacy and international relations in post-communist Eastern Europe and a personal story of a refugee's escape and triumphant return. Vera and Donald Blinken's dual memoir openly details their challenges, setbacks and victories, as they worked to advance America's interests in Eastern Europe and to restore Hungary to a pre-communist level of prosperity.
Born in Budapest, Vera escaped Soviet-occupied Hungary in 1950 and came to New York where she graduated from Vassar College with a degree in Art History. Many years later in 1994, her husband Donald Blinken was appointed Ambassador to Hungary. A former investment banker, Ambassador Blinken's skills as an administrator and his openness to innovative ideas, combined with Vera's Hungarian background, helped them deal effectively as U.S. envoys with a variety of challenges, including a collapsing economy, the threat of a slide back toward the old ways of communism, and a brutal civil war that raged across the country's southern border in the former Yugoslavia.
A native New Yorker, Ambassador Blinken has had a career blending leadership in investment banking, education, and arts patronage. He co-founded the investment banking and venture capital firm of E.M. Warburg, Pincus & Co. in 1966, and served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York from 1978 to 1990. Ambassador Blinken graduated magna cum laude in Economics from Harvard and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He received the U.S. Department of Defense Award for Distinguished Public Service and was the first U.S. ambassador to receive Hungary's highest civilian honor.
Vera Blinken has been a member of the Board of Directors of the International Rescue Committee since 1978, serving most recently as Secretary. She is currently Vice Chairman of FAPE (Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies). She was awarded the Middle Cross of the Republic of Hungary in 2002 for services to the Hungarian people.
"President Clinton made a wise choice in sending Donald and Vera Blinken to Hungary. This book serves as a reminder of the critical role that ambassadors can play in advancing the interests of our country at the pivot points of history. Their teamwork was good for Hungary, good for our country, and it also makes for a great story." — Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
"Spend time with Vera and the Ambassador—in person or in this book—and you encounter a remarkable American couple. Their devotion to each other, to our country, and to freedom is a treasure of our times." — Bill Moyers
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