Natalie Jaresko, Finance Minister of Ukraine from December 2014 to June 2016, will present a lecture hosted by the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) at the University of Michigan on November 7. In the talk, she will discuss developments in the past two years, when Ukraine has been focused on defending its territory and combatting a deep recession. Jaresko will offer solutions for strengthening institutions critical to economic stability and suggestions for urgent steps that need to be taken to turn Ukraine’s opportunity and potential into competitive realities.

As Finance Minister, Natalie Jaresko led the successful negotiation of the largest IMF program in the institution’s history, as well as a complex debt restructuring. Her government’s success in restoring macroeconomic stability enabled the creation of a broad international financial coalition to support Ukraine’s transition. She led the reduction of public spending, cutting the deficit by more than 75% to 2.1% of GDP in 2015. She also advanced tax reform resulting in an almost 50% reduction in payroll tax, eliminated tax privileges which favored vested interests, implemented a transparent e-data system placing all treasury transactions online in real time, and initiated corporate governance reform in state-owned banks. “Ms. Jaresko has successfully steered Ukraine through one of its most dire financial and political crises in recent memory,” says WCED director Allen Hicken. “No one is more qualified to talk about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.” She currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Aspen Institute Kyiv.

Natalie Jaresko’s lecture, “Ukraine: The Next Stage of Transition,” will be presented on November 7 at 5:30 PM in the Helmut Stern Auditorium at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, 525 S. State. It is co-sponsored by the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and is free and open to the public.

The Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED) combines academics with practical applications, promoting scholarship to better understand the conditions and policies that foster the transition from autocratic rule to democratic governance, past and present. It also educates new generations of practitioners who can apply their learning and experience to help extend democratic freedoms. Named in honor of Ronald and Eileen Weiser and inspired by their time in Slovakia during Ambassador Weiser’s service as U.S. ambassador from 2001-04, WCED began operations in September 2008. For more information, visit


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