The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' (WWICS) Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a benefit dinner honoring Ambassador George F. Kennan (pictured left). The event, being held on Monday, October 4, at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C., will feature James A. Baker III, former Secretary of State, as keynote speaker.

The Kennan Institute was founded as a division of the Woodrow Wilson Center in December of 1974, through the joint initiative of Ambassador George F. Kennan, then Wilson Center Director James Billington, and historian Frederick Starr. Named in honor of Ambassador Kennan's relative, George Kennan "the Elder," a nineteenth century explorer of Russia and Siberia, the Kennan Institute is committed to improving American expertise and knowledge about Russia and the former Soviet Union.

Ambassador Kennan entered the foreign service in 1926 and accompanied Ambassador William Bullitt to Moscow to reopen the American Embassy in 1933. He was Ambassador to the USSR in 1952 and to Yugoslavia from 1961-1963. Upon retiring from the foreign service, Ambassador Kennan held a number of academic posts and fellowships, including a Woodrow Wilson Center Fellowship in 1974-1975. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1989.

In addition to commemorating its 25th anniversary, the dinner will also serve as a fundraiser for the Kennan Institute. "It will be the perfect opportunity to both applaud the past 25 years of research and press forward for another explorative 25 years," said Joseph A. Cari, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the WWICS. "The Kennan Institute is one of our nation's most important resources in understanding Russia, and the current situations and dynamics occurring in the other nations of the former USSR."

Dr. Blair A. Ruble, director of the Kennan Institute since 1989, noted that the Institute's mission is as important today as it was a quarter-century ago. "What happens in Russia, " Ruble said, "continues to shape how we Americans live out our lives, how much money will be available for domestic concerns, and how much attention we have to pay to the outside world. The end of the Cold War has changed how the Kennan Institute goes about its business, but in no way diminishes the importance of enhanced American knowledge of Russia and the other states of the region."

Ticket costs for the benefit dinner begin at $250.00 and are partially tax deductible. Corporate rates are from $2,500.00 to $10,000.00. For further information on purchasing tickets, please contact Charles Kovas in the Center's Development Office at (202) 691-4175 or Joseph Dresen in the Kennan Institute at (202) 691-4245