The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars today announced the creation of a new program to study the impact of global changes on people’s lives, from their environment and health to their security and economic wellbeing.

The Global Sustainability and Resilience Program will be led by Blair A. Ruble, who will leave his position as director of the Center’s Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies. The new program will combine and build upon the ongoing contributions to the field by the Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, Global Health Initiative, China Environment Forum, and Comparative Urban Studies Program.

Click here to read the press release in its entirety. A personal letter from Dr. Ruble is featured below.

Dear Friends,

We live in an era when the pace and scope of global change – including forces such as population growth, resource scarcity, urbanization, migration, and economic development – increasingly impact all of us as individuals, from our health and security to our environment and economic well-being. This complex web of the global and local has led the Wilson Center to create a new program focusing on global sustainability and resilience.

I am thrilled to announce that I will direct this new program, which will combine the ongoing efforts of the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, Global Health Initiative, China Environment Forum, and Comparative Urban Studies Program. This new initiative will integrate and build upon their already substantial contributions to the field.

I will continue my affiliation with the Kennan Institute by serving as a Senior Advisor and working on questions of urbanization, migration, and diversity in Russia and Ukraine.  I will be stepping down as the institute’s director and Deputy Director William E. Pomeranz will become its Acting Director. 

Such moments of transition are frequently described as “bittersweet.”  But this time there is no bitter, only sweet. For the past quarter century I have held what is arguably the best position in the field of Russian studies.  I have worked with truly incredible colleagues who consistently converted my dreams into reality.  I will be forever grateful to the hardworking Kennan staff in Washington, Moscow, and Kyiv; to the Kennan Institute Advisory Council members who have given me sage counsel along the way; to the scholars who have so thoughtfully contributed to our programs; and to the donors who made everything that we achieved possible.

Looking forward, I am excited to spend the next stage of my career steeped in issues about which I have come to care deeply.  The challenge of nurturing a rich variety of human experiences that can inspire social resilience deserves great reflection, which I hope our program activities can advance. 

I am grateful to the Wilson Center for having given me the opportunity to launch a new program while staying here at the Center, a unique and vitally important institution. My move is, in fact, only three floors down. Next time you are in the Wilson Center, please stop by the fifth floor.

Thank you all for your wonderful support throughout my tenure.

With the very best wishes, Blair Ruble