Welcome to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council


September 12, 2007

WASHINGTON - Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko has presented state awards to the President of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), Morgan Williams, and to the Founder and President of the U.S.
-Ukraine Foundation (USUF), Nadia Komarnyckyj McConnell. USUF is a member of the USUBC.

Williams is Director of Government Affairs, Washington office, for the SigmaBleyzer Emerging Markets Private Equity Group and is serving as President of the USUBC.

President Victor Yushchenko announced a series of state awards on Independence Day to those who made a contribution to Ukraine's development. Yushchenko stated the awards were to those, "who have served the Ukrainian state most loyally. I thank them for their professional and creative efforts."

The Decree of the President of Ukraine # 739/2007 in part states the
following: "On awarding state decorations of Ukraine to foreign citizens for distinguished personal contributions in strengthening the image of Ukraine in the world, spreading the word about Ukraine's historical and present-day achievements and on the occasion of the 16th anniversary of Ukraine's independence, I hereby resolve:

"To award the Distinguished Services Order (3rd degree) to: Morgan Williams, Chairman, the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, a U.S. citizen..,

"To award the Countess Olha Order (3rd degree) to: Nadya Komarnyckyj McConnell, President of the US-Ukraine Foundation, a U.S. citizen....."

The president "Wished the awardees success and expressed hopes they would continue to use their intellect to benefit Ukraine."

The order "For the Distinguished Services" is awarded for distinguished services in the economy, science, social, cultural, military, state, civil and other sectors. The 3rd degree is reserved specially for decorating foreigners" - the official document on state orders states.

Nadia Komarnyckyj McConnell is the Founder and the President of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation. Through her vision and leadership the Foundation established a presence in Ukraine even before Ukrainian independence.

Today Mrs. McConnell directs the development and implementation of projects, and represents the Foundation in all related U.S.- Ukrainian affairs.

Prior to establishing the Foundation, she was the president of NKM Associates, a government relations and public affairs firm. While in the private sector Mrs. McConnell was involved in numerous activities related to Ukraine.

She established and chaired Ukraine 2000 a Washington-based organization that played an active role in educating the American administration and Congress regarding Ukraine and urged stronger relations between the Untied States and Ukraine.

In 1990 she developed a partnership with Indiana University and through that partnership was able to convince the US government to fund the first ever delegation to the United States of officials from a specific republic of the Soviet Union, Ukraine.

That first delegation of the Ukrainian parliamentarians visited Indiana and Washington in April, 1991. She has also held several positions in the United States government during the Reagan Administration, including Director of Congressional Relations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) and Deputy Assistant Administrator for Legislative Affairs for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (1983 - 1987).

At NASA among other things she was credited as being one of the key architects for the development of and implementation of the administration's strategy to secure congressional authorization of an American space station.

While serving in the Administration, she served in a voluntary leadership capacity in community efforts to secure passage of legislation to establish the Ukrainian Famine Commission, to gain congressional recognition of the Chornobyl disaster and she was a National Chair of the Government Relations Committee of the Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine effort in the United States.

In the private sector, Mrs. McConnell was the Government Relations and Public Affairs Director for the Arizona Multi-Housing Association, Director of Training for the Hecht Company, and Director of Human Resources for Arcoa Int'l.

She has spent her 40 year professional career, 10 of it in government service, using her entrepreneurial and executive skills to design and manage programs and organizations with emphasis on strategic policy development.
Mrs. McConnell holds a BA in political science from Arizona State University.

She has received a number of awards for her community service, an Alumni Achievement Award from Arizona State University and several meritorious citations for her accomplishments in the government. In 2005, Nadia McConnell was named by President George W. Bush as part of the U.S.
delegation to attend the inauguration of Ukraine's president, Viktor Yushchenko. This is the second award she has received from a president of Ukraine.

USUF manages a suite of offices in downtown Washington which includes the office of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council and the U.S.Baltic Foundation.

Morgan Williams has worked in the field of international economic and business development for the past twenty-six years. He became involved with Ukraine in the 1992 when he began working on food system develop- ment projects in Russia and Ukraine as CNFA Senior Advisor in Washington.

CNFA worked on a variety of private sector food system business develop- ment projects with private U.S. agricultural and food companies in Russia and Ukraine under a large contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

From 1997 to 1999 Willams was President/CEO of a private agricultural input finance company headquartered in Kyiv, Ukraine.

For the past several years Mr. Williams has been working for the SigmaBleyzer Emerging Markets Private Equity Group. He is now Director, Government Affairs, Washington Office for SigmaBleyzer.

SigmaBleyzer was founded in 1991 by Michael Bleyzer and has over
$1 billion under management in several private equity investment funds and special purpose vehicles (SPV's). SigmaBleyzer specializes in emerging markets with focus on the transition economies of Eastern Europe (EE) and the Former Soviet Union (FSU).

SigmaBleyzer has been an active member of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) in Washington and has supported a program to expand the membership and work of the USUBC. Mr. Williams represents SigmaBleyzer on USUBC board of directors and is presently serving as President.  The membership of USUBC has doubled in the last nine months.

Williams is founder, publisher and editor of the Action Ukraine Report (AUR), an electronic news and information service that has been distributed worldwide for the past five years.

He is founder and trustee of the Holodomor Exhibition and Education Collection composed of original artworks by Ukrainian artists about the Soviet induced starvation of 1932-1933 which murdered millions of Ukrainians.

He serves as a member of President Yushchenko's Committee for the 75th Commemoration of the Holodomor 2007-2008 and as chairman of the Exhibition Committee of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) International Holodomor Committee.

Williams is Trustee of the Dr. James Mace Holodomor Memorial Fund administered by the Ukrainian Federation of America (UFA) and is an Advisor to the Board of Directors of USUF. In 2000 he founded the website www.ArtUkraine.com.

Morgan Williams came to Washington in 1977 to serve as a Professional Staff Member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee for the ranking Republican on the Committee, Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan).

He had spent the previous 15 years working in the private and public sector in his homestate of Kansas. His family immigrated from Wales in the late 1860's and settled in Iowa and Missouri working as farmers and coal miners.

He received an appointment in 1968 from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Clifford Hardin to serve as Kansas State Director of the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA), the major rural and agricultural development agency of the USDA. Williams was FmHA State Director for 8 years.

In 1979 Williams was the Midwest Director of the Dole for President Committee, Des Moines, Iowa. In 1980 he served on the personal staff of Senator Dole in Washington. During Senator Dole's 1987-1988 campaign for President Williams was Executive Director of the National Ranchers and Farmers for Dole Committee (RFD).

In late 1980 he started his international work as president of a cooperative development organization in Washington that designed and implemented food system  expansion projects in countries such as India, Haiti, Indonesia, and Egypt.

He represented the United States on the board of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) in Geneva, Switzerland and served on the board of directors of the National Cooperative Bank (NCB), the Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF) and the Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (VOCA) in Washington.

Williams was appointed by USAID Administrator Peter McPherson as chairman of the USAID Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA) in 1982. He served for four years.

Williams holds a BA degree from Ottawa University, Ottawa, Kansas and a MA degree in economics from the University of Kansas.

LINK: http://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/data/1_18268.html
LINK: http://www.president.gov.ua/documents/6574.html