March 29, 2024

SIU Paul Simon Institute talk to focus on American democracy, human rights and Ukraine

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Evelyn Farkas, executive director of the McCain Institute, will join Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute on Monday, April 1, for a virtual conversation about the urgent need to bolster American democracy, advance human rights and support Ukraine as it responds to Russia’s invasion.

Farkas will join John Shaw, the institute’s director, to discuss her career in international affairs and the mission of the McCain Institute, which advances the values and legacy of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain. It is based in Washington, D.C. and is part of Arizona State University.

The discussion, via Zoom at 2 p.m., is free and open to the public, but registration is required. The conversation is part of the institute’s “Understanding Our New World” discussion series. Visit to register.

“Evelyn Farkas has served with distinction at senior levels of the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government and has worked in the private sector,” Shaw said. “We are eager to learn how the McCain Institute, under Dr. Farkas’ leadership, is working to both confront daunting problems and train the next generation of public service leaders.”

She is the daughter of Hungarian refugees who fled their country in 1956. She grew up in New York, has an undergraduate degree from Franklin and Marshall College and graduate degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Farkas was a senior staffer at the Senate Armed Services Committee and the executive director of a congressional commission that focused on preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. She was a senior adviser to the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and the deputy assistant secretary of defense during President Barack Obama’s administration, with responsibilities that included Russia, Ukraine, the Balkans and conventional arms control.

Farkas became McCain Institute director in May 2022. She has been a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund and the Atlantic Council and established her own consulting firm.

Attendees are encouraged to submit questions for Farkas on the registration form or email questions to

More information, a list of the institute’s upcoming events and past speakers and events are available.