Montana Native, Former Ambassador to Russia to Conclude President’s Lecture Series

March 19, 2019

Dr. Michael McFaulMISSOULA – A Montana native who stewarded peaceful relations with Russia will deliver the final installment of the 2018-19 University of Montana President’s Lecture Series.

Michael McFaul, Stanford professor, former U.S. ambassador to Russia and best-selling author on advancing democracy abroad, will present “From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10 at the Wilma in downtown Missoula. The talk is the Lucile Speer Memorial Lecture.   

McFaul also will present that same day “U.S. Foreign Policy in the Trump Era” at 3:30 p.m. in the UC Theater. Both events are free and open to the public. Doors will open an hour before each event.

“It’s an honor to welcome an accomplished Montana native back home to deliver this year’s Lucile Speer Memorial Lecture,” said Rob Saldin, coordinator for the lecture series and UM political science professor. “Ambassador McFaul’s visit offers our community a unique opportunity to hear about the relationship between the U.S. and Russia from America’s former top diplomat in Moscow.”

While in Missoula, the ambassador also will engage with a wide variety of audiences, including a visit to an honors history class at Hellgate High School taught by Patricia Hixson.

An accomplished scholar of great power relations on the international stage, McFaul served five years as special assistant to President Barack Obama and later as senior director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House. From 2012 to 2014, McFaul was posted in Moscow, where he aided American foreign policy as the U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation.

Currently holding several academic positions at Stanford University, McFaul is the Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini Professor of International Studies in Political Science, director and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. McFaul also has served as the Distinguished Mingde Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Center at Peking University in Beijing, China.

His memoir, “From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia” was a New York Times best-seller. McFaul’s earlier works include, “Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should, How We Can,” “Transitions To Democracy: A Comparative Perspective,” “Power and Purpose: American Policy toward Russia after the Cold War” and “Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin.”

 A regular contributing columnist to The Washington Post, McFaul also is an analyst for NBC News. His current research includes great power relations between China, Russia and the United States and the relationship between democracy and development.   

McFaul received his bachelor’s degree in international relations and Slavic languages and his master’s degree in Soviet and East European studies, both from Stanford University. As a Rhodes Scholar, he completed his doctorate in international relations at Oxford University in 1991. 

The President’s Lecture Series at UM consists of several talks throughout the academic year on vital topics by distinguished guest speakers. For more information visit, call 406-243-2311 or email


Contact: Office of the President , Office of the President , 406-243-2311,