Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. William Taylor at a Media Literacy Symposium for Educators

October 7, 2019

Dobriy den [Good afternoon].  So, I’m very pleased to be here with all of you.  I’m particularly pleased to be here with my colleague, [IREX President and CEO] Kristin Lord, with whom I’ve worked for a long time.  And [United Kingdom] Ambassador Simmons, great to have you in this country, Ambassador.  And all of you who are participating in the Learn to Discern program — a critically important one, as both of my colleagues have described.  And as Ambassador Simmons said, the reason that it’s so focused here — the reason that we’re here in Ukraine — is Ukraine is on the front line.  Ukraine has been attacked. It has been attacked militarily, and it is being attacked from an information – with an information weapon.

And these weapons need to be discerned.  We need to understand these weapons.  We need to figure out where the truth is and where the falsity is. And that’s what Learn to Discern is helping to do.  As I say, Ukraine is on the front line.  We are learning a lot from the lessons here in Ukraine. We’re learning a lot militarily, I will tell you, that again our  British colleagues and we are working with the Ukrainian military, and the Ukrainian military is teaching us a lot about what it is like, and what the tactics are, fighting the Russians.  This is an important lesson.  This is the same kind of lessons that we are learning here in Learn to Discern.

It’s really important that we take these lessons — and again, as Ambassador Simmons just said — to the next step.  The Russians have come here, people will say that the Russians continue.  This disinformation campaign has taken place in the United States, as we know.  We’re learning how to fight this information war.  As Kristin Lord just said, in the United States, we are learning from the Learn to Discern program here in Ukraine.  She has begun programs in New Jersey, and in Arizona — and somewhere else, Kristin, that you told me that I can’t remember —  but we are learning in the United States from the lessons that you have picked up here.  So let me just thank you all very much for what you’re doing.  Thanks for teaching us how we can be with you in this struggle.  And count on us to be with you for the years to come. Thank you all very much.