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The Baltics: Living with the Bear

  • 10 Nov 2021
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • Online


The Baltics: Living with the Bear

Discussion with Ambassadors Anne Hall, James D. Melville Jr., and Michael C. Polt

The three Baltic nations - Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania - have proud histories as rich and independent cultures. Incorporated into the Soviet Union at the start of World War II, they regained their independence as the Cold War and Soviet era came to an end in 1989-91. The three nations have sought to rebuild dynamic and democratic societies that are integrated with Western Europe, but face regular political, economic and military threats from an increasingly hostile Russian neighbor.

Ambassadors Hall, Melville, and Polt have extensive recent experience in the Baltic region and will give us a first-hand flavor of what it means to live under constant Russian pressure.

Continuing Russian cyberattacks, Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea (with no Western push back), ongoing issues with Latvia’s ethnic Russians, and even the recent hurried US departure from Afghanistan are a few examples of major Baltic region worries and discussion topics at the November 10 program.



FREE for PCFR Members

$10 for Non-Members


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

12 pm - 1 pm MST

2 pm - 3 pm EDT


Zoom Meeting

The link for this webinar will be included in your registration confirmation email.


Ambassador Anne Hall

Former U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania

Anne Hall is a retired U.S. Ambassador and career diplomat with 32 years of experience with the Department of State in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

As the Ambassador to Lithuania from 2016-2019, Hall led a multiagency team focused on strengthening Baltic defense and security. From 2014-2016 she served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, and prior to that as Director of the Office of Central European Affairs in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. Other overseas leadership positions included Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy Vilnius, Lithuania, and Consul General of the US Consulate General in Krakow, Poland. She also served in China, Brazil and Colombia.

Earlier in her career, Hall served as Special Assistant to Secretary of State Warren Christopher, in the Executive Secretariat of the Secretary of State, and worked on Nordic and Baltic Affairs as well as Southeastern European Affairs.

She is the recipient of several Department of State Superior and Meritorious Honor awards. In 2019 the President of Lithuania awarded her the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit for Service to the Republic of Lithuania.  In 2009 she was decorated by the President of Poland with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.

Anne Hall was born in Providence, Rhode Island. She holds Masters degrees from the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Institute of Latin American Studies at University of Texas.  She graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs in 1981.

She speaks Polish, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, and some Lithuanian.

She makes her home in Blue Hill, Maine. She chairs the Board of Advisors of the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Maine, and has served as a mentor for Army War College Global Crisis Simulations. She enjoys supporting the next generation of diplomats and leaders.

Ambassador James D. Melville, Jr.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Estonia

Ambassador Jim Melville was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State for over 33 years, retiring in the autumn of 2018 after serving as U.S. Ambassador to Estonia. Highlights of his career include serving as Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) in Germany, Minister Counselor and often Chargé d'affaires (CDA) in Berlin, London and Moscow, and as Executive Director of the Bureaus of European and Eurasian Affairs and International Organization Affairs in Washington, DC.  Overseas, Jim also served in Seychelles, St. Petersburg and Paris; at the U.S. Mission to NATO; and at the U.S. Embassy to the German Democratic Republic.  His domestic assignments at the State Department included tours of duty as a Senior Watch Office, a Foreign Service Examiner and in Legislative Affairs. From 2018 until July 2021, Ambassador Melville was a professor of International Studies and Associate Dean at the School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs at the College of Charleson in Charleston, South Carolina. In 2020, Melville was a member of the Biden Campaign’s Working Groups on Foreign Policy and International Security.

Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Melville spent three years as a litigation attorney in New Jersey and New York, specializing in general practice. He speaks Russian, German, and French.  Melville graduated from Boston University with an honors degree in history, and earned a J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law.  He is a retired member of the bars of New Jersey and New York and lives in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina with his wife of 37 years, Joanna Melville.


Ambassador Michael C. Polt

Ambassador-in-Residence, ASU's Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab

Ambassador Michael C. Polt assumed his new position as ASU Ambassador-in- Residence in The College's Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab on October 1, 2020. Prior to that he had served as Senior Director at the University's McCain Institute for International Leadership after concluding his 35-year diplomatic career in 2012. The Ambassador held assignments as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Estonia and to Serbia and Montenegro. Prior to his ambassadorial missions, Ambassador Polt was Principal Deputy and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs in the Powell and Clinton State Departments. During his three decades as a career diplomat, Ambassador Polt served as U.S. Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany and Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge’ d’ Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland. He has also served as Senior Advisor to the Director General of the Foreign Service for Management Reform and was a key member of the Senior Management Steering Board directing the State Department’s 2003-2005 multi-million dollar reinvention of its Diplomatic Communications System. Ambassador Polt has held other senior positions in the Department of State, as Deputy Director for European Security and Arms Control issues, and in Panama City as Political Counselor of the U.S. Embassy during the time leading up to the U.S. military action against the Noriega regime in 1989. During his earlier career, Ambassador Polt was assigned to Embassies in Bonn, Mexico City, and Copenhagen, as well as the U.S. Consulate in Bremen, Germany. The Ambassador has been the repeated recipient of the Presidential Meritorious Service Award and numerous Department of State Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards for Outstanding Policy Leadership, Management, Crisis Performance, and Political Analysis. He has been awarded the Thomas Jefferson Award for Service to U.S. Citizens Overseas by American Citizens Abroad.

Ambassador Polt was born in Austria. He holds a bachelor’s degree and an honorary doctorate from American International College in Springfield, Mass., and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Tennessee. He and his wife Hallie live in suburban northern Virginia. They have two grown children, Nicholas and Lindsay. The Polts enjoy sailing and skiing for relaxation and a good cup of coffee with time to savor it.

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