Board of Directors and Officers
Xenia Woyevodsky, President
Ms. Woyevodsky has extensive professional experience in the areas of international education, health, humanitarian activities and culture. She served as international consultant at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and worked on the UN “Year of the Child.” As Executive Director/CEO of the Tolstoy Foundation, Inc., founded in l939 in New York City by Alexandra Tolstoy, youngest daughter of Leo Tolstoy, she expanded the Foundation's activities in the Russian Federation through the establishment of viable working partnerships with federal and regional agencies, like-minded organizations, academic institutions and museum/estate centers to support educational activities and to raise cultural awareness. Russian-American joint projects included semester abroad exchange programs for the empowerment of disadvantaged children and a ground-breaking exhibit in Moscow on the life and work of Alexandra Lvovna Tolstoy, sponsored by two major museums, the Ministry of Culture and the American Embassy. As Director of the “Consortium of Russian-American Parishes and Organizations,” she established a pilot summer program at the L.N. Museum/Estate at Yasnaya Polyana in Tula with a grant from the Russian Ministry of Education. Since 2011, Member of the Governing Board of the Friends of the Russian Cultural Centre in Washington, D.C.
Liya Jacobsen, Vice President and Treasurer
Co-Founder of the International Firebird Arts Foundation, Ms. Jacobsen is a CPA and a graduate of the Harvard Business School. Ms. Jacobsen's professional experience includes financial consulting for international companies, working at Deutsche Bank (New York), as well as at domestic investment and accounting firms. She has organized various charitable events in Russia and the U.S., and is a member of the international women’s organization “Vital Voices” with the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.
Serge Lopoukhine, Secretary
Vice President of Purchasing for major pharmaceutical corporation (retired). Former Vice President and Treasurer of The Tolstoy Foundation, Inc. in Valley Cottage, N.Y. (1995-2002). Actively involved in the Russian-American community through church and other charitable projects.
Gregory G. Gagarin
President of Knorr Brake Corporation (retired). International consultant in marketing, management and engineering. Member of the Governing Board of the Russian Cultural Center in Washington, D.C.
H.E. Sergey I. Kislyak
Ambassador of the Russian Federation in the United States.
The Honorable Esther Coopersmith
In 2009 Esther Coopersmith was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for intercultural dialogue by the Director-general in acknowledgement of the major role she played in the return of the U.S. to UNESCO. Experienced in governmental, political, charitable and cultural affairs, including high-level Russian-American initiatives, Mrs. Coopersmith has served in a myriad of capacities including U.S. representative to the United Nations and special advisor to the State Department. In 1982 she became the first woman since Eleanor Roosevelt to receive the United Nations Peace Prize.
Television journalist, author and host of programs on Russian Federal Television “Petersburg Channel 5.”
Susan Elaine Eisenhower
Granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower. Consultant, author, and expert on international security and relations between the Russian Federation and the United States of America. She serves as President of the Eisenhower Group, Inc, which provides strategic counsel on political, business and public affairs projects, Chairman of Leadership and Public Policy Programs & Chairman Emeritus of the Eisenhower Institute, Susan Eisenhower is also a Senior Director of Stonebridge International and a governing board member of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Member of the Executive Committee of “Consortium of Russian- American Parishes and Organizations,” assisting disadvantaged children in Russia.
Suzanne Massie has been involved in many aspects of study and work in the Soviet Union/Russia for 38 years and continues to be an active participant in the cultural and social concerns of the city of St. Petersburg. Author: Land of the Firebird, Pavlovsk, The Living Mirror, Journey and Nicholas and Alexandra, on which she worked with her former husband Robert K. Massie. She has worked in the development of art exhibitions with many of the foremost art museums of both the United States and Russia. She has lectured widely in the United States. From 1984-88 she advised President Ronald Reagan, meeting with him 21 times during the critical years of the ending of the Cold War.
The Honorable Jack Matlock
U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from l987 to 1991, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for European and Soviet Affairs on the National Security Council Staff from 1983 until 1986, and Ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1981 to 1983. Professor and Author of numerous articles and books on Russian literature, history and U.S.-Russian relations, including Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended and Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador's Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union.
President of “Books for Russia” Committee, author and formerly with Voice of America.
The Honorable Thomas Pickering
Vice Chairman of Hills & Company, International Consultants. Formerly Senior Vice President International Relations and a member of the Executive Council of The Boeing Company. In a diplomatic career spanning five decades, he has served as U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. From 1989 to 1992, he served as Ambassador and Representative to the United Nations in New York. He also served as Executive Secretary of the Department of State and Special Assistant to Secretaries William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger from 1973 to 1974.
Nicholas von Rintelin
Attorney in Munich, Germany. As direct descendant of Alexander Pushkin, he is involved in major international projects honoring Russia’s great poet and writer.
Olga Sergeyevna Ryan
Instructor/Adjunct Professor of Russian studies. Taught at various universities, including Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The American University. For over 19 years served as guide/docent at Hillwood Museum, specializing in Russian decorative arts and Faberge.
Founder and President of the Scriabine Foundation supporting the A.N. Scriabine Museum in Moscow and programs to assist vulnerable marginalized groups in Russia. Also serves on the board of a number of non profit organizations including: the Faberge Arts Foundation, the Russian Childrens’ Welfare Society and Synetic Theatre. Grand-niece of the Russian composer Alexander Nikolaevich Scriabin (l872-1915).
Marilyn Pfeifer Swezey
Independent art historian specializing in Russian Decorative Arts and Cultural History. As lecturer, writer and curator, she has been associated with Hillwood Museum in Washington, D.C., the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Faberge Arts Foundation and the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation and has been Guest Curator of special exhibitions from Russian musueums, including “Nicholas and Alexandra, At Home with the Last Tsar and his family (2004-5) and The Tsar and the President, Alexander II and Lincoln (2006-2008). She is also an editor and contributing author of books on Faberge and the Romanovs.
The Honorable James W. Symington
Chairman of the Russian-American Cultural Cooperation Foundation. Former member of Congress and former U.S. diplomat, Symington served as director of the Library of Congress Russian Leadership Program, and is a long-time student of Russian culture. Symington is also a published poet and author of “A Muse N’ Washington,” as well as an enthusiastic singer of Russian songs.
American painter of the Russian Representational School and a Soviet Art scholar based in Los Angeles. Son of prominent Social Realism painter Leonid Steele. Alexey furthered his professional education as a painter at the Surikov Art Institute of the Soviet Academy of Arts in Moscow, studying under Ilya Glazunov. Steele had his first one-man exhibition in the United States at the Carnegie Museum of Art in California in 2004. He has gained recognition for his unusual multi-figure compositions of an exceptionally large scale.
President, Strickland Associates. Former President “National Peace Foundation” and member of the U.N. Foundation.
Member of Executive Committee, “Friends of Vladimir Andreyev”
Count Vladimir Illich Tolstoy
Director of the State Museum/Estate of L.N. Tolstoy in Yasnaya Polyana (Tula Region). Count Tolstoy is the writer’s great-great-grandson .
Russian-born free-lance artist
The Honorable Yuri V. Ushakov
Deputy chief of staff responsible for foreign-policy and international economic issues in the office of the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. Former Ambassador of the Russian Federation in the United States (1999-2008).