ASU’s Launch of Ukrainian University Stalled Due to Russian Invasion

ASU’s Launch of Ukrainian University Stalled Due to Russian Invasion

By Corinne Murdock |

Arizona State University (ASU) planned to launch American University Kyiv (AUK) next month, a private Ukrainian university offering both bachelor’s and master’s degrees comprised from ASU curriculum. 

American University Kyiv Founding Rector Roman Sheremeta claimed to ABC15 that he miraculously avoided Russia’s invasion by one day, not knowing he avoided their breach by a mere 24 hours. Sheremeta — a Ukrainian native who resided in Cleveland, Ohio until AUK development — added that the remainder of his family living in Ukraine were safe. 

In a response to ABC15, Sheremeta criticized the U.S. for not taking a more active approach to thwarting Russia’s advances. 

“This is not the end of the story, and the west has been very inactive in terms of their responses,” said Sheremeta. “They didn’t believe this would happen in the 21st century, and Putin will go as far as the west allows him to do.”

AUK was a product of Cintana Alliance, an initiative launched by ASU President Michael Crow and education magnate Doug Becker: founder of an expansive private equity firm, Sterling Partners; founder and prior chairman and CEO of the largest education company globally, Laureate Education; and prior chairman and CEO of the largest K-12 tutoring company in the U.S., Sylvan Learning Systems. Becker also has membership within the John Hopkins Medicine Board of Trustees and chairs the International Youth Foundation (IYF) Board.

Becker’s business ventures have deep, controversial ties with the Clintons. Former President Bill Clinton held the position of Honorary Chancellor of Laureate Education, receiving about $18 million in compensation: something that stirred up controversy during Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run. Hillary’s trove of emails off her server revealed that, after she was newly appointed as secretary of state in 2009, she insisted that Becker be invited to a private State Department dinner on higher-education policy due to his long-standing support for her and Bill. The Clinton Foundation reportedly received millions from Laureate Education, partnering with them for global initiatives for several years. Over the next few years following that state department dinner, Bill would be appointed honorary chancellor at Becker’s company, Hillary announced Laureate Education would be part of the State Department Global Partnership, and the State Department gave IYF over $25 million.

Also involved in AUK’s development was the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) Ambassador Kurt Volker, as Arizona Daily Independent reported. Considering former President Donald Trump underwent impeachment hearings over his investigation into President Joe Biden and Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian and Chinese business dealings — confirmed and memorialized in breaking investigative reporting by New York Post as “Hunter Biden’s laptop” — Volker’s role as special envoy to Ukraine at the time spurred controversy. The negative press prompted Volker to step down from his roles within the Trump Administration and as the McCain Institute Executive Director. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to