Presented at the 2017 Commencement of Franklin & Marshall College
Evelyn Nicolette Farkas is a scholar, foreign policy analyst, essayist and author who, having earned a bachelor's degree in Government and German at Franklin & Marshall College and master's and doctoral degrees from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, found her passion in the realm of geopolitics.
From 2012 to 2015, Dr. Farkas served as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, the Pentagon's top official overseeing military relations with Russia and Ukraine. She advised three secretaries of defense on policies towards Russia and 13 other countries from the Black Sea, Caucasus and Balkan regions, as well as on conventional arms control, earning praise for bringing fresh thinking to Southeast Europe policies, spearheading the expansion of NATO to the Republic of Montenegro and increasing multilateral cooperation throughout Europe.
At the Pentagon, Dr. Farkas also served as senior advisor to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe/the Commander of U.S. European Command, and was special advisor for the Secretary of Defense at the 2012 NATO Summit.
She has served as executive director of the bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism and is a former member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee staff, conducting policy and budget oversight of the Pentagon's policy office and far-flung military commands. Dr. Farkas' focus on foreign and defense policy worldwide, combating terrorism, foreign military assistance, peace and stability operations, counternarcotics efforts, homeland defense, and issues regarding the Asia Pacific region and Western Hemisphere informed and shaped national security policy in a time when the threats to U.S. security were as complex and diverse as terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, protecting our energy resources and infrastructure, cyberattacks, and the supposed neutrality of space.
Dr. Farkas was a senior fellow at the American Security Project before she went to the Pentagon, and starting in the late 1990s worked for four years as a professor of international relations at the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College. She served in Bosnia as a human rights officer for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1996, 1997, and as an election observer in Afghanistan in 2009.
A prolific writer, Dr. Farkas' essays and opinion pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, Defense News, and The Boston Globe, and on websites including The Daily Beast, Foreign Policy.com and Politico.com. She is a National Security Contributor with NBC/MSNBC.