With Voice of America Director Evelyn Lieberman in Russia

Evelyn May Lieberman (née Simonowitz; July 9, 1944 – December 12, 2015) was the Director of the Voice of America (VOA) from 1997 until 1999 during the Clinton administration. She was the first woman to serve as White House Deputy Chief of Staff and was the first United States Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. It was Lieberman who transferred former intern Monica Lewinsky to the Pentagon for “spending too much time around the West Wing” with President Clinton. Hillary Clinton’s supporters said about her that “If Lieberman invites you for a walk, don’t go. It means you’re fired.” I went for a walk in Moscow with Evelyn Lieberman and kept my job.

In 1997, I traveled with her to Russia in my role as the Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) Regional Eurasia Marketing Office in Prague. She was very friendly and had a great sense of humor. She was very smart.

I remember her asking me to protect her from meeting any officials or journalists associated closely with the former Soviet regime. She did not want any controversy during her visit to Russia and none occurred.

My job in 1997, after working for many years as a radio and TV broadcaster, reporter, and the head of the VOA Polish Service during the independent trade union Solidarity’s successful struggle for democracy, was to arrange rebroadcasting of VOA and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) programs in Russia, in other countries of the former Soviet Union, in East Central Europe, and in the Balkans. I served later as the VOA Eurasia Division Director, Editor of IBB’s multimedia and multilingual magazine New Europe Review, with Vaclav Havel and Zbigniew Brzezinski as members of the publication’s International Advisory Board, VOA Acting Associate Director in 2005-2006, and for a short time in 2020-2021 as President of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty. 

After the trip to Russia, Evelyn Lieberman sent me a thank-you note addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Prague, where I picked up my mail. It is now a nice reminder that I was vetted and tested by Evelyn Lieberman. She was a tough and effective VOA Director.

30 Nov 97


Dear Ted,

I am finally home long enough to have the opportunity to write and thank you for helping make my visit to Russia such a success. You were just terrific – not only did you do your homework before you got there, but you also knew exactly how and when to contribute throughout our time together.

I look forward to working with you again.



Note from Voice of America (VOA) Director Evelyn Lieberman to Ted Lipien, Director of Regional Eurasia Marketing Office of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) in Prague, November 30, 1997.