Anna Romandash speaks on Ukrainian war at Claremont McKenna College


Mark Lauer, humanities faculty

Dan Danilova (‘23), Elena Petrova (‘25), and Wura Ogunnaike (‘23) pose with journalist Anna Romandash and Professor Wendy Lower, history professor at Claremont McKenna College and director of the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights. The trio had the opportunity to speak to Ms. Romandash and Professor Lower after the talk.

On October 24th, award winning Ukrainian journalist Anna Romandash spoke at Claremont McKenna College as a part of their Athenaeum speaker program. Ms. Romandash currently reports on stories of survivors of Russian occupied Northern Ukraine, people displaced by the war, and the ongoing conditions of Ukrainians suffering from the effects of war. The Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies and the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights sponsored her presentation. 

Three Webb journalism students – Dan Danilova (‘23), Elena Petrova (‘25), and Wura Ogunnaike (‘23) – attended the event with humanities faculty Dr. Mark Lauer. They attended as guests of Dr. Sarah Sarzynski, Claremont McKenna College history faculty and Dr. Lauer’s wife.  

Titled “Do No Harm: Witnessing War Crimes in Ukraine, Collecting the Evidence,” Ms. Romandash spoke about her experience as a journalist in Ukraine and her work in documenting and reporting Russian crimes against humanity. 

Her presentation focused on her experiences with different types of victims in the war, and how journalists in Ukraine navigated the tense political landscape there and reported on the real-life experiences of Ukrainians. She also touched on how journalists used social media as a tool to identify, track, and document the identities and actions of members of the Russian military, from soldiers to officers. 

Ms. Romandash emphasized the importance of highlighting local Ukrainian voices in media coverage about the war, and the portrayal of this illegal war as one that is black and white rather than grey. She hopes to raise awareness on crimes against humanity across the globe, and to support the efforts against Russia’s attack.  

Following the presentation, the floor was opened for two questions. Students asked Ms. Romandash about Ukrainian survival in the upcoming winter and the status of children kidnapped by the Russian state and “adopted” into Russian families. While Ms. Romandash answered to the best of her ability, she was not qualified to give a comprehensive response to these questions.  

Ms. Romandash’s presentation offered an insightful look into what journalism is like in a volatile and unstable situation, and how civilians are aiding efforts against Russia. Currently, Ms. Romandash continues to present at Claremont McKenna College in partnership with the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights.