News Release - Donald Blinken, Former SUNY Board Chairman and Ambassador to Hungary, to Speak About New Book at Rockefeller Institute April 3

For Immediate Release –

March 26, 2009

Media contact: Mark Marchand – (518) 443-5283 /

Donald Blinken, Former SUNY Board Chairman and Ambassador to Hungary, to Speak About New Book at Rockefeller Institute April 3

SUNY Press’ ‘Vera and the Ambassador’ Tells Vera and Donald Blinken’s Story During Key Diplomatic Assignment in Post-Communist Eastern Europe

Albany, N.Y. — Donald Blinken, the former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and former chairman of the State University of New York Board of Trustees, will join with his wife Vera here on April 3 to talk about their new book on their experiences with the U.S. diplomatic effort in Hungary.

Both a behind-the-scenes peek at the operations of a U.S. embassy in a post-Cold War former Soviet satellite and a personal story of a refugee’s escape and triumphant return, Vera and Donald Blinken’s dual memoir – published by SUNY Press – openly details their challenges, setbacks, and victories as they worked in tandem to advance America’s interests in Eastern Europe and to help restore a former Soviet satellite state to prosperity.

The Blinkens will speak at an April 3 Public Policy Forum at the Rockefeller Institute of Government, beginning at 10:30 a.m. and ending at noon.

Donald Blinken, who served as U.S. ambassador to Hungary under President Clinton from 1994 to 1998, graduated magna cum laude in economics at Harvard University and co-founded the investment banking/venture capital firm of E.M. Warburg, Pincus & Co. He is currently co-chair of Columbia University’s European Institute and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees from 1978 to 1990. He has been an adviser to the Rockefeller Institute and a participant in Institute studies.

Vera Blinken was born in Budapest, Hungary, just before the start of World War II. In 1950, she and her mother escaped Soviet-occupied Hungary to start a new life in New York. After marrying Donald Blinken, she returned to Budapest and played a key role in the U.S. diplomatic effort there during her husband’s tenure as ambassador. Among her many achievements there, she founded PRIMAVERA, the first mobile breast cancer screening program in Central and Eastern Europe.

For more details about the Blinkens’ new book, visit the SUNY Press Web site at:

To register to attend the event, write to Michele Charbonneau at the Rockefeller Institute at, or call 518-443-5258.


About the Rockefeller Institute of Government

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, at the University at Albany, is the public policy research arm of the State University of New York. The Institute conducts fiscal and programmatic research on American state and local governments. Journalists can find useful information on the Newsroom page of the Web site,

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