By Rita Botts
To mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires highlighted the war’s personal impact on everyday Ukrainians. Collaborating with the Ukrainian Embassy, the public diplomacy section launched “War Diary,” an exhibit of images taken by news photographers from Argentina, El Salvador, Ukraine, the United States, and Uruguay. While the photos show wrenching scenes of destruction, they also demonstrate Ukrainians’ resiliency. Surrounded by chiefs of mission from more than a dozen countries, U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Marc Stanley inaugurated the traveling exhibit at the American Space in Buenos Aires, Feb. 23. As they called on democratic nations to hold Russia accountable, television and newspaper outlets amplified the diplomats’ show of solidarity.
Besides touring 18 universities and binational centers throughout Argentina, the photo exhibit is on display inside the embassy along the path to the consular waiting area. More than 60,000 embassy visitors have witnessed the images of Ukrainian faces marked by war. Young Argentines have also taken notice. Hundreds of students visited the exhibit when it was on display in Comodoro Rivadavia, where it was first displayed at the city’s cultural center and later at the American Space. At the American Space in Tucuman, alumni of Department of State programs such as the English Access Microscholarship Program and Youth Ambassadors volunteered to lead exhibit tours. At the American Space in Santiago del Estero, English students saw more than the photo exhibit. Through an interactive collaboration between the binational center and America House Kyiv, 300 Argentines listened to three Ukrainians describing their lives in Kyiv. The webinar titled “Youth Perspectives: Life in a Time of War,” brought the faraway war into sharp focus by highlighting the impact on the lives of the Ukrainian people of Russia’s unprovoked aggression.
Rita Botts is the regional public engagement specialist at Embassy Buenos Aires.