Mark Pomar, A72
HOME FOR NOW: Potomac, Maryland
NEXT STOP: Moscow
PROFESSION: International development executive
BRAND-NEW JOB: President and CEO of the U.S.-Russia Foundation, newly established by members of Congress, the Bush administration, and the private sector (it succeeds the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund), with the aim of helping Russia develop a vibrant market economy
LAST JOB: President and CEO of IREX (International Research and Exchanges Board), which administers education and training programs in Russia and 35 other countries
SHARPEST CULTURE SHOCK: The time his American girlfriend (now his wife) took him to a banya, or traditional Russian steam bath, in a Siberian village. “There I was introduced to the ancient practice of birch twig beatings, which are meant to be invigorating.”
FAVORITE SCENES IN RUSSIAN LITERATURE: Two, both from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. One is the scene where Anna, having left her family, returns and secretly visits her son—“it’s the most moving passage of maternal love and the bonding between mother and child.” The other is Anna’s stream-of-conscious interior monologue before she commits suicide.
LAST MOVIE SEEN: Kung Fu Panda (with nine-year-old son George)
WHY HE DOES WHAT HE DOES: “I like to combine analytical thinking with practical projects, and international development—one of the great challenges of our time—allows me to do that.” He also relishes the opportunity to improve the lives of individuals. “Russians generally want to live what they refer to as a ‘normal life.’ They’re tired of ideology and social experiments.”
DEFINING TRAITS: Scholarly, self-disciplined, high spirited, filled with a sense of purpose. An intellectual who knows how to have fun, an introvert who has grown comfortable addressing large audiences.
PROUDEST MOMENT: “When my beautiful wife gave birth to our beautiful son”
HIS ALMA MATER: Tufts (Russian studies)