Penny Pritzker, US Commerce Secretary and Hyatt Hotel heiress, visits her great-grandfather's birthplace in central Ukraine.
This is the first time Pritzker is visiting the small town of Velyki Pryts'ky, 50 miles southeast of Kyiv, with a population of just 800. Pritzker's great-grandfather emigrated from Ukraine to the US over one hundred years ago
After the informal press conference she was whisked off on a tour of the town by a rabbi.
Local residents were in awe of the high-profile official visit.
On her tour of Velyki Pryts'ky, Pritzker was accompanied by Ukraine's first lady Maryna Poroshenko and the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt.
During her working visit to Ukraine, Pritzker also visited a Jewish school in the town of Belaya Tserkov, located 43 miles west of Bolshi Prytsky.
“The students’ thirst for knowledge and optimism about the future was inspiring,” Pritzker said about the visit to the school.
On Monday, during a news conference with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Kiev, Pritzker said that the United States will honor its commitment to consider providing a third $1 billion loan guarantee in late 2015, “if conditions warrant.”
The US loan guarantee, she said, “will be conditioned on Ukraine’s progress on implementing its economic reform program, including of course adherence to the International Monetary Fund’s program and concrete forward momentum in the ongoing fight against corruption.”
The Pritzkers are well accomplished and have often been compared to the Rockefellers. The US official's famous Ukrainian great grandfather Nicholas J. Pritzker was both Jewish and politically active in his community before fleeing to Chicago.
Now his family and specifically Penny Pritzker is the billionaire Hyatt Hotel heiress and considered to be a member of President Obama's inner circle.