Sunday, October 20: Sharon Tennison’s Closer Look at Russia
Since the bad old days of the “cold war” with the then-Soviet Union, the concept of “citizen diplomacy” has been a significant tactic for those wanting to keep enmity to a minimum – and assure humanity’s survival. While both the U.S. and the USSR stockpiled weapons of mass destruction and our two governments threatened one another’s existence, everyday people made trips to visit everyday people, and realized the “others” weren’t so bad after all.
Things have changed somewhat, but perhaps not enough, as leaders in both governments still exhibit questionable (to at least some folks) behavior, arms control agreements are either withdrawn from or held in dispute. Each country’s nuclear arsenal remains formidable and dangerous, and an example for other countries to misguidedly follow. Thus there still appears to be a need for organizations such as the San Francisco-based Center for Citizen Initiatives to work on breaking down barriers between the people of the U.S. and Russia.
In fact, CCI led its latest delegation of American citizens to Russia this past September, and on Sunday, October 20, its founder, Sharon Tennison, will be our guest speaker. Sharon will report back on the trip, as well as talk about the work and mission of CCI – an effort that dates back to the early 1980s. The evening will begin at 7 PM at the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo, 300 E. Santa Inez Avenue (at Ellsworth) in San Mateo. Admission is free, contributions are welcome. The UUSM is wheelchair accessible.
From the CCI web site: “Our vision is…when real people in large numbers get involved, amazing changes begin to happen! If it happened in the 1980s, it can happen again…”
Sharon is the author of the 2012 book, “The Power of Impossible Ideas: Ordinary Citizens' Extraordinary Efforts to Avert International Crises”. Her own interactions with the Russian people include a conversation with its President, Vladimir Putin. We think Sharon’s thoughts and the history of her participation in citizen diplomacy will be compelling…and we hope you will be on hand to share in the experience.