Breaking Barriers in United States-Russia Relations: The Power and Promise of Citizen Diplomacy

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The first meeting of what would come to be known as the Dartmouth Conference took place in 1960 at the height of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union. Despite the volatile stand-off between the two superpowers, the meeting of citizens from both countries was held with the explicit support of both President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet Chairman Nikita Khrushchev. Sixty years later, the Dartmouth Conference is established as the longest continuous bilateral dialogue between citizens of the Soviet Union/Russia and the United States. Over the course of six decades, the Dartmouth Conference has brought together leading citizens from the two countries to candidly discuss a full range of issues affecting the US-Russia relationship, from political and economic considerations to arms control and the role of the two countries in regional conflicts.

Philip Stewart has participated in 120 of the 148 sessions of the Dartmouth Conference. In this book, he recounts how the Dartmouth talks have expanded international policy options, weathered world crises, and evolved into an ambi- tious exploration of how relations between civil societies in the United States and Russia might help build a more peaceful world.

The uniqueness of the Dartmouth dialogue as an instrument of public diplomacy perhaps lies in the fact that it was created during the Cuban Missile Crisis and is still functioning today. And according to the leaders of both countries, it continues to be an effective tool.
-Yuri Shafranik, former Russian energy minister and chairman of Soyuzneftegaz

Somewhat like what happens on the space station when there are crews from both countries, Dartmouth doesn’t have an American voice or a Russian voice, it has a blended voice all its own.
-David Mathews, president and CEO of the Kettering Foundation

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