4 September 2019, 6:00 PM

The word for How in Russian is Kak. On the eve of my departure to spend 25 days in Russia, I’m fired up with How questions. I’m joining a group of US citizen diplomats, organized by the Center for Citizen Initiatives. I’ll visit Moscow, Novosibirsk, and St. Petersburg. Our group will speak with leaders in various sectors of Russian society.

How will the trip unfold? How will reality match expectation? How best can I share my insights and feelings? How will Russians respond to Americans? How will I like Russians? How can I bring my URI experience into service? How can URI’s network of grassroots activists connect with citizen initiatives in Russia? How can US and Russian citizens pressure our governments to eliminate nuclear weapons and combat the climate crisis? How can we, the sons and daughters of the most dangerously-armed superpowers, work together to help humanity survive?

At this precarious moment, now is not the time to ask, "Can this kind of dramatic positive change happen," but to ask, "HOW to make it happen?" How can Americans and Russians, rooted in our differences, work together to inspire collective action and build collective power that nurtures a good life for all? How can we create together, cooperate together and care for the common good together?

"The sleeping giant is one name for the public; when it wakes up, when we wake up, we are no longer only the public, we are civil society, the superpower whose nonviolent means, are sometimes, for a shining moment, more powerful than violence, more powerful than regimes and armies." - Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark, Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

More about this series: Russia Today - Building Bridges

URI Senior Consultant Sally Mahé shares thoughts from Russia, where she is traveling with the Center for Citizen Initiatives. The trip is called a "Diplomatic Mission to the Russian Federation by American Citizens." Its purpose is to provide an opportunity “to make inquiry and analysis by traveling to Russia to learn additional points of view about US-Russia issues." The task is to begin “personal diplomacy to intervene in war-making efforts that could end all life on the planet.”

Along the way, Sally is connecting with URI members and Cooperation Circles (member groups) as she examines the actions of ordinary citizens meeting and building bridges of understanding together. 

See the rest of the Russia Today - Building Bridges series here.