Sharon Tennison: Russia: Travel with a Purpose

Never before has Russia and Russian leadership been more demonized. Never has up-to-date data about Russia been more crucial. Experts say never before has the world been closer to nuclear war.  We need eyes and ears on the ground throughout Russia to assess whether the information we get is accurate.

Join a delegation of 100 Americans (Sept 1 – 17, 2019) who will question Russian VIPs in Moscow, travel in two or three-person mini-groups to 30 Russian cities across 11 time zones to get current data. They will operate as “citizen diplomats” listening, learning, collecting impressions to bring back to city/state officials and to the U.S. Congress.

The trip is organized by the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI) ( www.ccisf.org), an independent NGO, with a 35 year history working between the two nations. CCI ran citizen-based programs to assist the “new Russia” to move from communism to a market economy for 15 years.

CCI’s largest program trained over 6,000 young Russian entrepreneurs in U.S. companies in over 400 American cities in 45 states over 12 years. They came fro 71 Russian regions. Hence we can place Americans wherever we wish.

Become one of our “informal diplomats” who collects current information in outlying Russian cities. Examine the stereotypes we have about “Putin’s Russia.” Draw your own conclusions depending on what you learn. This first-ever trip has three segments:

Moscow: Meet with a dozen Russian experts for two-hour Q&As. Experts range from Mikhail Gorbachev to Vladimir Pozner, followed by a noted ballistic weapons expert, a highly-respected international financial advisor, journalists in Moscow (both American and Russian), specialists in public and private health care, public educators, exposure to Russia’s five faith traditions, a dissident film maker, political figures who agree and disagree with current state policies.

Second Cities: Minigroups of two-to-three persons fly to some 30 Russian cities across 11 time zones where they use their eyes and ears to assess far-away towns and countrysides, ask questions, get inputs, share ideas and carry out personal diplomacy. Their assessments will be pooled during a group data dump in the final city.

St.Petersburg: The group reconvenes for a day-long reportout session where travelers share their perspectives on the regional cities, the conditions and attitudes of persons they met. Stereotypes will be discussed, validated or discarded.  Videographers will capture footage for Youtube videos.  With primary work completed, travelers set out to enjoy Russia’s classical arts: museums, palaces, ballets, symphonies, galleries and canal rides in hydrofoil boats or Kayaks!

Trip costs: Three budgets are offered depending on amenities. Low budget, medium and elite accommodations.   All three are underpriced compared with ordinary travel agencies. For CCI this trip is a mission, the organization takes no markup for organizing this effort.

We welcome your participation! If interested contact:  sharon@ccisf.org

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