For the past two years (actually the past 32 years), I've struggled to create ways to increase understanding and decrease misunderstanding between the two nuclear superpowers: the U.S. and Russia. Why?––to offset the odds of a global nuclear war. We thought our work at CCI was finished in the mid-2000s! But politically these two nations are back at it again in 2015: building new missile systems, posting them on the others' borders, flying supersonic jets equipped with megatons of destruction every day––by false alarm, accident or intention, the entire world is going through an extremely dangerous era at present. And these facts are getting very little exposure in American mainstream media.
What can we concerned and intelligent citizens do, if anything?
CCI's single most effective program over the years was SMMA (Soviets Meet Middle America!), a two-year, first-ever venture that brought many hundreds of Soviet citizens to 264 American cities where they were home hosted and participated in talks with Americans in Rotary Clubs, schools, universities, libraries, book clubs, businesses, churches, synagogues, TV stations, radio talk shows and newspaper offices. They even had evening discussion opportunities in homes. The Soviets slept in American bedrooms, ate breakfast over kitchen tables, discussed their countries, differences and similarities, in addition to local and international politics. Both shared their dreams and hopes for their futures and committed to work in their countries to dispel erroneous misconceptions and to build human bridges between them. And they did! Russians went home and became purveyors of positive stories and warm information about America.