With the start of perestroika, the Cold War era took flight. Not estrangement and distrust, but cooperation and friendship began to determine relations between Russia and America. We became frank, open to professional and personal contacts. We were, in fact, convinced that there is something we can learn from each other. And still…
Recently Russians and Americans are worried about the relations between our countries. And the best way to remove this tension, understand each other, to hear, to get to know each other better, is through direct contact between people. This is exactly why U.S. Congress’s idea to invite nearly 3,000 municipal, regional, and national leaders from all parts of Russia to visit different cities in the United States for two-three weeks seemed remarkable to me.
The scope of this program and the possibilities that open up before our leaders are truly unique. Each one of them can meet and shadow his/her American counterpart. He/she can visit various enterprises, schools, hospitals, and philanthropic and religious organizations. The Russian participants of this project will have the opportunity to find out the problems that local managers face in America and how they resolve them. And they can explain how managers in small towns in Russia conduct their work, they can share their experience.
I am certain that the mutual interest that inevitably arises among Americans and Russians will force them to communicate more often and more productively in order to understand each other’s way of life and thoughts.
Academician D. S. Likhachev