The Power of Impossible Ideas: Ordinary Citizens’ Extraordinary Efforts to Avert International Crises
This new book from Sharon Tennison is a mouthful and rightly so. It covers more than 20 years of activities by citizens in the USA and Russia that began at the height of the Cold War in 1983. Both countries were suspicious of each other and both convinced the other had a finger on a nuclear missile button.
A group of 24 Americans got together to try and do something. They decided to face their fears and ventured to the Soviet Union to see for themselves.
They met ordinary Russian citizens and discovered many common business and social interests – and almost no animosity!
This started a process of citizen diplomacy connecting business people and citizens of both countries in a surprisingly productive way.
America and Russia could create a better future through cooperation than confrontation.
I met Ms. Tennison the first time in San Francisco. The Center for Citizen Initiatives was well established and she had made a presentation at a Rotary Meeting that was really inspiring. This lead to furhter cvontact in Russia and each time learned of new projects and ideas that the thousands of citizen diplomats in both countries were nurturing far from the rhetoric and spin of government officials.
Thousands of Americans became citizen diplomats as they vistied Russia in business-peer to business-peer matchups. And as the Soviet Union broke-up volunteers trained more tha 7,000 business entrepeneurs in Russia in the new private sector.
There are so many inspiring anecdotes in this journey and it is a real pleasure to read about people who decide to stop worrying and complaining and do something!
– David OwensSt. Petersburg, Russia