VIKTOR EROFEYEV is an internationally acclaimed Russian writer who struggled with the Soviet System during the 70s and was asked to leave the powerful Writers Union, but reinstated in the 80s. He is the author of several fiction and non-fiction works including Russian Beauty, that has been published in over ten languages including English. Mr. Erofeyev edited The Penguin Book of New Russian Writing, an important collection of contemporary literature. A three-volume collection of his works, including his novel The Last Judgment, was recently published in Russia. He has been a contributor to The New Yorker magazine and has hosted Television and radio programs throughout Russia.
MARK GARBER is qualified as a medical doctor and holds a degree in Psycho-Neuro Endocrinology. In the mid-eighties he was the Vice-Chairman of the USSR National Centre of Psycho-Endocrinology. During the Gorbachev era Mark started two of the first joint ventures between Soviet and American companies - Sovaminco (book publishing and printing services) and Mebinvest (inventions in medicine, biology and environmental issues).
Mark is an expert in natural resources, with a focus on oil production, processing and transportation. In 1987 he founded one of the first private oil companies in the Soviet Union. Between 1993 and 1996 he was Advisor to the Minister of Fuel & Energy of the Russian Federation. He was a Board member of the Russian Government's Economic Policy Commission and the National Fund for Strategic Resources. In 1995, in partnership with an Anglo-Swiss financial group, he tarted MC Securities, an investment banking business (brokerage and corporate finance) that grew to be the third largest brokerage house in Russia. He was an executive director responsible for Russia when it was purchased by Robert Fleming & Co (FF&P) in 1998. In 2012 Mark bought out the Russian part of FF&P together with his partners former Head of JP Morgan, Ian Cazenove and Hannam, forming the new company GHP that specializes in real estate, asset management and investment banking.
LISA GOLDMAN-VAN NOSTRAND is a strategic advisor to Sumitomo Chemical, one of Japan’s leading chemical companies and a leader in the development and innovation of new vector control tools for public health. Since 2012, Ms. Goldman-Van Nostrand has served as a Board member of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership, representing the Private Sector. In this capacity, she was named a member of the Transition Oversight Committee implementing the new malaria partnership mechanisms in 2015. Previously, she served on RBM's Task Force on Architecture and Governance (Dec. 2014-May 2015) as well as the GMAP2 Task Force (May 2013-May 2015) to develop the framework for Action and Investment to defeat Malaria 2016-2030 (AIM). Ms. Goldman-Van Nostrand was elected as Co-Chair of the RBM Malaria Advocacy Working Group in 2012; in this role, she works to coordinate malaria partners' strategic advocacy in the changing development landscape.
Prior to 2012, some highlights of her work for Sumitomo Chemical included management of the launch ceremony for Sumitomo Chemical's joint venture with A to Z Textile Mills in Tanzania, and executive production of the OlysetPhotos.com photo library — a seven-country "real person" campaign depicting healthy, happy people with bed nets — and the “Palufoot” PSA campaigns, broadcast during the World Cup, a series of creative spots with 27 top African football stars vying off against malaria. In 2005, Ms. Goldman-Van Nostrand began her work in malaria through her role as international producer of Youssou N’Dour’s Africa Live: Roll Back Malaria concert. Mick Csaky's documentary of the concert was televised globally on the BBC, PBS, Arte, TV5, and across Africa, and was viewed by more than a billion people. Ms. Goldman-Van Nostrand continues to serve as an advisor to Minister N'Dour in his humanitarian work. In 2004, Ms. Goldman-Van Nostrand also served as "Internet Tsarina" for Quincy Jones' We Are the Future concert.
From 1995-1999, Ms. Goldman-Van Nostrand co-founded and served as CEO of Construct, an early Internet company that fused engineering and design to create compelling online worlds. The high creative standards at Construct earned the company a blue-chip customer base and three major prizes, before its aquisition in 1999 by a New York-based special effects company.
Ms. Goldman-Van Nostrand co-founded and was Director of The Interactive Media Festival, an international juried competition for the emerging form of interactive media, from 1992-1995. She started her career in Silicon Valley learning strategic communication from Andrea Cunningham, the PR maven who worked with Steve Jobs to launch the Apple MacIntosh computer. Ms. Goldman-Van Nostrand graduated with honors in Fine Arts from Rice University, and also studied at the Université de Paris IV, Sorbonne. She was a delegate to the World Economic Forum from 2004-2009, and was named a Young American Leader by The Russian-American Institute in 1998.
NICOLAS V. ILJINE was born in Paris and educated in Great Britain and France, studied mathematics at the Sorbonne and then specialized in public relations. He serves as consultant on international cooperation to several European cultural institutions. Nic was appointed Advisor to the General Director of the State Hermitage in November 2014.
Nic has been instrumental in creating and implementing museum projects on Russian art that include The Great Utopia, Chagall’s Jewish Theater, Amazons of the Avant-Garde, (opened in New York by President V. V. Putin and Kazimir Malevich, Suprematism, and RUSSIA! which was opened in 2005 by Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.
He was author or editor on:
8 Illustrated publications for Lufthansa on flight—myths and legends
Sold Treasures of Russia, Trilistnik, Moscow, 2000.
Odessa Memories, University of Washington Press, 2003
Pass to Paradise, Vagrius, Moscow, 2008
Nikolai Suetin, Palace Editions, St. Petersburg, 2008
Fire of Worlds, Progress-Traditsia, Moscow 2009
Memories of Baku, Marquand Books, Seattle 2013
Selling Russia’s Treasures, Abeville Press, New York, 2013
Tiflis Memories, expected Autumn 2017
ANISA MEHDI, Executive Director of Abraham Path is an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist and writer specializing in religion and the arts. She writes a global affairs column for Stratfor.com, and consults to the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. Anisa was a 2009-2010 Fulbright Scholar in Jordan. Her documentaries have appeared on PBS, ABC and National Geographic Television.
EVELYN MESSINGER Executive Director of CitizensChannel, is a television, Internet and cross-platform media producer. In this role she has created and produced citizen engagement programs and websites including the Google Hangout series Real Dialogues, the Link TV election series Digital Citizen 2012, RedBlueUS, and YVote 04. From 2000 to 2010, she produced the meta-news series Global Pulse, the online news literacy application Know the News, and a series of programs connecting Americans to Muslim intellectuals and journalists following the September 11 attacks, for the national satellite channel Link TV. She was the founder and original Director of the Electronic Media Program for the Soros Foundation, and Executive Director and co-founder of Internews, a global non-profit organization supporting independent media and access to quality information worldwide. Ms. Messinger was the American creator and a producer of two-way satellite television programs linking Americans with Russians, which were broadcast as special episodes of Phil Donohue’s program, on PBS, and on ABC News where they were awarded two Emmys. She has also been a news producer and editor, whose credits include daily news and documentary programs for the BBC, France 2, PBS, CBS News, CNN and others. Today she is engaged in the development of a television feature series on climate change and energy alternatives, This Planet.
TAMAR MILLER consults to social benefit organizations and institutions of higher learning. She is Project Lead for curriculum development for the Abdelkader Education Project and Project Lead for the Goldziher Prize for Journalists, based at the Center for Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at Merrimack College in Andover, MA. Tamar also teaches Social Justice and the politics of diversity at Merrimack. Previously, Tamar’s consulting practice ranged from working with the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, introducing Harvard and MIT faculty to meditation as a pedagogic practice; to crafting a parliamentary campaign in Kuwait; to strategic evaluations for the Fetzer Institute’s science and spirituality unit. Tamar was VP Education and one of three founders of American Higher Education, Inc. based in Cambridge, MA. and was Partner in Middle East Holdings, a business development firm in Boston and Dubai.
Beginning as Director of Leadership Development at Harvard’s Kennedy School, she then held the position of Executive Director of the Institute for Social and Economic Policy in the Middle East. Tamar is an advisor to TRACK TWO: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy; on the board of directors of the Parents’ Circle for Bereaved Israeli and Palestinian Families and IAMYOURPROTECTOR.org; and was on the founding board of the Alliance for Middle East Peace. Tamar holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Judaic Studies, Master of Social Work from Yeshiva University, and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University.
CAROL MISKEL began working with The Russian-American Center, now Track Two: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy, in 1997. She has helped coordinate conferences involving the former Republics of the USSR, and working with Esalen’s Center for Theory and Research helps coordinate projects co-sponsored with Track Two. Since 2007, the beginning of Track Two’s work with the International Abrahamic Network and the Abrahamic Family Reunion, she has taken a leadership role in outreach and development of projects in the United States and abroad. Previous to her work with Track Two she was in the entertainment retail business, as well as entertainment marketing, promotion and publishing.
DULCE MURPHY is a social enterprise leader and expert in Russian-American relations. Murphy began working at Esalen Institute in 1970 and served on its Board of Directors from 1973 to 1975. She co-founded the Esalen Soviet American Exchange Program in 1980, traveling to and from the Soviet Union each year to establish relationships, undertake collaborations and build a citizen-to citizen network. In the spring of 2004, the program evolved to an independent organization and changed its name to Track Two: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy, with the mandate to expand to other regions of conflict including the Middle East and the North Pacific Rim. Murphy, frequently cited as an expert in Russian and Middle Eastern diplomacy, has spent over thirty-seven years on the cutting edge of nongovernmental relations and Track Two diplomacy. She is a member of the Advisory Council of the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies, a program of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. She is also a member of the Advisory Board of IFAW Russia and CIS (International Fund for Animal Welfare). Murphy speaks at university conferences on Russia and the Middle East while continuing the day-to-day management of Track Two where she currently serves as President and Chairman of its Board of Directors.
MICHAEL MURPHY is the co‑founder and Chairman Emeritus of Esalen Institute and the author of both fiction and non‑fiction books that explore evidence for meta‑normal capacities in human beings, including Golf in the Kingdom and The Future of the Body. During his fifty- year involvement in the Human Potential Movement, he and his work have been profiled in the New Yorker and featured in many magazines and journals worldwide. A graduate of Stanford University, he was one of the first Americans to live at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India in the mid 1950s. In the 1980s, Murphy helped start a successful Soviet‑American Exchange Program, which was a premiere diplomacy vehicle for citizen‑to‑citizen Russian‑American relations. Boris Yeltsin's first visit to America In 1989, was initiated by Esalen. His other books include The Life We Are Given (co‑authored with George Leonard), The Kingdom of Shivas Irons, Jacob Atabet, An End to Ordinary History, In the Zone: Transcendent Experience in Sports (coauthored with Rhea White), and The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation.
MARIAH NIMMONS joined Track Two in 2017 as an associate working on communications and web development. She was drawn to the organization’s commitment to maintaining dialogue between groups in conflict at a time when communication across borders and distances is easier than ever, but growing increasingly dysfunctional. Prior to joining Track Two, Nimmons worked with several organizations on a variety of digital projects, supporting founders who are in transition. Nimmons also worked as an organizational consultant on the congressional campaign of a 25-year-old woman from Northern California and before that, as the director of multiple children’s programs in the region.
JOE ORRACH is an actor, dancer and story-teller who works in live theater, television, and film. His performing career started as a boxer. He was the Welterweight Champion of the US Air Force, he took ballet for his footwork, then became a tap dancer on the streets of NYC. On stage, Joe has performed with Joan Baez, Bob Hope, the Smothers Brothers, Michael Davis, Liliane Montevecchi, Bill Irwin, David Shiner, Melissa Manchester, and the Cookie Monster, among others. He has tap danced with such greats as Gregory Hines, Jimmy Slyde and Savion Glover, and old masters including the Nicholas Brothers, Honi Coles, Charles “Cookie” Cook, Chuck Green and Lon Cheney. He has been directed by Woody Allen (Everyone Says I Love You), James Mangold (Copland), Tim Boxell (Valley of the Heart’s Delight), Stefan Haves (Punch Drunk) and David Shiner (Nacht Mund).
With an MFA from University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts, he also enjoys teaching and is known for his skill at helping students find their own voices and stories through rhythm and movement. Joe is currently touring two of his original works IN MY CORNER, a play with an original score by Matt Clark, directed by Jeremiah Chechik, that Joe wrote with Lizbeth Hasse and STReeT/FeaT, an original work for 3 dancers and 3 musicians that premiered in 2015 at Theatre de Suresnes, Paris.. Each year, the Joe Orrach Performance Project (JOPP) under Joe’s leadership reaches hundreds of high school students with programs that help them use their bodies, voices and talents to tell their own stories.
VLADIMIR POZNER is an internationally known political commentator and journalist. Born in France, Mr. Pozner lived for fifteen years in the United States before moving to the Soviet Union. His personal experiences in both the United States and the Soviet Union give him a unique perspective on the Russian-American relationship. He is the author of several books including the best seller, Parting With Illusions and is the host of one of Russia’s most popular television programs.
XIAO QIANG (Chinese: 萧强; pinyin: Xiāo Qiáng) is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of China Digital Times, a bi-lingual China news website. He is an adjunct professor at the School of Information (2012–present) and the Graduate School of Journalism (2003 - 2011), at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also the Principal Investigator of the Counter-Power Lab, an interdisciplinary faculty-student research group focusing on technology and free flow of information in cyberspace, based in the School of Information, UC Berkeley.
Xiao teaches classes Digital Activism, Internet Freedom and Blogging China at both the School of Information and the Graduate School of Journalism, University of California at Berkeley. In Fall 2003, Xiao launched China Digital Times to explore how to apply cutting edge technologies to aggregate, organize, and recommend online information from and about China. His current research focuses on mapping political discourses in Chinese cyberspace, measuring the state censorship and control of the Internet, and developing cloud-based technologies which can break through such censorship.
A theoretical physicist by training, Xiao Qiang studied at the University of Science and Technology of China and entered the PhD program (1986–1989) in Astrophysics at the University of Notre Dame. He became a full-time human rights activist after the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. Xiao was the Executive Director of the New York-based NGO Human Rights in China from 1991 to 2002 and vice-chairman of the steering committee of the World Movement for Democracy.
Xiao is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship in 2001, and is profiled in the book Soul Purpose: 40 People Who Are Changing the World for the Better, (Melcher Media, 2003). He was also a visiting fellow of the Santa Fe Institute in Spring, 2002. In January 2015, Xiao was named to Foreign Policy magazine’s Pacific Power Index, a list of “50 people shaping the future of the U.S.-China relationship.” He was named “for taking on China’s Great Firewall of censorship.”
STEPHAN A. SCHWARTZ, scientist, futurist, and award winning author, is the columnist for the journal Explore, and editor of the daily Schwartz Report. Current academic and research appointments: Distinguished Consulting Faculty of SaybrookUniversity, a Fellow of the William James Center for Consciousness Studies, Sofia University, and a Research Associate of the Cognitive Sciences Laboratory of the Laboratories for Fundamental Research. Prior academic appointments: Senior Samueli Fellow for Brain, Mind and Healing of the SamueliInstitute; BIAL Fellow; founder and Research Director of the Mobius laboratory; Executive Director of the Rhine Research Center; and Senior Fellow of The Philosophical Research Society. Government appointments: Special Assistant for Research and Analysis to the Chief of Naval Operations, consultant to the Oceanographer of the Navy. Author of more than 130 technical reports and papers, 20 academic book chapters and four trade books: The Secret Vaults of Time, The Alexandria Project, Mind Rover, Opening to the Infinite, and The 8 Laws of Change, winner of the 2016 Nautilus Book Award for Social Change, as well as a novel Awakening – A Novel of Aliens and Consciousness. He is the recipient of the 2017 Parapsychological Association Award for Outstanding Contributions, and was selected by OOOM Magazine (Germany) as one of the 100 most Inspiring People in the World. He is listed in: Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the West, Who's Who in Science and Medicine.
KIM SPENCER is Senior Programming Executive of Link TV, based in Burbank, CA. A producer of more the 60 documentaries and news specials, Spencer helped pioneer satellite “spacebridges” between the US and Soviet Union, including the Emmy Award-winning "Capital to Capital" series of seven live programs linking the US Congress with the USSR Supreme Soviet. Along with Evelyn Messinger, he was a co-founder in 1982 of Internews Network, which now supports independent media in 40 countries. He was coordinating producer at the launch of ABC News “Prime Time Live” in 1989, producing multiple episodes around the world including an unprecedented one-hour live broadcast from inside the Kremlin. With Patrice Barrat in Paris he developed the innovative "Vis à Vis" series: transcontinental video dialogues linking people ‘face to face’ from their homes and workplaces, edited into twenty one-hour programs for European broadcasters and PBS. Returning to Internews, he managed a project in Israel that trained Palestinian journalists and provided equipment for independent TV stations in the West Bank. In 1999 Spencer was the founder of Link TV, the independent satellite network devoted to global affairs, available in 30 million U.S. homes on DIRECTV and DISH Network. Spencer co-created the Peabody Award-winning series "Mosaic: World News from the Middle East," and is Executive Producer of Link TVs weekly series "Earth Focus," the longest-running environmental program on US television.
VIRGINIA THOMSON is a social entrepreneur and consultant. As a consultant she has extensive experience in cross-sector corporate management and governance, fund raising, grant making, finance, strategic planning and new business development. As a social entrepreneur she has launched and developed companies in new media and technology and has scaled nonprofit ventures in youth development and conservation. Virginia is currently working with Track Two: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy where her focus is on strategic development, scale and fund raising. With an MBA and BA from Harvard University, Virginia has worked in finance (Credit Suisse-First Boston), launched an Internet company in the Internet’s infancy (DoughNET), managed a cause related social media site for youth (YouthNoise) and built the world’s first debit-card based financial affinity toolset.
ANNA VASSILIEVA is a professor, author, translator and editor. Her expertise comprises Contemporary Russian politics, Russian politics in the post-Soviet space, Russian culture and society. Professor Vassilieva holds Ph.D. in history from the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Federation.
She authored The Russian Émigré Press on Democracy in Russia, 1980-1990s, co-authored the study Influence of Russian Culture on Russian Negotiating Style, co-edited Russia and East Asia: Informal and Gradual Integration, as well as Crossing National Border: Human Migration Issues in Northeast Asia. She translated Dead End: the Road to Afghanistan, The Road to Home, Colors of Jazz.
Professor Vassilieva contributed articles and book chapters to numerous volumes and published commentaries of Russian foreign and domestic policy in the International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Moscow Times, Asahi Shimbun, La Razon, Jornal do Brazil. She has been interviewed on Al Jazeera America, CNN International and PBS NewsHour. Professor Vassilieva has taught Russian Studies at the Monterey Institute and served as a Russian Studies program head for over two decades. She is a founder and director of the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies, the program of studying contemporary Russian politics and society through the lens of Russian political scientists, historians, economists, that is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.