An Update From Track Two:
Earlier this month Track Two was hosted by Board member Mac McQuown at Stonedge Farm in Sonoma, California for a discussion of Russian-American relations with Anna Vassilieva of the Monterey Summer Symposium on Russia. The symposium is a program of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies’ (MIIS) Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies. We were joined by Track Two Advisor, Kim Spencer, and two UC Berkeley PhD students who attended Anna’s Summer Institute in Monterey last year, Melissa Samarin and Harrison King . Conversation ran from space travel to cyberwarfare, from elections to mysticism. Professor Vassilieva emphasized the need to help everyday people understand how close we are, once again, to nuclear disaster.
The purpose of our gathering was to discuss a potential partnership between Track Two and MIIS as part of Track Two’s broader effort to support ongoing discourse and collaboration between Russians and Americans. Professor Vassilieva brings Russian leaders to Monterey each summer to lecture to her students in an effort to broaden students’ knowledge and understanding of Russia beyond data-driven research. Economists, art historians, scientists, authors, and former Ambassadors are among those who enliven the students’ learning and deepen their understanding of the Russian people and their culture. In addition to sponsoring a joint initiative in 2019, Track Two hopes to form relationships with the program lecturers during the course of their summer program. One topic in discussion currently for the 2019 initiative is “space discovery and exploration”.