Remembering Track Two's Origins


We encourage you to read about our history here and explore the detailed timeline of our work. In the meantime, enjoy this excerpt from a recent report chronicling the catalysts for Track Two's formation in 1980.

Track Two applied practices from the many disciplines of self-reflection and insight developed at Esalen Institute to one of the most threatening circumstances facing humanity – the escalating US-Soviet stand-off during the rise of the nuclear era. An intractable conflict, simmering across the globe, inspired fear and mistrust between Russians and Americans, at the risk of decimating humanity and the Earth itself. Ideological, egotistic and, in many ways irrational, the conflict awakened our awareness that nuclear weaponry could obliterate all life.

Government efforts were failing, but Esalen Institute demanded that its visitors and followers challenge the status quo and work towards bettering individuals, and in so doing better the world at large. Esalen Institute brought its renegade thinking to the global stage through the Esalen Soviet-American Exchange Program – later renamed Track Two: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy. The many visits founders Michael and Dulce Murphy made to Russia inspired lifelong friendships, and these friendships led to numerous cross border collaborations and ultimately contributed to the lessening of the Soviet American conflict.

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