The Esalen Pacifica Prize was launched in 2012 as a joint project between Track Two and Esalen CTR to highlight the role of the arts in enriching and deepening ties between Russia and the United States across a range of common interests – cultural, scientific, business and economic. In cooperation with the California College of the Arts, based in San Francisco, and The Far Eastern Academy of the Arts in Vladivostok, a group of four young, talented artists (two graduates from each institution) were selected as the award’s first recipients. The artists, specialists in painting and drawing, then spent four weeks in May 2012 working and living together at Esalen’s campus overlooking the Pacific. During the residency of the artists, Esalen hosted a public arts weekend workshop focused on the power of art to connect and inspire new thinking about areas of common interest, with subjects ranging from Russia’s evolving role in Asia’s economy to the impact of climate change on the Pacific Ocean. Session leaders included representatives from The Asia Society, Scripps Oceanic Institute, and the Dean of the California College of the Arts.
GLOBAL BUSINESS NETWORK
Track Two partnered with the Global Business Network (GBN), an international organization that specializes in futures research and scenario planning, for its third annual benefit conference in 2000. Titled “Futures For Russia,” the conference hosted representatives from Ford Motor Company, Cargill, Morgan Stanley, Saudi Aramco, Fannie Mae, and Texaco. Economist Abel Aganbegyan, technology entrepreneur Igor Kulgan, Russian writer and journalist Viktor Erofeyev, and sociologist Manuel Castells presented timely reports on the situation in Russia.
In 1996 Track Two established the Library of Psychological Literature at Moscow State University and began to gather psychology books and journals from American psychologists, a collection that would form the basis of this valuable educational partnership between the United States and Russia. On the 20th anniversary of Track Two’s Russian-American Project (RAP), the library was dedicated as the Viatcheslav Loutchkov Library of Psychological Literature at Moscow State University. Loutchkov was a Soviet psychologist and member of RAP who studied the interplay of psychological, social, economic, and ideological factors in perestroika. The American Ambassador James Collins, the President of Moscow State University, and other prominent Russian academicians spoke at the dedication. Track Two has raised funds to expand the inventory of books, journals and support technology vital to the library’s growth. This is Russia’s largest English language psychology library and it is a valuable asset to the university.
VIATCHESLAV LOUTCHKOV LIBRARY OF PSYCHOLOGICAL LITERATURE
PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGY & WORLD HEALTH
Track Two sponsored the first conference on psychoneuroimmunology, an interdisciplinary field centered upon the relationship between psychological processes and the functioning of the immune system. This conference led to dynamic Russian-American collaborative research and a subsequent conference, held at Leningrad’s Institute for Experimental Medicine in 1991. The partnership also led to the signing of a long-term agreement to work on health-related issues in the USSR with the World Health Organization.
In 1989, RAP partnered with the Foundation for Social Innovations (US and USSR) to host Boris Yeltsin on his first trip to the United States. Meetings were arranged between Mr. Yeltsin and President H.W. Bush, Vice President Dan Quayle, National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, former President Ronald Reagan, and other leaders in business and government. The nine days spent visiting eleven American cities gave Mr. Yeltsin his first realistic look at the United States, its people, and its government. The visit would help to influence Gorbachev’s Perestroika and Glasnost, and the ultimate introduction of democracy to the former Soviet Union.
VISIT TO THE U.S.
ASSOCIATION OF SPACE EXPLORERS
Working in tandem with astronaut Rusty Schweickert, in 1985 Track Two helped to launch the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), a professional, international organization of astronauts that provided a forum for sharing past experiences and visions for the future of space exploration. Membership is extended to those who have completed at least one Earth orbit in space, and today, ASE boasts 320 participants from 34 different countries. The Association hosts an annual forum, the “Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers,” which includes press conferences and events for public audiences, as well as internal summits and lectures. It is held in a different country each year. Reference to this collaboration is frequent in the American and Russian press today.
In 1988, Track Two hosted a delegation of renowned Soviet writers including First Secretary of the Union of Soviet Writers, Vladimir Karpov, satirist Mikhail Zhvanetsky, playwright Viktor Rozov and short-story writer Tatiana Tolstoy. The group toured the US, meeting with American contemporaries Norman Mailer, Susan Sontag, and Kurt Vonnegut. This summit facilitated the entry of the Union of Soviet Writers into PEN International, an international association of writers that monitors government censorship and promotes freedom of expression around the world. Its admission was a central event in Soviet glasnost and is considered one of Track Two’s most important contributions to the Soviet Union’s opening to free speech and democracy.
UNION OF SOVIET WRITERS & PEN INTERNATIONAL
At the height of nuclear threat, Track Two and its partners arranged a series of interactive television links called “Spacebridges”. Beginning in 1982, these public videoconferences relied on emerging technologies of the time to enable face-to-face interaction between American and Soviet citizens, who asked each other questions and gained new perspectives. Beyond this dialogue between ordinary citizens spacebridges presented discussions in which prominent scientists, public figures, astronauts, and journalists took part. A high profile series was hosted by American media personality, film producer, and writer, Phil Donohue, and Soviet journalist and broadcaster, Vladimir Pozner. These public telecasts between the US and the USSR aired on national television in both countries and were viewed by nearly two hundred million citizens. Today, they are still shown to schoolchildren throughout Russia.