The UC Irvine Center for Citizen Peacebuilding presents

"The Role of Citizen Peacebuilding in Cold War Relations between the U.S. and USSR"
with Sharon Tennison, Author and Founder and President of the Center for Citizen Initiatives

December 6, 2012
2:30-4:00 p.m.
Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Room 1517

When Sharon Tennison began her journey as citizen diplomat she was an ordinary American mom, haunted from childhood by inequities in her limited world. In the early 1980’s, Tennison was a nurse and mother of four living in the San Francisco area at the height of the cold war.  Like most Americans, she was fearful that the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. appeared to be careening toward nuclear confrontation. Alarmed by this, Sharon organized a group of mainstream American citizens who traveled to the U.S.S.R. in 1983 with the impossible mission to open doors between the peoples of the two superpowers. That successful first trip led to the creation of the non-profit organization called the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI). From 1983 to 2008, CCI played a crucial role in fostering good will between the United States and Russia. Part of their legacy involves agricultural initiatives, establishment of the first Alcoholics Anonymous in Russia and the opening of service clubs.

Since the 1980's, CCI grew from a coffee-table discussion to a 501(c)(3) organization with a multi-million dollar annual budget. Sharon has designed all of CCI's programs and raised over $60 million to implement them. Sharon was highlighted as one of nine persons in Citizen Diplomats: Pathfinders in Soviet American Relations in 1985. She produced When the People Lead video in 1984. In 1993 Tennison received a White House Appointment to sit on the 13-member Board for the Russian American Enterprise Fund. Sharon is known for creating and executing streamlined, low-budget, cost-shared technical assistance programs for the U.S. government.

For further information, please contact Paula Garb, pgarb@uci.edu.

 

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