Indiana Delegation travels to Russia
October 1-12


Partially as a result of Dr. Vasil Pasechnik’s visit to the United States in August, 1999, Indiana's First Lady Judy O’Bannon invited me to join her along with Indiana business, educational and other professionals for a formal visit to Russia from October 1-12. The itinerary included Moscow, Novgorod and St. Petersburg. 

Because I was already in Estonia, I only had to travel a few hundred miles from Tartu to Novgorod, Russia where I rendezvoused with the Indiana delegation.  

Indiana First Lady O'Bannon with 
Victor Kubik in St. Petersburg, Russia 

The trip was a success from the standpoint of making useful contacts with Russian charities, city officials and the media.  It was also helpful for me to become acquainted with Indiana leaders as we continue to work in furthering the work of LifeNets.

Our delegation's theme was "Communities Building Community." We met with volunteer organizations, the media and district government representatives  to share information and insights on the programs that are bringing people in Indiana together. We discussed efforts currently underway to strengthen communities in Russia.

Our program is being coordinated by People to People Ambassador Programs  which has for over 40 years coordinated  international exchange programs as a part of People People International.  In 1956 this organization was founded by President Dwight  D . Eisenhower to  encourage  and facilitate citizen exchanges between nations.

Here is First Lady Judy O'Bannon's statement of mission for our trip: 

Cities, towns and organizations all over the Indiana have come together with efforts that strengthen their communities. At this time, many of them are using the millennium and our statewide Hoosier Millennium program to increase the interest in these efforts. Service  to our communities is not something new to Indiana.  However, with our focus on the millennium and several others efforts, our state ahs gained some national attention. One result that I am proud to share with is that our state has been asked to send a delegation of community leaders to Russia to meet with local officials, organizations and others to share our approach to community service.

Russian citizens can no longer depend on their government to meet all of their needs. The legacy of Communism has left many individuals with a sense of helplessness. I think in in Russia can have a great impact on how cities step up to he task of meeting their  own needs as well as the needs of others.  Indiana is strong because of Hoosiers willingness  and desire to join with others to build  a community  that encourages an empowers all its citizens . The Russian people have the desire and need to build these same experiences in their own communities.

Our delegation, which we have themed "Communities Building Community" will meet with volunteer organizations and district government representatives  to share information and insights on the programs that are bringing Hoosiers together. We will also have the chance to discuss the  efforts currently underway to strengthen communities in Russia. which no doubt can offer renewed enthusiasm for us. 

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