About The Transnational Institute Russia on the Web Russian Philosophy Forum
The Transnational Vladimir Solovyov Society Solovyov Society Newsletter A Brief History of The Transnational Institute
East-West Bridges for Peace Church Leadership Exchanges Business Management Seminars in Russia
The Norwich Center Our E-mail and Other Addresses  

About The Transnational Institute

The Transnational Institute was formed in 1990 to provide a base for cultural, professional and business exchanges between citizens of the United States and other nations. It has functioned as a "grass-roots" organization, working with a variety of church, civic and public interest groups. From 1990 to 2001 the institute sponsored  exchange programs between the United States and Russia (as well as other countries of the former Soviet Union), as described below. In the light of the events of September 11, 2001, the Institute is considering the possibility of similar citizen exchange projects with countries in the Middle East.

Since 1995 the Institute has been developing the Internet site "Russia on the Web," accessible from our menu above. In 2002 we plan to expand our web presence to provide an Internet site for information on citizen exchange projects between the United States and a variety of other nations.

Beyond our base in the United States, we have representatives in Russia, England, France, Germany, Italy, Holland and Sweden. We can correspond by e-mail or fax in English, French, German or Russian, although English will provide the fastest communication. Send inquiries to our president, Clinton Gardner, at the addresses below. 

The Institute was developed for specialized professional and cultural exchange projects within the program of an organization called "East-West Bridges for Peace" (described below and via our menu above). Institute projects have ranged from a series of conferences on Russian spiritual life to a series of business management seminars in Russia.

East-West Bridges for Peace, begun in 1981, was a pioneer in the field which came to be known as "citizen diplomacy." Through citizen exchange visits (usually in groups of between 12 and 20 persons, for a duration of 2 weeks), during the 1980s and early 1990s "Bridges"  brought over 800 citizens of Russia (and other parts of the former Soviet Union) to the United States. At the same time, it sent over 1200 United States  citizens to Russia and what are now other Commonwealth of Independent States countries.


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Russia on the Web

As we develop our Internet presence, we'll work with our Russian partners to develop a new interactive World Wide Web service:

While providing an Internet access to everything Russian, the special focus of Russia on the Web will be Russian culture. It will have listings on Russian History, Russian Language and Literature, Russian Philosophy, and Russia - Religion. In the latter category, it will concentrate on the Russian Orthodox Church. Of course, you can start exploring Russia on the Web by clicking on its name above.

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Russian Philosophy Forum / The Vladimir Solovyov Society

For those who would like to explore Russian culture in greater depth, we'll be expanding two activities specifically related to Russian philosophy and religion:

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A Brief History of The Transnational Institute

As we expand the text on this page, we will provide more detailed information on past activities of The Transnational Institute. Many of the organizations involved in our network are potential partners for future transnational projects. Besides the Transnational Institute itself, we will provide more information on the main projects which led to the Institute's formation and became part of its network: East-West Bridges for Peace, Church Leadership Exchanges, and Business Management Seminars in Russia. (Until this link is expanded, please go to the menu above for information on those projects.)

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East-West Bridges for Peace

A network of groups which engaged in "citizen diplomacy" through East-West exchange projects, Bridges for Peace was organized at the height of the Cold War in 1981. While formally discontinued in 1994, this project had several off-shoots which are still sponsoring ongoing activities. Through Bridges exchanges over 800 citizens of Russia and other nations of the former Soviet Union visited the US, while over 1200 US citizens visited Russia and other parts of the then USSR.

Begun in November 1981 by groups in Vermont and New Hampshire Congregational Churches (The United Church of Christ), the project was initially called "US-USSR Bridges for Peace." From the beginning, "Bridges" had the active support of the Russian Department at Dartmouth College. While a group at the Norwich, Vermont Congregational Church provided the original base, and while Vermont and New Hampshire citizens pioneered in forming it, "Bridges" rapidly expanded to include secular organizations and groups in six other states within its sponsoring network. All the New England States were represented, as well as New Jersey and North Carolina.

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Church Leadership Exchanges

In September, 1984 Bridges for Peace began a series of exchange visits in cooperation with The Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church. These exchanges, in which US Protestant and Roman Catholic churches were active, also involved Russian Baptist churches, the Georgian Orthodox Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church.

As a result of the close working relationship established with the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, The Transnational Institute was able to sponsor two exchanges of Russian and US church administrators of health and human services programs. Conducted during 1991 and 1992, these exchanges were co-sponsored by the Office for Church Charity and Social Services of the Russian Orthodox Church. US church administrators who managed hospitals, homes for the aged or other social service agencies visited counterpart institutions in the USSR; then hosted Russian administrators from those facilities in their own agencies in the US.

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Business Management Seminars in Russia

From 1991 to 1993 The Transnational Institute sponsored a program of business management seminars in Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union. The first seminar was taught by a 5-member US faculty in Syktyvkar, capital of the Komi Republic of Russia, during May 1991. One of the earliest jointly-sponsored East-West efforts to teach Western business principles in the USSR, this seminar was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Through 1993, a total of 10 seminars in business management were offered in five cities of Russia and Belarus--Minsk, capital of Belarus; plus Syktyvkar, Petrozavodsk, Vladikavkaz and Moscow in Russia. The series of 10 seminars culminated with one at the Academy for the National Economy in Moscow in July 1993. Primary funding for the seminars in 1992 and 1993 came from the United States Information Agency.

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The Norwich Center

Formed in 1977, The Norwich Center in Norwich, Vermont has provided the administrative base for The Transnational Institute and its related activities. Most of these activities, like the Center itself, have been carried through by unpaid volunteers. The Center's formation was inspired by the German-American social philosopher Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, who taught at Dartmouth College from 1935 to 1957. In his book Planetary Service, and earlier writings, Rosenstock-Huessy articulated ideas which have earned him recognition as an inspirer of the US Peace Corps and similar international voluntary services.

Another source of inspiration for The Norwich Center was the American philospher William James (1842-1910). In his essay "The Moral Equivalent of War," James said that citizens should learn to mobilize themselves in peacetime to address society's problems, or "war must have its way." Shortly after James wrote that essay in America, a similar proposal was made in Germany by Rosenstock-Huessy. The latter implemented his proposal by founding volunteer service camps in Germany in the 1920s.

Later, while teaching at Dartmouth, Rosenstock-Huessy inspired the formation of Camp William James, in Sharon and Tunbridge, Vermont. That camp, started in 1940 with the backing of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was conceived of as an innovative experiment within the Civilian Conservation Corps. The idea was to see if the CCC might be expanded from a program for unemployed youth into one that would accept volunteers from all walks of life.

This background explains why The Norwich Center's founding Board of Directors included two veterans of Camp William James, Frank Davidson and Clinton Gardner, as well as Rosenstock-Huessy's son Hans Huessy. It also explains why another founding board member was Freya von Moltke, widow of Helmuth von Moltke, a leader in the German resistance to Hitler. The latter had worked closely with Rosenstock-Huessy in creating the 1920s volunteer service camps.

Thus it was that one of The Norwich Center's first projects was the publication, in 1978, (in cooperation with Argo Books) of Camp William James, a history of the camp by one of its members, Jack J. Preiss. And in its first years The Norwich Center helped sponsor activities related to the US Peace Corps and to national youth service.

However, it was not until 1981 that the Center became the operating base of its own project: US-USSR Bridges for Peace, launched in cooperation with the Norwich Congregational Church and the Russian Department of Dartmouth College. The Transnational Institute and its related East-West activities grew out of the network of Russian-American exchanges begun by Bridges for Peace.

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This page was begun on November 10, 1995 and will be continuously updated. Latest update December 24, 2001.

Our E-Mail and Other Addresses

The Transnational Institute
Clinton C. Gardner, President
The Norwich Center
Box 710
Norwich, VT 05055 USA
Fax: 802-649-1000

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Copyright 1995-2001, The Transnational Institute

All rights reserved.
Russia on the Web is a service mark of The Transnational Institute
Web site launched on November 10, 1995