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Russian and American Civil Society Leaders Debate Common Concerns

For two busy days in June, approximately 40 Russian and American thought leaders met in Washington, DC to debate the common challenges and best practices on 10 issues of critical importance to civil society development. By the conclusion of the summit, the working groups had drafted specific priorities for international peer-to-peer collaboration.

This second U.S. - Russia Civil Society to Civil Society (C2C) Summit was convened by IREX and ran parallel to the White House visit of Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev and his meeting with President Barack Obama.

To address the vast diversity of civil society needs, working groups were established in the following 10 areas:

    1. Public Health
    2. Higher Education
    3. Primary and Secondary Education & Youth
    4. Community Development
    5. Anti-Corruption and Institutional Integrity
    6. Transparency in Government
    7. New Media
    8. Human Rights and Law
    9. Child Protection
    10. Migration and Combating Human Trafficking

Tom Blanton



In addition to the working groups, IREX hosted the Innovation Marketplace, which brought the participants together with 10 organizations from the United States and Russia to share novel and innovative technology tools used domestically and abroad to serve the public and advance societal change.

At the conclusion of the event, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton toured the Innovation Marketplace and spoke before the participants, emphasizing the vast potential for greater collaboration.

IREX sees this event as establishing and renewing stronger relationships between civil society peers in the United States in Russia. Over the coming year these working gorups will continue to keep dialogue alive, public, and productive.

The C2C Summit was designed to complement the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission announced in July 2009 by Presidents Obama and Medvedev as a way to improve communication and cooperation between the governments of Russia and the United States. The Bilateral Presidential Commission (BPC) and its sixteen working groups, including one on Civil Society, serve as a platform for government-to-government dialogue between the two countries.

Preliminary summaries of the findings are available on the IREX website. If you would like a copy of the full report when it is available, please send your request to

See also:
    * Civil Society Summit Declares Priorities for Russia and the US
    * Technology Experts and Civil Society Leaders Share Innovations