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"United States & Russia Diplomatic Relations Day"
22 October 2007
"United States & Russia Diplomatic Relations Day"

"United States & Russia Diplomatic Relations Day"
Celebrated in Boston, MA

September 26, 2007

Representatives of the various organizations participating in the festivities.
Pictured at the festivities are: William Burns, US Ambassador to Russia;
Amalie Kass, Chair of the Board of Massachusetts Historical Society;
C. James Taylor, Editor in Chief, The Adams Papers, Mass. Historical
Society, Dennis Fiori, President, MHS
and Oleg Stepanoff, Senior Counselor, Russian Embassy. Photo courtesy
of Martha Stewart of the Mass.
Historical Society.

On Wednesday, September 26, Boston observed the 200th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Russia through a series of events that were coordinated or organized by the U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce of New England. The guests of honor for all of these events were the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, William Burns and the Senior Russian Counselor, Oleg Stepanoff.

The day began with an informal meeting with the Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick; the Massachusetts Senate President, Therese Murray; Speaker of the House, Salvatore DiMasi; USRCCNE President Daniel Satinsky and USRCCNE Board Member and President of the UN Association of Greater Boston Richard Golob.

After a lively discussion of possible economic, educational, and cultural benefits of improving relations between Massachusetts business and institutions and their Russian counterparts, the group moved to the Senate Chamber for a formal ceremony hosted by President Murray marking the anniversary. As part of this observance, Governor Patrick issued an official proclamation designating September 26, 2007 "United States & Russia Diplomatic Relations Day" in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Afterwards, President Murray welcomed Ambassador Burns and Counselor Stepanoff for further informal discussion in her Senate offices.

The next event on the schedule was a luncheon at the downtown Harvard Club, co-organized by the USRCCNE and the UN Association of Greater Boston. This luncheon was enriched by a special companion exhibit of historic Russian icons presented by the Museum of Russian Icons. The over 100 luncheon participants had an opportunity to view the exhibit and network among themselves before hearing presentations from both Ambassador Burns and Counselor Stepanoff, followed by a short question and answer period.

The luncheon was notable for bringing together a number of companies and individuals who are active in Russia, but who previously did not know each other. The principal sponsor for the luncheon was the Museum of Russian Icons.  The co-sponsor was GGA Software Services, LLC. Table sponsors were Grand Circle Travel, McDermott, Will & Emery, New Horizons, Pioneer Investments and State Senator Stan Rosenberg.

Ambassador Burns at Massachusetts State Ceremony
From the official ceremony of the State of Massachusetts marking the 200th anniversery US-Russia relations. From top, left to right are: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick; Senate President Therese Murray; House Majority Leader Sal DiMasi US Ambassador to Russia William Burns, Oleg Stepanoff, Senior Counselor, Russian Embassy. Photo courtesy of the office of Senate President Murray.

The luncheon was also notable as the first collaborative event between the USRCCNE and the UN Association of Greater Boston (UNAGB). This collaboration was the brainchild of Richard Golob, who is both a Board member of the USRCCNE and President of the UNAGB in addition to being CEO of GGA Software Services. The luncheon was co-moderated by Daniel Satinsky representing the USRCCNE and Richard Golob representing UNAGB. Thanks go out to UNAGB staff Lena Granberg and Erica Sanger and to USRCCNE Board members Daniel Satinsky, principle partner of B.E.A Associaties, and Kathleen O'Donnell, President of Market Access International for their organizational work that made the luncheon a great success.

The day's events continued with a gala opening ceremony for a special exhibit at the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) entitled "Moments of Destiny: Two Centuries of Russian-American Diplomatic Relations." The exhibit begins with papers from John Quincy Adams' two terms of service in St. Petersburg, and continues with artifacts and photos from the visit of the Russian fleet to Boston during the Civil War in 1864 in support of the Union cause and moving into the 20th century with photos and artifacts from Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.'s role in Nikita Khrushchev's visit to the U.S. in 1959 and the signing of the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963 as witnessed by Senator Leverett Saltonstall.

The MHS had an overwhelming response to their invitation to attend this opening ceremony, with over 220 people registered to attend.

The program was opened by MHS Board President Amalie Kass. After remarks by MHS President Dennis Fiori, both Ambassador Burns and Counselor Stepanoff made presentations. The program included further historical background and insight provided by the MHS staff and concluded with a special presentation to Amanda George, a high school student at Buckingham Brown & Nichols who was the winner of an essay contest initiated by the US Embassy in Moscow and co-sponsored by the MHS. She wrote on student exchanges between the USSR and the US.

The guests at the ceremony enjoyed catered Russian food from the Berezka International Food of Allston and a decorative scheme created by Julie Arrison of the Massachusetts Historical Society from items loaned by Margaret Coleman of the Russian American Cultural Center.

The exhibit is open to the public at the Massachusetts Historical Society until October 31, 2007.

Presentation to Ambassador Burns
William Burns, Oleg Stepanoff
and Amalie Kass participate in
a presentation.

The events of the day concluded with Ambassador Burns delivering the opening lecture in the Charles Francis Adams lecture series at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy. After an introduction by the Fletcher Academic Dean, Peter Uvin, Ambassador Burns delivered an expanded view on the themes of U.S. – Russia relations that had been introduced in his presentations during the earlier events. Then he took questions from an audience of approximately 100 students and professors until his voice virtually gave out.

Attending all of the day's events was a special group of Russian academics who are the first group chosen as the John Quincy Adams scholars under the Fulbright scholarship program. The group included Liubov Bugaeva, St. Petersburg State University; Natalia Suchugova, Russian State University for the Humanities (Dr. Suchugova recently published the first book in Russian on John Quincy Adams and will be affiliated with the MHS); Mikhail Rykhtik, Nizhny Novgorod State University;  Alexander Petrov, Russian Academy of Sciences; and  Vassilina Babina, Amur State University. Escorting the group was Deborah Guido-O'Grady, Public Diplomacy Officer, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus Desks of the U.S. Department of State. While stationed in Moscow, Ms. Guido-O'Grady was instrumental in arranging for Ambassador Burns to come to Boston to celebrate this anniversary and participate in the events arranged for September 26.

The Boston Herald wrote an article on the anniversary that appeared on September 25 that quoted Daniel Satinsky as President of the USRCCNE. The Boston Globe wrote an article that appeared on September 27 that focused on the ceremony at the State legislature and on the exhibit at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

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