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Exhibit & Symposium | Glasnost & Goodwill: Citizen Diplomacy in the Northwest | Washington State History Museum (Tacoma)

December 1, 2017

Glasnost & Goodwill: Citizen Diplomacy in the Northwest

Exhibit: on view through Sunday, January 21, 2018

Symposium: January 20, 2018

By the 1980s, there were thousands of nuclear weapons aimed at the United States, and an equal number targeted at the Soviet Union. Only a vague notion of “mutually assured destruction” stood between war and peace for the world’s superpowers. And yet, citizens did not sit idly by. Quietly a movement formed, built by citizen diplomats who reached across the Pacific to engage their neighbors, one conversation at a time. Washingtonians, in particular, saw an opportunity to bring peace with their nearby neighbors through business partnerships, sister-city relationships, and cultural exchanges.

Glasnost and Goodwill: Citizen Diplomacy in the Northwest is a fascinating, in-depth exploration of how citizen diplomacy in Washington and the greater Northwest contributed to the thawing of the Cold War. Visitors will learn about people from Washington traveling behind the Iron Curtain with thousands of letters expressing wishes for peace; elementary school children competing cross-culturally in chess tournaments and swimming competitions; fishermen supporting one another in international business ventures; and finally, the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle and the greater Puget Sound region–a major undertaking that further cemented the special relationship between Washington and the Soviet people.

Glasnost & Goodwill is brought to life through photographs, videos, oral histories, and authentic artifacts that trace the rise of grassroots diplomacy in the region from the early 1930s to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and beyond.

Glasnost & Goodwill is made possible by Kay Bullitt, the Turner Foundation, Inc., Alaska Airlines Foundation, Wally Pereyra, Jay Platt, Bruce McCaw, Stowe Talbot, Mike Scallon, Ed Parks, and the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies.

For more information, visit the Museum website.

View a video about the exhibit here.

The Glasnost & Goodwill Symposium:

An afternoon celebration of Pacific Northwest activism and citizen diplomacy during the Cold War in connection with the Glasnost & Goodwill Exhibit.

Saturday, January 20 from 12:30 to 2:30 at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, WA


Tony Allison, Marine Resources Company and author of “Fishing with the Soviets” in Columbia Magazine and the article “Back To The Cold War? A Seattleite’s Anxious Return To Russia” on KOUW’s website.

Betsy Bell, Target Seattle

Elena Campbell, Professor of History, University of Washington

Roscius Doan, Seattle Tashkent Sister City Association

Benjamin Tromly, Professor of History, University of Puget Sound

Glennys Young, Professor of History, University of Washington