We are really looking forward to our program celebrating the opening of the air border between the US and Soviet Union 25 years ago.
Here is what former Governor Steve Cowper said about the historic flight. The Alaska World Affairs Council is bringing him back to Alaska to talk with Willie Hensley and Lt. Governor Treadwell about this memorable event:
“Before the Friendship Flight initiative, the Soviet Union was a baleful presence across the Bering Strait. As far as we could tell, they didn’t like us and we certainly didn’t like them. But the Glasnost period changed all that.
The Friendship Flight was a small and manageable initial step, and it changed Alaska’s relationship with Russia forever. I felt lucky to play a role in the flight and in what followed: Russians coming to Alaska, and Alaskans flocking to the Russian Far East, most of them on Alaska Airlines.
There were the usual grave pronouncements about business and trade, but in the end the Friendship Flight delivered exactly what its name implied: friendship. A solidity among the people of the Arctic that transcended national borders.
Recently, during a conference in Vladivostok, I was constantly amazed at how much knowledge the Far East officials had of those times, and the importance they attached to it. Alaskans had played an historic role, and for once we focused our attention outside our own borders. We looked outward instead of looking inward. For us, that in itself was a revelation.”
“I Can See Russia From Here: A Celebration of the ‘Friendship Flight’ & 25 Years of an Open Border Between Two World Superpowers”
Willie Hensley, Former Governor Steve Cowper, & Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell
Friday, November 1st, 2013
12:00pm – 1:00pm (Doors open at 11:30am)
Anchorage Hilton Hotel
RSVP by Wednesday, October 30th to firstname.lastname@example.org or 276-8038