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Russian Journalists Visit Seacoast New Hampshire

posted Apr 19, 2019, 2:16 PM by FriendshipForce NHSeacoast   [ updated Apr 19, 2019, 2:26 PM ]

During the last week of March 2019, Friendship Force of the NH Seacoast hosted four Russian journalists whose professional goals are to provide their communities with unbiased news that is uncensored by local government officials. The journalists came from a broad geographic and civic spectrum, representing lesser-known regions such Karelia (on the Finnish border), and Buryatia (in eastern Siberia) to metropolises St. Petersburg and Moscow. Despite their disparate background, they came to the United States for the same reasons: to experience life in an American community and to engage with professional colleagues to learn first-hand about journalism in this country.

They met with reporters, managers, and editors from print media (Seacoast Media Group and the NH Union Leader), radio reporters and managers (WTSN in Dover, and New Hampshire Public Radio), and with television producers and reporters (Channel 11, New Hampshire Public Broadcasting Service, and Channel 9, WMUR-TV in Manchester). At the end of each visit, all of the journalists, American and Russian, expressed what an eye-opening and beneficial interaction their session was. Each came away with a newfound perspective on the people of the other country and with deep respect for the quality and integrity of their foreign peers.

As important as professional interaction is during Open World programs, they are not all about business. Cultural engagement is also a prominent feature. The Russian delegates were treated to a traditional pancake breakfast fundraiser at the Barrington Volunteer Fire Station, and then given a tour of the sugarhouse across the street that had provided the (very) fresh maple syrup! The delegates enjoyed the behind-the-scenes tour of an official government building (the fire station), a privilege they do not receive at home and loved the free samples of maple products available at the sugarhouse.

We also showed off our beautiful rocky coastline highlighted by photo opportunities at Nubble Light and the Great Island Common at New Castle. One morning was spent with University of New Hampshire students learning Russian, and an evening at the UNH spring dance recital was another noteworthy cultural highlight. By the end of the visit, each of the delegates and the FFNH members who participated expressed the joy of getting to know the other a little better. It was another wonderful experience in which we all felt the winnowing of unwitting barriers and the building of new bridges of friendship and cultural appreciation. In short, another terrific Open World experience!


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