Russian innovators visit Duluth despite tensions

By KBJR News 1

March 27, 2014 Updated Mar 27, 2014 at 11:03 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- In the face of tensions between U.S. and Russia, citizens from Russia made their way to Duluth today in the name of innovation.

A U.S. - Russian innovation conference held in the twin cities nearly didn't happen due to current tensions between the countries.

"There was a lot of commitment and conviction on the part of the organizers of this. It was more important than ever that we proceed so, that we can continue to build those bridges of understanding and awareness." said Organizer and Director of Public Policy for the Blandin Foundation, Bernadine Joselyn.

The Russian Citizen Diplomacy Group is made up of people from all over the country and includes professors, researchers and independent business people.
The group of about twelve visitors broke off from the innovation conference held in the twin cities to discover innovation and entrepreneurship in Northern Minnesota.

"We were able to get to know management tools and practices which you use for managing logging, water quality, or using GIS." said Russian Visitor and Conservationist, Anya Zavadskaya.

Some of the visitors say they saw no difficulties in coming to the states because of the work of the program that brought them.

"No, we have a cooperated program. This program supported our tour to the United States." said Russian Visitor, Yuri Gorshkov.

"Against an international backdrop of increasing tension and concern about the fate of Russia and their neighboring countries, it's more important than ever that we establish people to people diplomacy." said Joselyn.

The visit to the states will help both Minnesotans and Russians continue to think globally in terms of economics, innovation and relationships to the global community.

The Russian visitors toured N.R.R.I., UMD, as well as the Fond Du Lac Reservation before heading back to the twin cities.