On Monday, November 19, I will have the honor of speaking about U.S.-Russia subnational engagement at an event hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center's Kennan Institute. As the Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs, I lead the Department of State's efforts to collaborate with state and local leaders and their counterparts abroad. In July 2012, I made a 10-day trip to Russia, where I visited cities and oblasts throughout the country, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok. I met with representatives of federal, regional, and local governments, as well as leaders of Russia's business and academic communities, to discuss and further the development of a U.S.-Russia subnational engagement effort.
In September 2012, I had the privilege of serving on the U.S. delegation to the 2012 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit on Russky Island off Vladivostok and seeing one direct result of U.S.-Russia subnational engagement.
On the margins of this year's Summit, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov signed on September 8 a Joint Statement on Strengthening U.S-Russian Interregional Cooperation. This joint commitment creates a framework for expanding opportunities for engagement between the United States and Russia at the subnational level. The framework provides the foundation for cooperation in trade and investment, education, and sharing of best practices at the local and regional levels.
As Secretary Clinton stated during the signing ceremony in Vladivostok, "[This] step we're taking is designed to stimulate economic growth by harnessing the knowledge and skills of local leaders. We are signing a Joint Statement on Interregional Cooperation to encourage greater collaboration at all levels of our governments. Regional and local officials will host trade delegations and introduce businesses to new markets. And when it comes to economic growth, local partnerships can have global impacts."
Over the past three and a half years, the United States and Russia have deepened our cooperation. As Secretary Clinton has said, "Our people are connected in more ways than ever before." And, we are committed to finding even more ways to work together.
We will be discussing areas of U.S.-Russia subnational cooperation during my talk at the Kennan Institute -- a fitting location for such a conversation. The Kennan Institute was founded in December 1974 through a joint initiative of Ambassador George F. Kennan, then Woodrow Wilson Center Director James Billington, and historian S. Frederick Starr and was named in honor of Ambassador Kennan's relative, George Kennan "the Elder" (1845-1924), a nineteenth-century explorer of Russia and Siberia. If you are in the Washington, D.C. area, I invite you to join us for the conversation. In the meantime, please feel free to share your thoughts on opportunities for U.S.-Russia cooperation in the comments section below. I look forward to reading your suggestions, and hopefully to seeing you at the event!