Words that open our eyes to the world are always the easiest to remember. - Ryszard Kapuscinski
Our Story: CCSI: Net Talk November 1995

Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others. - Robert Louis Stevenson

Friends & Partners Demonstrate Internet
for Gore-Chernomyrdin Meeting

Our Story: CCSI: Net Talk November 1995 As readers of Net Talk know, since mid-1994 Center for Civil Society International has been a part of the Friends and Partners World Wide Web site created by Greg Cole and Natasha Bulashova and first announced on January 19, 1994. Friends and Partners has been recogonized repeatedly as one of the best sites on the Internet.

While Greg and Natasha are not given to trumpeting their achievements, preferring to work behind the scenes, some recent news from them warrants special mention.

First, Friends and Partners was recently chosen by folks involved in the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission to be demonstrated at the forthcoming meeting between U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Cherno-myrdin. Friends and Partners is to be shown as an example of how the Internet can be used to foster cooperation and exchange between people in our countries. This is another tribute to the quality of information to be found at Friends and Partners and should provide a good opportunity to show the helpful uses of the Internet to leaders of Russia and the U.S. The event will be held in late January or early February. CCSI will provide more information when a firm date is set.

Second, Friends and Partners was recently awarded a grant from the US State Department, most of which will go toward establishing and funding (for one year) a Friends and Partners Support Center in Pushchino, Russia, under Natasha's direction. The new center will employ four individuals, two of whom will work full-time on Friends and Partners and two half-time.

Third, F&P received a grant from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) last year to improve the network infrastructure between Pushchino and the larger Internet. Greg Cole now reports that the new infrastructure (a 64K digital connection) is in place and is already greatly assisting the Friends and Partners project. It is now possible to keep the two principal F&P sites (in Knoxville and Pushchino) synchronized with each other.

Finally, the University of Tennessee has just established the new Center for International Networking Initiatives. Greg Cole left his position at the University of Tennessee's Research Services in October to direct this exciting new initiative.

The story of Friends and Partners is another example of what can happen when strong personal commitment and imagination (Greg and Natasha's) are married to a good idea. F&P began entirely as a hobby initiative, but quickly drew support from the university systems in Tennessee and Pushchino, from Sun Microsystems, and then from the U.S. government and an international organization (NATO). Equally important has been the participation of organizations such as Center for Civil Society International (if we may say so!), which have helped to make Friends and Partners the highly-visited Internet site that it is today.

As F&P has grown, it has become impossible to run it on a nights and weekends basis. The combination of the grant from the State Department and the creation by the University of Tennessee of a Center for International Networking Initiatives will now allow a full-time and professional approach to developing Friends and Partners. We at CCSI, as well as Greg and Natasha, are excited about what this will make possible. In their words:

"We recognize that Friends and Partners is, first and foremost, a community of like-minded people who wish to share with, learn from, and work with each other. This, perhaps more than anything else, distinguishes it from many other Internet services. Our main objective now is to do a better job of "growing" and supporting this community."

We are especially hopeful that we can work together with many of you over the next 2-3 months to ensure that when we soon have an opportunity to talk with our countrysí leaders about the possibilities of utilizing network and information technology to promote partnership and community, that the story told is a good one and has maximum impact and effect."

In announcing these important developments, Greg and Natasha reiterated their "principal hope and goal," as stated in their first announcement in early 1994:
". . . that Friends and Partners will, at least in some small way, promote better understanding between our nations by providing instruction on our people and our cultures, by providing a common base of information about issues affecting relations between our countries, and by providing a common "meeting place" where folks can find and communicate with each other."
Friends and Partners Home Page can be reached at http://solar.ncsa.uiuc.edu/friends/home.html

Date: November 1995

The URL for this document is:

This document is accessible from the Center for Civil Society International's home page at the Friends and Partners World Wide Web (Internet) site.

The URL for CCSI's home page is:

For more information contact Center for Civil Society International at:


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