Cynthia Lazaroff is the founder of Women Transforming Our Nuclear Legacy and NuclearWakeUpCall.Earth. She is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and author of Dawn of a New Armageddon, a personal account of the Hawaii missile scare amidst escalating nuclear dangers, published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on Hiroshima Day.
Cynthia is dedicated to catalyzing efforts in U.S.-Russia relations to reduce the nuclear risk and to working with people in Russia and all countries to move towards a world without nuclear weapons. She has been engaged in Track II citizen diplomacy and mediation efforts with Russia and has founded groundbreaking U.S.-Russian exchange initiatives since the early 1980s. In 2021, Cynthia co-founded the American-Russian Women’s Dialogue and Peacebuilding Initiative to reduce tensions, and advance cooperation and the movement for nuclear disarmament. She is organizing Bering Strait for Peace with indigenous peoples to gather together in the Bering Strait, where the border between the U.S. and Russia – the two countries that together possess over 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons – is less than three miles apart.
Cynthia is the Senior Creative Producer for U.S.-Russia Relations: Quest for Stability, a seven-part documentary series produced with philanthropic support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. She is Executive Producer of Mourning Armageddon, a music video featuring Hawaii artist and activist Makana, filmed in a Cold War nuclear bomb shelter near the Kremlin.
Cynthia co-wrote the story and served as Executive Consultant on the award-winning mini-series Hiroshima, broadcast by Showtime on the 50th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb. She also co-wrote the story for The Last Russian Tsar, an NBC Special narrated by Jeremy Irons. Cynthia co-produced the prize-winning documentary, The Challenge of the Caucasus, featuring the first joint ascent of Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak (18,481’), by Soviet and American youth whom she co-led to the summit. Narrated by Leonard Nimoy, the film was broadcast on TBS and PBS and was also released internationally. The film premiered on the eve of the first Reagan-Gorbachev Summit and won a First Prize at the American Film Festival and a CINE Gold Eagle award.
Cynthia previously served as Director of Creative Affairs at Armand Hammer Productions where she supervised the development of feature film and television projects including Mother Russia, an eight-hour mini-series for HBO and The Cuban Missile Crisis, a four-hour mini-series for NBC. An adviser and consultant on numerous Russian-related film and television projects, Cynthia has extensive experience in negotiations and film production in Russia.
Cynthia has widely shared her personal experience of the Hawaii False Alarm in articles and interviews for podcasts, magazines, books, films and other media. By sharing her 38-minute near-death experience, she hopes to inspire others to wake up and take action to reduce the escalating and existential nuclear dangers that threaten the future of all life on Earth, saying, “The experience of feeling that you are about to be hit by a nuclear missile makes it absolutely clear what is most precious. I want us to be motivated not by fear but by love. To act from our love for this precious life, for the gift of this beautiful Earth, for all we love and hold dear.”
She has taught seminars on a range of subjects such as Third Side mediation, conflict resolution, citizen diplomacy, U.S.-Russia relations and the Hawaii False Alarm in Track II and 1.5 Working Groups and at universities including: the Middlebury-Monterey Institute of International Studies, St. Anthony’s College, Oxford, Arizona State University, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, National Research Nuclear University MEPhI and Moscow State University.
In 1983, at the height of Cold War tensions, Cynthia co-founded and served as Executive Director of the US-USSR Youth Exchange Program where she pioneered exchanges in the fields of art, literature, theater, education, film, sports, wilderness adventures, urban leadership and environmental service. She has led hundreds of Americans on people-to-people tours, taught American culture in Soviet schools and is the author of the innovative curriculum, Step One: Getting to Know the USSR and Its People.
In 2022, Cynthia received the Women Waging Peace Award from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and a Games for Change Impact Fellowship for the virtual reality documentary On the Morning You Wake. She currently serves on the boards of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord. Cynthia is one of nine Americans profiled in the critically acclaimed book, Citizen Diplomats: Pathfinders in Soviet-American Relations and How You Can Join Them. She is a magna cum laude graduate in Politics and Russian Studies from Princeton University.