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Lazaroff About Page US-Russian Relations


Over the past forty years, Cynthia has been engaged in Track II and 1.5 diplomacy with Russia and the former Soviet Union.

Since 2017, Cynthia has developed and taught seminars on “Third Side” mediation, conflict resolution and citizen diplomacy in Track II and 1.5 Working Groups, and at universities including Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, Moscow State University, St. Anthony’s College, Oxford, and the Middlebury-Monterey Institute of International Studies

She has participated in the University Consortium, an inter-regional academic network that promotes dialogue, research and policy outreach on Euro-Atlantic issues critical to addressing the crisis in Russia-West relations.


Cynthia has founded groundbreaking U.S.-Russian exchange initiatives since the early 1980s.  She organized a concert tour of Moscow and St. Petersburg in 2018 for Makana, singer, composer, cultural ambassador for the state of Hawaii and the world’s greatest living master of the native Hawaiian tradition of slack-key guitar.

From 2014-2021, Cynthia addressed the annual All-Russia Forum in St. Petersburg on Strategic Planning in Cities and Regions to build bridges of collaboration on sustainability and climate change and to advance mutual trust and understanding. 

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 successfully launched an international campaign to break down enemy stereotypes and 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.


A magna cum laude graduate in Politics and Russian Studies from Princeton University, Cynthia speaks fluent Russian.  She fell in love with the Russian language, literature, culture and the Russian people as an undergraduate.  She has made forty trips to Russia and the former Soviet Union since 1978 when she was an exchange student at Leningrad State University. Cynthia serves on the Board of the American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord and is one of nine Americans profiled in the critically acclaimed book, Citizen Diplomats: Pathfinders in Soviet-American Relations and How You Can Join Them. 



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