Thursday, March 30, 2006

Colliding worlds

When I left my work in Russia I wondered if that world would close for ever to me. There were other things I really wanted to do but it was with deep sadness that I thought about losing those connections. Now here I am at Oxford at the Skoll Forum in my GlobalGiving identity, and for some reason Russia keeps coming back -- whether in the panel on social entrepreneurship in transition countries, press freedom in the world, and now on a panel on the rule of law in China. (By no less than Karen Tse, who has a project on GlobalGiving.) And it was bested only when I ran into an old friend -- Volodya Mau and his son Anton -- in the lobby of the conference hall. Volodya was here just to meet a conference attendee for lunch, so it was only the slimmest of chances that had me run into him. And as I reflect on the rush of gratitude I felt on seeing the work of an organization like MDLF -- and felt moved to support them especially given what they are doing in places like Russia to stop the reimposition of state control -- not to speak of my delight in seeing Volodya, I realize there's a part of me that's still back there. Or maybe more to the point, still a little bit of Russia in me. Some loyalties die hard.

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