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Citizen Diplomacy Archives of Bob Swan

Call Number: RH MS 1393


From the early 1980s through the 2000s, Bob Swan organized several major United States-Soviet initiatives to improve relations between the two nations and their citizens. This collection consists of manuscript material, publications, audio-visual materials, and objects related to Swan's initiatives and to his interest in the culture and history of the countries that made up the Soviet Union.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1960-2007 ( 1982-2001)


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Robert Swan, Jr.

Robert Swan was a University of Kansas Exchange Scholar to England in 1964-65 and a Rotary International Fellow to Argentina in 1966. In his graduate studies at KU, he held a Ford Foundation Fellowship and completed a masters in Political Science in 1969 and a Master of Philosophy in American Studies in 1972. He continued residing in Lawrence, Kansas after graduating from his studies.

Throughout the 1980s, Swan organized several United States-Soviet Union initatives to help improve relations between the two nations. At the January 1990 Soviet-American Citizens Summit in Moscow, Swan received two major citizen diplomacy awards recognizing his impact on U.S.-Soviet relations, and he co-chaired the roundtable on International Citizen Diplomacy.

In 1982 Swan founded Athletes United for Peace, organizing with others the Soviet track and field team's participation in the 1983 Relays at the University of Kansas.

Swan is also co-founder of the Elbe Alliance, an organization that strives to ensure that the spirit of the Soviet-American World War II cooperation, symbolized by the 1945 Elbe link-up of the Soviet and American allied troops in Torgau, Germany, remains a positive force in relations between the two countries. In 1985 he organized with Dr. Mark Scott the Meeting at the Elbe, a reunion of those Soviet and American veterans.

Swan helped organize three Soviet delegation visits to the United States in 1989, providing members of the Soviet War Veterans Committee a tour of the United States' memorials and arranging midwestern tours for two Soviet business delegations.

Swan hosted Mikhail Grobavhev at a luncheon and farewell reception in Fulton, Missouri at Westerminster College in 1992, the site of Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech and where Gorbachev gave his speech marking the end of the Cold War. In 1993 Swan met Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Moscow as part of a seven-member Elbe Veterans delegation.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Swan continued to initiate and support efforts at United States-Russian cooperation, including the creation of the U.S.-Russia Foundation.


24.75 Linear Feet (30 boxes + 7 oversize boxes, 4 oversize folders)

Language of Materials




Scope and Contents

This collection contains material related to several U.S.-Soviet peace initiatives organized by Bob Swan or with which he was involved from 1982-1991. These initiatives include The Day After film project, Athletes United for Peace, the Meeting at the Elbe 1985 reunion, Elbe Veterans at the Geneva Summit, the Yanks Meet Reds book project, Elbe Veterans at the 1987 Washington Summit, and Meeting for Peace 1990.

The collection also contains correspondence and other material from various people and organizations involved in Swan's peace initiatives or otherwise in contact with Swan, as well as articles and booklets related to U.S.-Soviet relations. This supplementary material spans a greater period of time, from 1960 - 2007.

Material in the collection includes manuscripts, newspapers, publications (including booklets, magazines, and books), posters, objects (including stickers, pins, and other artifacts), audio-visual materials, and related materials.

Oversize textual materials have been physically separated from the main collection and are located at RH MS R394, RH MS R395, and RH MS S44. Audio-visual materials have also been physically separated and are located at RH Video 52.

Physical Location

RH MS 1393

Physical Location

RH MS Q426

Physical Location

RH MS R394, RH MS R395

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Bob Swan, 2014.

Related Materials

Meeting for Peace Collection, RH MS P698, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Separated Materials

Scott, Mark and S. Krasil'shchik, eds. Yanks meet Reds: Recollections of U.S. and Soviet Vets from the Linkup in World War II. Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1988.

Guide to the Bob Swan Collection
Citizen Diplomacy Archives of Bob Swan
Finding aid prepared by rar, 2016. Finding aid encoded by rar, 2016. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2017, 2020; cmp, 2021; mwh, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Citizen Diplomacy Archives of Bob Swan, RH MS 1393, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States