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Chaired by Ambassador William H. Luers, the Committee was a coalition of U.S. business and cultural leaders. Its mission was—
  • To support the renewal of Russian culture and artistic creativity
  • To encourage the exchange of people, ideas and programs between U.S. and Russian arts organizations
  • To advocate St. Petersburg and its redevelopment needs in the U.S.
  • To strengthen and coordinate U.S. resources committed to its tercentenary
To promote American involvement in St. Petersburg’s tercentenary, CEC created Coalition USA-2003, a loose affiliation of organizations in the United States with active interest in carrying out cultural projects linked to St. Petersburg.


In 1993, a group of cultural and business leaders led by former U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia William H.Luers, was invited to St. Petersburg for a conference, “Cultural Policy and Economic Development.” The following year a delegation from St. Petersburg visited New York and Atlanta to get acquainted with the cultural policies of U.S. cities. At the end of 1994, the American Committee was created as a catalyst and facilitator of U.S. participation in St. Petersburg’s tercentenary celebration.

The American Committee was formally recognized as St. Petersburg’s official U.S. partner for the celebration. The Committee has pursued its mission through projects designed to build new connections between U.S. and St. Petersburg cultural institutions and strengthen existing ones.


US Launch of St. Petersburg Jubilee Celebrations, Nov. 13, 2002 in cooperation with Saks Fifth Avenue. 
Great Cultural Embassy (April 2000). A 3-day program in New York for representatives of leading cultural institutions in St. Petersburg and representatives of the city Administration. Events included a tourism seminar, a meeting with the membership of the American Committee,and a musical gala with performers from the Academy of young singers from the Mariinsky Theater. 
Performing Arts Presenters(May 1999). Heads of large regional performing arts centers traveled to St. Petersburg to get acquainted with the city’s cultural offerings, with an emphasis on showcasing young talent and contemporary work. 
2003: Five Year Kick-off (May 1998). With assistance from the Institute for Cultural Programs in St. Petersburg, members of the American Committee for St. Petersburg 2003 and CEC staff met with city officials and cultural and business leaders to discuss American involvement in the plans for the tercentenary. The Committee expanded to become a nationwide group, inviting new members and raising funds to support tercentenary projects. 
St. Petersburg: A Cultural Celebration (January 1997). A two-month festival of performances, exhibitions and special events organized in cooperation with the Arts & Events Office of the World Financial Center in New York City.


William Luers (Committee Chairman), United Nations Association of the USA 
Edward Albee, Playwright 
Pierre Apraxine, The Howard Gilman Foundation 
James H. Billington, The Librarian of Congress 
J. Carter Brown*, National Gallery, Washington, DC 
William C. Brumfield, Tulane University 
Schuyler G. Chapin, Commissioner for Culture, New York City (ret.) 
Anita Contini, Merrill Lynch & Co. 
Esther Coopersmith 
Jenny Dixon, Bronx Museum 
John Evans, U.S. Department of State 
Harriet Fulbright, Fulbright Foundation 
Paul Gottlieb*, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 
Donald Greene, The Coca-Foundation (ret.) 
Heyward Isham, Eurasia Group 
Donald Kendall, Pepsico, Inc. 
Richard Lanier, Trust for Mutual Understanding 
Eugene Lawson, US-Russia Business Council 
Paul LeClerc, New York Public Library 
Jane Lombard, CEC International Partners 
Bo W. Long, Finnair (ret.) 
The Honorable Earle I. Mack, The Mack Company 
Natalia Makarova, Dancer and Author 
Suzanne Massie, Author 
Richard E. Oldenburg, Sotheby's North America 
L. Jay Oliva, New York University 
Marilyn Perry, Samuel H. Kress Foundation 
Peter J. Pettibone, Hogan & Hartson, LLP 
Susan Rappaport, International Museum Guide 
Blair Ruble, The Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies 
Dmitri Shalin, Univ. of Nevada/Las Vegas 
Isaac Shapiro, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher 
Andrew B. Somers, Jr., American Chamber of Commerce, Moscow 
The Hon. C. William Verity, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce 
George C. White, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center 
John C. Whitehead, AEA Investors, Inc. 
Lawrence J. Wilker,, Inc. 
Michael B. Yanney, America First Companies 

American Committee Founders in St. Petersburg (1993) with Mayor Anatoly Sobchak (right)

Last-minute preparations for the Jubilee (2003)