Introduction to Accent

Accent on Understanding was a non-profit, 501(c)(3)-designated organization in Washington from 1987 to the early 2000s that facilitated teacher and student exchanges between the United States and the nations that made up the Soviet Union. Their formation began with yearly Storytell International trips to the Soviet Union, where teachers accompanied founder Michale Gabriel in a mission to share and collect stories, and became Accent on Understanding when the 1987 trip inspired several of the participants to create an organization that would formalize these pursuits.

1987 | Accent on Understanding - Vision, Purpose, Name and Symbol.pdf

Accent's statement of purpose & vision

The original vision for Accent, involved several key tenets:

  1. A commitment to a "more humane world for all [...] people"
  2. A focus on students as the future of the world, and as world citizens.
  3. A goal of making individuals more aware of their place in the world.
  4. A goal of "Peace and Understanding" between nations, using face-to-face interaction and storytelling.

Their chosen implementation to achieve these goals was to perform and facilitate "educational exchanges between educators of Washington State, all the Nations of the former Soviet Union, and other peoples of the world". Accent was very successful in facilitating these exchanges, but Accent's success in achieving their vision must be evaluated against some chosen scope of impact. To what extent did Accent achieve their vision's four tenets?

Introduction to Accent