Trading Delegations

Throughout the operational years of Accent, members worked diligently to achieve their vision by facilitating teacher and student exchanges, just as they had proposed. In contrast with the Storytell International tours, these exchanges were two-way: Accent would trade years sending teachers to the Soviet Union and its successor states, and acting as sponsors for teachers or students from those nations to come and visit the United States. The back-and-forth nature of these exchanges was important in setting an example of two-way dialogue between nations that were butting heads at the highest governmental levels. More mundanely, alternating exchanges were important because they allowed hosts to get a year of rest between hosting sessions.

Nancy Holmes discusses early visits from Soviets, their initial impact on tours in Washington, and the agreements they made to ensure the delegations would take turns visiting each year.

In practice, performing these exhanges was mostly a logistical task. On years sending individuals away from the U.S., Accent was focused on raising money, finding teachers or students to send, and dealing with governmental institutions like the State Department in order to manage Visas, health records, etc. On years receiving individuals, Accent was still focused on fundraising and jumping through bureaucratic hoops, but also managed finding host homes for the visitors to stay in, activities for them to participate in, and schools for them to visit.