"Once upon a time, in a land far away, Walton Conway found himself sitting at a table opposite a man he would’ve considered an enemy in childhood. The man, Roman Karkachev, grew up in the Soviet Union. Conway came of age in Gastonia, where he remembers being aghast at his parents’ descriptions of life as they imagined it in a communist country. In his youth, Conway envisioned the Soviet Union as a place full of stern-faced men and precariously positioned missiles, a perception fueled by the Cold War. “When I decided to go teach in Russia, people kept asking why I would want to live there,” he says. “I felt Russia was sort of a forbidden country. … I wanted to go to Russia to be an ambassador, to learn what life was like there, and to make friends. I believe every individual friendship is a link to world peace.”
This article by Leigh Ann Henion appeared in Our State Magazine, September 2008. Read more!