After the soviet union collapsed in December of 1991, the former president Mikhail Gorbachev established his own foundation.
Before his time at Texas A&M as the university’s vice president and dean of the School of Law, Robert Adhieh performed research for the former Russian president and his senior staff for several months between 1992 and 1993.
Ahdieh was a college student at the time studying and working on legal reform issues in the former soviet union.
He thought of no better place to gain some experience in the then soviet union, than by working at Gorbachev’s foundation after the former president left office. When he heard he was going to speak at the university of Pennsylvania, he took a leap of faith.
“I convinced a few of the Philadelphia cops who were guarding back stage to let me pass,” Ahdieh recalls.
Here he found Gorbachev standing alone. In his broken Russian, he approached the former president.
“I went from there and said, I am a student and I want to come work and intern at your at the foundation,” he states.
A few months later, he arrived in Moscow to do his internship with him. Ahdieh describes President Gorbachev’s time in office much like the time they spent together.
“Whatever it was I was working on, when I would interact with him about it, he was he was genuine and sincere in wanting to figure out what the what the real answer was and how he should understand it,” he remembers.
He also remembers him as being undeniably hopeful that he could find a way to keep his country together during a transition.
“In many ways, he looked closely at his country, sought to evaluate fundamentally what the country needed, and set it on this path of reform that has brought us to the current day state of the world,” the Texas A&M Vice President states.
He believes his strong sense of ethics in politics and social reform set in motion a process that led to significant progress during the six years that he was in office.
“It wasn’t a ‘give me an answer.’ it was ‘give me the right answer and help me understand what the right answer is on any of these issues. Obviously, these were both complex and critical issues that he was engaged in,” says Ahdieh.