For Immediate Release
Open World Program Brings Delegation to California to Gain Knowledge, Share Experience
Washington, DC - A delegation of Russian women entrepreneurs and NGO officials will spend July 26-August 2 in Long Beach, CA, examining women's leadership in a variety of roles on a visit sponsored by the Open World Program. The program is managed by the Open World Leadership Center, an independent federal agency located at the Library of Congress. Open World builds mutual understanding between the United States and the Russian Federation by enabling the new generation of Russian leaders to experience American democratic and free enterprise practices firsthand and to exchange views with their American counterparts.
The five-person delegation visiting Long Beach on this "women as leaders" themed exchange includes Natalya Deryaga, the director of a travel and food company in Long Beach's sister city of Sochi (located on the Black Sea near Georgia); Moscow businesswoman Zhanna Gazzaeva; Olga Kalinina-Sulakshina,who runs an advertising and marketing firm in the southern Siberian city of Tomsk; Olga Larionova, director of a chain of bridal boutiques in Orenburg region (bordering Kazakhstan); and Natalya Yefimova of Moscow, who is accompanying the group as a facilitator. All four delegates are active in Russian women's organizations: Ms. Deryaga in the Krasnodar League of Women Voters, Ms. Gazzaeva in a businesswomen's association, Ms. Kalinina-Sulakshina in two Tomsk women's organizations, and Ms. Larionova as
a member of the Orenburg Regional Council of Women's Organizations and the chair of a local women's NGO.
Highlights of the delegation's Long Beach schedule include meeting with Senior Assistant to the Mayor Diane Jacobus (July 28); discussing women in nontraditional roles with Long Beach City College President Jan Kehoe and college faculty (July 29); examining women in business management with Long Beach Chamber of Commerce Vice-President Luanne Bynam and discussing the activities of the League of Women Voters with local members (July 30); and examining women in politics with U.S. Representative Linda Sanchez (August 1).
Richard Madeira of the Long Beach-Sochi Sister Cities Association organized the Russians' visit for Open World. The association is the local partner of the Academy for Educational Development (AED), which has received a grant from the Open World Leadership Center to administer this and similar exchanges in 2003. AED is an independent nonprofit organization with expertise in education, research, training, policy analysis, and innovative program design and management. American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS is handling the trip's logistics.
Home stays with local residents will enable the delegates to experience American family life. The Russians also will take part in several cultural and social activities, including touring the Getty Museum, attending "Crazy for You" at California State University, and dining with members of Long Beach's Russian community.
Open World is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress and the only exchange program housed in the U.S. legislative branch. Over 7,000 Open World participants from all 89 Russian regions have been hosted in all 50 U.S. states since the program's inception in 1999. Delegates range from members of the Russian parliament to mayors, from innovative nonprofit directors to experienced journalists, and from political party activists to regional administrators. In addition to its "women as leaders" theme, Open World sponsors visits focused on the rule of law, economic development, education reform, the environment, federalism, health, and youth issues.