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IRI to Host Russian Delegation as Part of Open World Russian Leadership Program
August 20, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C. - IRI is hosting a delegation of 20 young political leaders from Russia visiting the United States from August 25 to September 4, 2002, as part of the Library of Congress-based Open World Russian Leadership Program.

The purpose of this visit is to expose the next generation of Russia's leaders to the American electoral system with an emphasis on grassroots community involvement and allow them to identify "best practices" that could be replicated in the Russian Federation.

To accomplish this, the delegation will spend a portion of their visit in Washington, D.C. and then travel to Massachusetts and California to observe the gubernatorial and congressional campaigns currently being waged in these states. The orientation period in Washington will allow the delegates to interact with established political youth organization, elected officials, and political institutions.

Following this orientation period, the delegation will travel to Boston, MA, and Concord, NH, to observe a gubernatorial and/or senatorial race. Emphasis will be placed on the role of interlinked, small to medium-sized communities, and their high rates of citizen participation as the delegation observes and participates in these campaigns. The group will then travel to California where they will visit key districts in San Francisco and Los Angeles for comparative observation of the gubernatorial elections, as well as participatory exercises in tightly fought congressional and state house races.

IRI has previously hosted two delegations from Russia under the Library of Congress' Russian Leadership program. In September 2000, seven Russian Duma deputies traveled to the United States to observe aspects of the American electoral process and explore the role of political parties. In July and August this year, IRI developed a ten-day program to allow 18 practitioners of Russian federalism to explore the American version of federalism.

IRI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing democracy worldwide. IRI's programs span the globe and include a wide range of programs including, training on civic responsibility and the legislative process, strategies for building political parties and election campaigns, energizing women and youth to engage in the political process, communication training and election monitoring. IRI is funded through federal grants, as well as private contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations. For more information, please visit our Web site at