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Open World Names Grantees for 2004 Russia Civic Program
May 14, 2004

For Immediate Release
PR: 04-0514

Washington, DC – The Open World Leadership Center today announced the grant recipients for its 2004 Civic Program for Russia. The 16 grantee organizations will develop and conduct professional programs for approximately 1,450 political, civic, and economic leaders from Russia, including governors, mayors, judges, NGO directors, and entrepreneurs. The U.S. Congress established the Center’s Open World Program in 1999 to enable emerging Russian leaders to meet their U.S. counterparts and to experience American civil society firsthand.

Open World delegations experience American community and cultural life while learning about the responsibilities of and interrelationships among the three branches and three different levels (federal, state, and local) of the U.S. government. Program participants also explore how the U.S. private and nonprofit sectors help meet social and civic needs. In 2003, Congress authorized expanding Open World into 14 more countries, and pilot programs have been initiated with Lithuania, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Thirteen of the 16 grantees chosen have previous experience hosting Open World delegates. These organizations are:

· Academy for Educational Development;
· American International Health Alliance;
· American University – Transnational Crime and Corruption Center;
· American University – Women & Politics Institute;
· Duke University – DeWitt Wallace Center for Communications and Journalism;
· Friendship Force International;
· Meridian International;
· National Peace Foundation;
· Rotary International;
· Russian American Rule of Law Consortium;
· U.S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School – International Institute;
· World Services of La Crosse, Inc.

The three organizations receiving an Open World grant for the first time are:

· The Center for Safe Energy, a California-based organization that facilitates programs concerning sustainable energy development, as well as programs involving women’s leadership and civil rights issues.

· ISAR: Resources for Environmental Activists, an organization based in Washington, DC, that supports collaborative resolutions to the environmental threats faced by many communities throughout the former Soviet Union.

· Magee Womancare International, a Pittsburgh-based organization that administers the United Nations’ largest health outreach program in Russia, taking on the challenge of providing refugees in and around Moscow with family planning services, domestic violence awareness, and improved health care.

“This year, the process of choosing grantees was particularly challenging due to the high number and quality of the proposals we received. We’re very pleased to have brought together such a strong and committed group of organizations to continue the important work of Open World,” said Geraldine Otremba, Executive Director of the Open World Leadership Center.

Dr. James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress and Chair of the Open World Board of Trustees, added, “As we celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Open World Program this month, particular praise and thanks are due to the hundreds of American communities and families who have contributed time, expertise, and hospitality for nearly 8,000 young political and cultural leaders from all 89 regions of Russia.”

The Open World Program is conducted by the Open World Leadership Center, an independent legislative branch agency, which works cooperatively with the U.S. Department of State and other U.S. executive and judicial branch agencies.

For more information, please contact George Felcyn at (202) 466-6210 or Donna Wilson at (202) 707-8943. For more background on Open World, visit