August 25, 2004, Kyiv, Ukraine - Forty Ukrainian political, civic and media leaders travel to the United States today to take part in the Open World Program. Among the participants are top journalists, municipal officials, representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community leaders, and academics. They will be organized into nine delegations, each focusing on one of the following themes: electoral processes (two delegations), independent media (three delegations), and NGO development (five delegations). The focus on electoral processes is particularly timely with Ukraine preparing to hold presidential elections this fall.
Through Open World, which is administered by the Open World Leadership Center, Ukrainian participants will observe American democracy and free enterprise in action in different host communities. The program is also designed to enhance mutual understanding between Ukraine and the United States by enabling visiting delegates to develop extensive and sustainable professional relationships and personal friendships with their American contacts. The Open World Leadership Center is an independent legislative branch agency that works cooperatively with the U.S. Department of State and other U.S. executive and judicial branch agencies.
Ukraine became eligible for Open World in February 2003, when the U.S. Congress authorized the program to expand beyond the Russian Federation, its original focus, to other countries of the former Soviet Union.
The Ukrainian delegations leaving for the United States today will first spend two days in Washington, D.C., during which they will attend an orientation program and visit the Ukrainian Embassy. Next comes a week of professional programming in one of nine different host cities. The host cities are Atlanta, Georgia; Cincinnati, Ohio; De Pere, Wisconsin; Des Moines, Iowa; Huntsville, Alabama; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; Vancouver, Washington; and Washington, D.C. The local agendas include meeting with government officials, visiting television stations and other media outlets, observing and discussing election campaigns, and studying the operations of nonprofit and social service agencies. Most delegates will have home stays, allowing them to participate in American family and community life.
The Open World Program brings emerging political and civic leaders from participating countries to communities across the United States. Delegates experience American community and cultural life while learning about the responsibilities of and interrelationships between the three branches and 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. Participants engage in hands-on experiences, direct observation, and substantive exchange with their professional counterparts.
For more information, please contact the PBN Company at 044-464-1240. For more background on Open World, please visit http://www.openworld.gov.