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Library of CongressĖbased Open World Program Brings Russian Environmental Leaders to Alaska
March 27, 2003

PR: 03-007

Russian Delegates Will Participate in an International Conference on Sustainable Management of the Bering Sea

Anchorage, Alaska Ė Twelve Russian environmentalists, scholars, regional government officials and NGO representatives will arrive in Anchorage tomorrow to participate in a major international environmental conference focused on “Sustaining the Bering Sea” to be held April 1-4 in the town of Girdwood, Alaska. The delegationís visit is part of the OPEN WORLD Program Ė the only exchange program housed in the U.S. legislative branch. OPEN WORLD is managed by the independent Center for Russian Leadership Development.

The delegation includes the Chief Federal Inspector of the Russian Federation North-West Basin Department for Protection, Conservation and Control of Fishery Resources, Evgeny Muzurov; Deputy Chairman of the Chukotka Fishery Committee Igor Mikhno; Director of the Interregional Ethno-Ecological Center Lach Nina Zaporotskaya; Senior Program Officer of the Trade Record Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce (TRAFFIC) Network Alexey Vaisman; Far-Eastern Representative of the Initiative for Social Action and Renewal in Eurasia Artur Maiss; and senior representatives of other environmental NGOs, national parks and two of Russiaís leading universities.

Four of the OPEN WORLD delegates will participate in the conference as keynote speakers and panelists.

“The OPEN WORLD Program is providing an opportunity to contribute to the development of a comprehensive international approach to managing the Bering Sea, while observing how U.S. businesses, government and NGOs tackle the issues of environmental protection,” said Igor Mikhno, Deputy Chairman of the Chukotka Fishery Committee. “We will examine the use of fishery resources in ways that will conserve the health of coastal habitats and indigenous nations who fully depend on the unique ecosystem of Northern Pacific,” he added. Mikhno will participate in a conference panel on “Economic Trends Impacting the Bering Sea.”

The OPEN WORLD delegation is hosted by Pacific Environment, a non-governmental organization working to protect the living environment of the Pacific Rim by strengthening democracy, supporting grassroots activism, empowering communities, and redefining international policies. Pacific Environment is also the conference organizer.

“Over the past ten years, we have supported more than 60 NGOs throughout Russia,” said Catriona Glazebrook, Executive Director at Pacific Environment. “We are proud to partner with the Center for Russian Leadership Development by serving as a host organization for the OPEN WORLD Program.”
Since its inception in 1999, OPEN WORLD, formerly known as the Russian Leadership Program, has enabled over 6,000 Russian decision makers and opinion leaders to experience how the U.S. democratic and free enterprise system operates. In 2002, 2,525 OPEN WORLD Russian participants were hosted for intensive ten-day visits focusing on economic development, education reform, environment, federalism, health, rule of law, women as leaders and youth issues.

The OPEN WORLD Program at the Library of Congress brings emerging political and civic leaders from all 89 regions of the Russian Federation to communities across the United States to experience American community and cultural life, as well as to learn about the responsibilities of and interrelationships between the three branches and different levels (federal, state, and local) of the U.S. government. The 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.