For Immediate Release
Russians Visit Grinnell to Examine Elections and Federalism With Mayor and Other Local Leaders
Washington, DC — Four Russian leaders from Zheleznovodsk, Russia, will spend Oct. 1–9 in their sister-city of Grinnell examining federalism and elections with local leaders on a visit sponsored by the Open World Program. Mayor Gordon Canfield and the City of Grinnell will host the Russians for Open World, with assistance from Grinnell Renaissance. Managed by the independent Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, Open World enables emerging political and civic leaders from Russia and other Eurasian countries to observe U.S. democracy in action and to build ties with their U.S. counterparts. The delegates will also visit Montezuma, Des Moines, and Iowa City during their stay in Iowa.
Zheleznovodsk is a noted 19th-century spa town located in Stavropol Territory in the Northern Caucasus. The Open World delegates visiting from Zheleznovodsk are Vice Mayor Nadezhda Mokrova; Sergey Tsvirkunov, deputy chair of the Zheleznovodsk Town Council; Andrey Borovik, director of the Department of Social Affairs; and economist Irina Zubtsova, the president of Sodeistvie, a Zheleznovodsk women’s organization.
The Open World visitors will get an inside view of city government by attending meetings of the Grinnell City Council and its Finance and Public Works Committees, and by holding discussions with Mayor Canfield, City Manager Russ Behrens, City Clerk Cassandra Hage, and City Council members Peggy Elliott and Shannon McNaul. State Rep. Danny Carroll will brief the Russians on state-level government and electoral politics. Grinnell College professors Barbara Trish and Sarah Purcell will provide a historical overview of federal-state-local relations. The Russians will gain insight into the role of the two major parties and of women in the U.S. electoral process by attending two panel discussions, one with Poweshiek County Democratic Party Chairman Dr. D. A. Smith and Mayor Gordon Canfield, and the other held by the Grinnell League of Women Voters with the participation of elected women officials.
Also on the agenda are a meeting with Grinnell College President Russell K. Osgood, a tour of city facilities with the mayor and city manager and Water Commissioner Jan Anderson, who visited Zheleznovodsk earlier this year, and a coffee with senior citizens at the Mayflower Homes. Homestays with Grinnell residents will introduce the delegates to American family and community life.
In Montezuma (Oct. 7), the Russians will discuss elections, county government, and city-county relations with Poweshiek County Auditor Jo Wray and County Supervisor Sandy Moffett, and tour the county courthouse. The delegation will also visit Des Moines to discuss election procedures and voter participation with Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver (Oct. 6).
Open World is a unique, nonpartisan initiative of the U.S. Congress that builds mutual understanding between the emerging leaders of participating countries and their U.S. counterparts. It also exposes visitors to ideas and practices that they can adapt for use in their own organizations. More than 8,000 Russian Open World participants from all of the country’s 89 regions have visited all 50 U.S. states since the program began in 1999. Open World also recently initiated pilot exchanges with Lithuania, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Open World delegates range from members of parliament to mayors, from innovative nonprofit directors to experienced journalists, and from political party activists to regional administrators. The program’s administering agency, the Open World Leadership Center, is an independent legislative branch agency with offices at the Library of Congress.
Open World has awarded a grant to the nonprofit Academy for Educational Development (AED) to administer this and similar exchanges in 2004. AED is committed to solving critical social problems throughout the world through education, research, training, policy analysis and innovative program design and management. AED has partnered with local sister-cities organizations and their parent organization, Sister Cities International, on many successful Open World exchanges.
For more information on the upcoming Iowa visit, please contact Mayor Gordon Canfield at 641-236-2600 or George Felcyn at The PBN Company at 202-466-6210. For more information on the Open World Program, please visithttp://www.openworld.gov.