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Neighboring Russian Indigenous Leaders Visit Anchorage Through Open World Program
October 25, 2004

For Immediate Release

Washington, DC Four indigenous local leaders from the Russian Far East regions of Chukotka, Kamchatka and Koryakia will take part in ten days of Alaskan indigenous tribal activities on an exchange conducted for the Open World Leadership Center by Pacific Environment and ISAR: Resources for Environmental Activists. From October 26 to November 4, the visitors will compare Alaskan and Russian native land use issues through meetings with local community groups in Anchorage and in the small community of Bethel.

The Open World Program enables emerging political and civic leaders from Russia and other participating countries to observe American democracy and free enterprise in action and to build professional ties with their U.S. counterparts.

During their stay in Anchorage, the Open World delegates three women involved in advocacy and land use education, and one man who works on reindeer herding issues will attend the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Annual Convention in Anchorage. The convention annually attracts over 3,000 attendees across the state from the Aleut, Eskimo and Inuit peoples. The delegates will also visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the largest Native Crafts fair in the state, and a cultural dance performance put on by Quyana Alaska cultural dance groups.

During their stay in Bethel, the visiting delegates will tour important cultural and land use sites with a representative of the Bethel-based Association of Village Council Presidents, the largest native group in the state.

The Open World delegates are Oksana Moiseyeva, Financial Manager of the Kamchatka League of Independent Experts, a community environmental organization working in close cooperation with the communities and organizations of the aboriginal population of northern Kamchatka; Yuliya Vasilyeva, Deputy Chair of the Association of Indigenous Populations of the North, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatka, and a laboratory assistant at the Kamchatka Branch of the Pacific Institute of Geography/Far East Academy of Sciences; Leonid Sharypov, an animal disease expert from the Chukotka Autonomous Region Department of Industry and Agriculture; and Yelena Popova, Regional Coordinator of the Lach Ethnic-Environmental Resource Center in the Koryak village of Ossora.

The Russian Far East consists of parts of the Russian tundra and taiga forest, where subsistence fishing and wild harvesting of berries and other forest and tundra products support indigenous communities struggling to preserve their way of life. The Russian province of Chukotka is located in the very northeast of the country, directly across the Bering Strait from Alaska. Kamchatka is a peninsula comparable in size to Japan, also located in the Russian northeast. The sparsely populated Koryak Autonomous District (Koryakia) is located in the northern part of Kamchatka province.

Managed by the independent Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, the Open World Program enables emerging political and civic leaders from Russia and other participating countries to observe American democracy and free enterprise in action, and to build professional ties with their American counterparts. The program 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 countrys 89 regions have visited all 50 U.S. states since the program began in 1999.

Open World has awarded a grant to ISAR to administer this and similar exchanges in 2004. ISAR and Pacific Environment have worked since the late 1980s in the Russian Far East to support sustainable land use through partnership with grassroots community organizations.

For more information on the Alaska visit, please contact Sara Moore of Pacific Environment at 415-399-8850 x303 or 907-222-1507, or Courtney Duke of The PBN Company at 202-466-6210. For more information on the Open World Program, please visithttp://www.openworld.gov.